They said we were in for some exceptional weather in the coming days, and they weren’t far off. Over the past few days we have all seen some truly astounding pictures of the power of the sea and the weather. Hundreds more homes have been flooded again in the past few days and the nation’s coastline has been battered time after time. One of the worst hit areas has been Aberystwyth on the Welsh coast. You can see some of those pictures and others from around the country here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25587246. It really has been a tough time for anyone living around water. Flood defence has been in the spotlight a great deal over the past few weeks and for good reason. Though it seems towns have been underprepared in places, so what could be done to make homes safer against the elements, and in particular, flooding?
The obvious low cost option might be sandbags. Might sound too low-tech but they form the first barrier of defence to stop flood waters ruining a home. But they only last so long, they can only absorb so much water before they become useless. That’s assuming they’re not just washed away like they were on the coast a few days ago. The next form of defence then needs to be much more robust and long term. This would be flood proof/storm proof windows and doors.
Since the weather has become more extreme over the last decade, the fenestration industry has become more focused in engineering doors and windows that not only perform better at keeping the wind and rain out, but to also keep masses of water at bay. Do a quick search online and there are dozens and dozens of companies who claim to sell flood proof windows and doors. I’ve not seen them all but I’ll take their word for it ;-)
I think doors are the most important right now. If you live in a property either near the coast or around any river or waterway that can burst it’s banks, then it’s worth getting a flood proof door. Windows tend to be higher up in the structure so aren’t as susceptible to water ingress as doors, but flood proof windows are better than old leaky ones! Going back to doors though, if sandbags have failed and won’t hold any more water, a storm proof door is vital to keeping the elements at bay. If your home has been flooded recently and water did make it’s way through yours doors, think on to the next time it occurs. You will want something that holds up better.
But there is a catch to this. Most homeowners who have had their properties damaged by floods will make a claim on their house insurance. Given the amount of weather related claims in the system, it’s going to take a very long time for any action to take place. Not only that, most insurance policies will replace like for like, and not a better product than was there previously. This means that if homeowners want to upgrade their doors to storm proof doors, they are going to have to put their hands in their pockets and pay for it themselves. This won’t be an easy option for many as times are still tough for a lot of people and the idea of paying more than a £1k+ for a better door isn’t going to sit well. I would advise though to look at the longer picture. With our weather becoming more and more extreme, is it worth risking all this disruption again? Would it not be prudent to invest in better windows and doors to at least try and keep the flood waters at bay next time?
There are of course extra things that can be done to better weather proof a home. Update the roofline with new gutters, soffits and fascias. Make sure the pointing on the house is in good condition without gaps.
For those of you out there that specialise in storm proof windows and doors, I think your businesses might be one of the only beneficiaries of this sort of weather, and you’ll sell plenty. But life over products. We have spare a moment to think about those suffering from damage to their properties or worse at this tough time. More bad weather is expected on Sunday. All being well the weather will be kind to us all and bring some more settled conditions so clean up work and repairs can start.