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Floodproofing Materials

What Can Be Done

Advances in building science are making it increasingly possible to prevent or minimize future flood damage.  Check with MSD before making any modifications to your building and apply for a floodplain permit.  If the building is in a flood hazard area, you can reduce the damage caused by floodwaters and make cleanup easier by using flood-resistant building materials.  See Mitigation for even more information.

Building materials are considered flood-resistant if they can withstand direct contact with floodwaters for at least 72 hours without being significantly damaged.  "Significant damage" means any damage that requires more than low cost, cosmetic repair (such as painting).  Flood-resistant materials should be used for walls, floors, and other parts of a building that are below the flood level.  Both FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have published lists of these materials (see below).

Estimated Cost

The cost of using flood-resistant materials will vary depending on the size of the project you undertake.

Tips

Keep these points in mind when you build with flood resistant materials:

  • As long as your building remains exposed to flooding, it is likely to be damaged, even when you use flood-resistant materials.  Some amount of cleanup and cosmetic repair will usually be necessary.  In addition, although using flood-resistant materials can reduce the amount and severity of water damage, it does not protect your building from other flood hazards, such as the impact of flood-borne debris.
  • All hardware used in areas below the flood level should be made of stainless or galvanized steel.
  • Basement coverage under the NFIPís Standard Flood Insurance Policy is limited.  It covers the machinery usually housed in a basement (like heat pumps and furnaces); foundations and cisterns; and drywall, but not the paint to cover it.  Thus, flood insurance will reimburse a claim for drywall damage, but not material to cover the drywall, even if those materials are considered flood resistant.
  • Areas of a building that are below the flood level should be used only for parking, storage, and access.

Commonly Available Flood-Resistant Materials

Flooring Materials

  • Concrete and concrete tile
  • Ceramic, clay, terrazzo, vinyl, and rubber tile
  • Pressure-treated (PT) and naturally decay-resistant lumber

Wall and Ceiling Materials

  • Brick, concrete, concrete block, glass block, stone, and ceramic and clay tile
  • Cement board
  • Polyester epoxy paint
  • PT and naturally decay-resistant lumber
  • PT and marine-grade plywood
  • Closed-cell and foam insulation

Other

  • Metal doors and cabinets

Selecting a Contractor

For information on selecting a contractor, click here.

Publications/Resources/Links

The following resource publications are available at the FEMA web site or can be ordered at no cost by calling the FEMA Distribution Center (800- 480-2520).

NFIP Publications

Many of these publications also are available in the MSD lobby at the kiosk.

Click on the links below:

  • Above the Flood: Elevating Your Floodprone House
  • Elevated Residential Structures
  • Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your House from Flooding
  • Reducing Damage from Localized Flooding
  • Repairing Your Flooded Home
  • Protecting Building Utilities from Flood Damage
  • Design Guidelines for Flood Damage Reduction
  • Floodproofing Non-Residential Structures
  • Wet Floodproofing Requirements
  • Manufactured Home Installation in Flood Hazard Areas
  • Engineering Principles and Practices of Retrofitting Floodprone Residential Structures

Other Floodproofing Resources

  • FEMA Technical Bulletins
  • Floodproofing Regulations, EP 1165-2-314, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, December 15, 1995
  • Floodproofing Non-Residential Structures, FEMA 213, 1986
Last Updated: February 28, 2012

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