If you live in a flood zone area, floods can affect the flooring of your house if they ever occur. As such, it is better to be safe than sorry by taking the necessary precautions by installing a floor that can withstand water. Extreme moisture conditions or constant exposure to water also affects your floor. This can happen if you construct your house or the basement of your house below grade. It can also occur if your area experiences long seasons of heavy rainfall.
If you don’t construct a water-resistant flooring, then the flooring will call for replacement after a flood.
While it is possible to plan the flooring in a flood risk area, sometimes flooding can occur due to a broken sewer, or water pipe. In such a case, you have to replace the flooring and subfloor if they get water-damaged.
Flooding and Sub-floors
Flooding affects not only the top flooring but the sub-floor too. As such, the house contractor should construct a water-resistant sub-floor. In this regard, a wooden sub-floor will not suffice for a flood zone. Exposure of wooden floors to water will make them soft and eventually they will disintegrate.
What is a Flood Zone Area?
There are areas marked by FEMA as flood zone areas. To know if your area is a flood hazard area, you should visit the FEMA website. Then check to see if your area is in a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) by entering your address on their website.
If you live in a high flood zone area, which are Zones V and Zones A, then in addition to determining what flooring is best for your region, you need a flood insurance.
floor Grade Levels
There are three types of floor levels. Whether your house is above-grade, on-grade or below-grade it influences the humidity and moisture levels. The recommended humidity level for any floor is between 35% to 50% except for hardwood, cork and bamboo flooring. Humidity levels above that will destroy your floor.
A below-grade flooring is constructed below the surface of the earth. It can be from 4 inches to 30 deep. Such a floor is exposed to high amounts of moisture because it absorbs water from the earth and other sources.
The floor rests at ground level. Such floors are less susceptible to damage by moisture. However, exposure to extreme weather conditions is a risk.
These are floors above ground level like an upstairs flooring. Such floors are not susceptible to moisture from the ground. Noteworthy, a 35% indoor humidity is usually recommended to maintain floors in good condition.
Flooring Options for Flood Risk Areas
There is no perfect flooring for flood zone areas, as such, you have to accept a few cons that each flooring type has to offer.
Recommended floors for flood risk areas are floors made from non-organic materials because they do not decompose fast. Organic floors include hardwood flooring, bamboo, cork and some carpets. Such floors require replacement after a flood. This is because some do not dry thoroughly while others grow fungus, molds, bacteria and mildew.
Some flooring types like engineered wood floors can hold up against moisture but will not withstand flooding.
Carpets are also challenging to restore after a flood because the carpet pad absorbs large amounts of water which lead to mold and mildew growth.
Laminate floors swell when exposed to water, therefore, are not ideal for flood risk areas. It is hard to repair laminates after exposure to water.
For flood prone areas, you can consider floating floors for laminate and tiles because they are easier to handle after a flood. Below we discuss various flooring options and how they can hold up in flood zones.
1. Concrete or a Cement Floor
Concrete floors are the best flooring option for areas where floods are bound to happen. They are easy to clean and dry fast after exposure to water. The floor is moisture resistant and durable too. However, it is a plain floor with no patterns and designs. You can apply paint to make the floor more attractive.
2. Tiles Flooring
Tiles are among the most water-resistant flooring types in the market and can withstand floods. That is why they are popular for constructing swimming pool floors. Tiles are also a preferred option because they are easy to clean and maintain, drying fast after floodwaters have cleared. However, after a flood, you should call in an expert to determine the state of the sub-floor and the tiles.
3. Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl is plastic therefore, it is a non-organic flooring type. It is easy to clean and disinfect after a flood making it ideal for flood prone areas. If water doesn’t get into the seams, then the vinyl will not need replacement after a flood.
4. Luxury Vinyl Tiles
Luxury vinyl tiles comes with a waterproof adhesive. It can withstand standing water for a while. Also, you can easily cut out affected tiles and replace them. With this type of flooring, there are a variety of patterns and colors, including wood and stone look alike. Therefore, you can match any interior decor theme when using luxury vinyl tiles.
Flood risk areas have limited flooring options. You can enhance the warmth of your home with area rugs which can quickly dry in the event of a flood.
If you live in a flood zone, you should work with a technical expert when considering different flooring options. You should also follow the flooring manufacturer’s recommendations when installing any floor in a flood risk area.