Hello friends, I wanted to talk today about something that hits extremely close to home and very close to my heart in a lot of ways. I live in Northern Kentucky and the news in my neck of the woods has been following the terrible flooding that has been ravaging the eastern half of our state what is historically known as Appalachia or the Appalachian mountains and historically one of the more poverty-stricken areas in the state. It’s amazing how they build homes up in the hills, if you’ve never seen it I urge you to take a look sometime, it’s simply amazing. Floods can come out of nowhere and nobody knows how bad the damage will be until it’s over and the flood waters start to reside. There are some important things we can do as homeowners or future homeowners to minimize the damage to our barndominiums if the big flood hits and that’s what I want to discuss.
Being prepared by installing a sump pump on the basement floor, if you break a water pipe in your home or if your getting water coming in from outside gravity is going to pull that water down and down and it’s finally going to end up in the lowest point of your home. If you have a basement especially but even if you only have a ground floor make sure you are pumping the water out far enough away from your barndominium and into a drainpipe somewhere outside of the home that it doesn’t cause more problems for you. It may be a good time to invest in a very large shop vac or three just to have on standby because believe me you’ll be glad you bought them early like you did because if a flood or excessive rains do occur you won’t find many in stores unless your one of the first to get to them. Prepare and buy some nice shop vacs as well as save all of your old towels, they may one day come in handy as well. If a flood ever does happen after the storm and rain quits air your home out by opening the doors and windows and running some good strong fans, I’ve found box fans work nicely for circulating larger amounts of air. This is going to not only help things dry out quicker but it’s going to help prevent mold and mildew from forming or at least keep it to a minimum the drier that you can get the conditions in the room.
When designing your home if you live near a creek or brook or even a drainage area it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to just build your barndominium up off the ground on stilts. This is a popular style of home in Louisiana in the marshland as well as in Florida along the beaches many homes even affluent homes are built on stilts in case of hurricanes or general flooding from the beach. I figured it would be a bit too far to include treehouses in my article but many people are seeking alternative style houses these days.
Make sure your yard isn’t at the bottom of your yard angled in such a way that when it rains heavy or at all the rainwater naturally drains toward your home if this is the case you will need to get someone that can bring a dozer over to knock the grade of your yard down and work the earth so that the end result allows for you to divert that water around your home and any outbuildings that you don’t want to wash down the hill during the next big rain storm. This is a very common thing for heavy equipment operators who specialize in moving dirt for residential developments, you can find one in your local yellow pages online, google would be my first stop in locating someone local, the actual work and time on-site may only take them a half hour or so to finish the job it really depends on the extent as each job is different and with its own set of challenges. So now that we have prevented a river running through your build site, or Barndominium maybe just some property in general.
Electricity and water don’t mix I’m no einstein but even I have some common sense when it comes to electricity I’ve been around the building since I was young and have grown up helping out on build sites so maybe what is common sense to me isn’t necessarily common sense for everyone. For instance, I know if you build near a large body of water or there’s a possibility for flooding I install appliances like washers & dryers, Electric stoves. Anything that plugs into the wall and sits on the floor needs to be sitting on small blocks allowing for water to flow under or moved to higher ground if possible. If it’s not possible to lift or put on blocks your best option is to unplug it immediately before the water reaches any internal circuit boards while plugged into the wall socket that’s the best you can do at that point. If flood waters reach within 1ft of outlets or switches it’s best to cut the electricity to avoid damage to the home or anyone due to electrical shock. Having sandbags filled and located somewhere on the property where you can stack them to prevent water from coming in is another great strategy if you’re dealing with an emergency and fighting to save your home from flood waters.
Generally speaking, I like any excuse to climb up on my roof. I have made a habit of getting up there at least once a year to poke and prod around with my sealant/ caulking gun just to make it look like I’m doing something important, I do ensure the winter ice and wind hadn’t stripped any sealant off. If any spots look old I may put down a few new beads but for the most part, it holds up well after the first application. On every other inspection I’m looking for cracks near any skylights, or cracks in the actual roof, they don’t last forever and sometimes need repair, less frequent if you maintain it as you should. The other place I go is under the house which is actually my least favorite place in the world and I avoid it at all costs, however, that’s, where my water shut-off valve for the entire barndominium is found. I have installed check valves on my water pipes so I can narrow down the problem if a pipe bursts inside my barndo, I have that shut-off valve that cuts the water coming into my house from the county water line at the road. This is a must-have valve in an emergency situation where you have no idea where the water is coming from.
There are many more simple things you can do to help prevent flooding or prepare for a flood it’s best to be ready for the worst and not need it then need it someday and not have the essentials to protect your barndominium. For barndominium house plans built up off the ground check out Buildmax.com, they have some awesome Barndominium plans from small to multi-family home plans. If you don’t see what you’re looking for reach out you’ll be surprised at what they can design.