Floodproofing: Protect Your Property from Flood Damage

The most effective way to protect your property from flood damage is to choose a location outside of the floodplain that is not susceptible to flooding or drainage problems. Any improvements or new development should be located away from streambanks and built in compliance with floodplain development standards.

To assess the flood risk for existing development:

  • Consult the flood hazard map for your community (called Flood Insurance Rate Map; available at municipal offices, County Planning Departments, or the FEMA Map Service Center Website). These maps delineate the regulated floodplain, which has a 1% or greater probability of flooding in any given year (also called the 100-year floodplain). This map may also delineate moderate flood hazard areas in the 500-year floodplain (with a 0.2% annual probability of flooding).

  • Because many areas subject to flooding are not included in the regulated floodplain, talk to neighbors and municipal officials about the history of flooding.

  • Any site located near a river, stream, shoreline, or drainageway may be subject to flooding or erosion hazards. Ice, debris, watershed development, or altered drainage patterns can result in flooding of areas that have not previously experienced flooding and are not delineated as high hazard areas on flood risk maps.

    Techniques for floodproofing (retrofitting) existing flood-prone development include:

  •  Relocation to a new location.

  •  Elevation of the building above the anticipated height of flood waters.

  •  Levees and floodwalls can be built around at-risk areas.
  •  Dry floodproofing involves sealing building walls with waterproof compounds so that the structure is watertight.

  •  A variety of wet floodproofing techniques allow the structure to flood, but reduce the resulting damage to the building and its contents.

    Consult your municipal building official for information and assistance with floodproofing techniques.

    Consider purchasing flood insurance. Although it won't prevent flood damage, insurance can be a valuable tool for protecting your financial investment. Flood insurance coverage is available from insurance agents (through the National Flood Insurance Program) for any building and/or its contents (in or out of the regulated floodplain) in any municipality in the STC region. Learn more about flood insurance at FloodSmart.gov. A handout, Flood Insurance Reforms - Who Is Affected?, provides information about rate increases for older buildings and the steps that property owners can take.

    STC has developed a series of floodproofing information sheets with basic information about different floodproofing techniques and how to evaluate the options:

    Floodproofing Info #1: What is Floodproofing?

    Floodproofing Info #2: Elevating a Structure 

    Floodproofing Info #3: Relocating a Structure

    Floodproofing Info #4: Dry Floodproofing

    Floodproofing Info #5: Wet Floodproofing

    Floodproofing Info #6: Levees and Floodwalls

    Floodproofing Info #7: Selecting Floodproofing Techniques - Regulatory Considerations

    Floodproofing Info #8: Selecting Floodproofing Techniques - Assessing Flood Risk

    Floodproofing Info #9: Selecting Floodproofing Techniques - Technical Considerations

    Floodproofing Info #10: Selecting Floodproofing Techniques - Financial Considerations

    Floodproofing Resources

    Other useful information about floodproofing:

    Protecting Your Home and Property from Flood Damage: Mitigation Ideas for Reducing Flood Losses (FEMA P-805)

    Wet Floodproofing Field Investigation Worksheet

    FEMA fact sheets for Protecting Your Property from Flooding:

    Flood Damage-Resistant Materials Requirements (FEMA Technical Bulletin 2)

    Openings in Foundation Walls and Walls of Enclosures (FEMA Technical Bulletin 1)

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