Basement Remodeling Versus Flood Potential

Answered by Brendan ~ February 18, 2011 ~ No Comments

We'd like to do some basement remodeling but the previous owners once had 12 to 15 inches of Red River flood water downstairs. Probably the water came in the high hopper windows, as the fairly level yard had about five inches of water. The main floor, 12 inches above ground level, stayed dry. Would building 24-inch-high cement walls around the window wells keep the basement dry?

Roy T. ~ Moorhead, Minnesota

Brendan Fowler

I can't say for sure whether fortifying the window wells will keep anything dry in the event of a flood. Often in a flood, or a wet winter, the hydrostatic pressure in the ground increases causing cracks within the basement walls and floor to leak as well. I don't think anyone will guarantee a basement to stay dry in a flood no matter what has been done to mitigate water issues. Everything tends to get wet in a flood and just because a previous flood only brought 5 inches of water into your yard before, does not mean that it can't bring 30 inches of water the next time. My advice would be to do the remodel the way you want it, and get flood insurance that will cover your new basement remodel.

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