Protecting Your Lake Cabin From Flooding

by Sally Raymond

Flooding is an issue which concerns many considering whether or not to buy a lakeshore cabin. Owning property that close to water seems, for some, like an accident waiting to happen. No responsible realtor would sell you a cabin likely to be flooded imminently – nor should they have to, as no sensible developer would ever build such a property within a flood-zone. If your cabin is on the shores of a lake whose levels periodically rise to such an extent that banks are burst, you’ll undoubtedly find that your cabin is set back far further than the water has ever reached or is ever likely to, even in the event of an unprecedented natural disaster. However, if you’re worried, there are certain things you can do reduce the risk of flood damage.

Weatherproof Well
One of the major issues with floods is not the immediate rush of water which many people picture – it’s the problem of damp. Water swirling through a cabin can be dealt with relatively quickly, but damp is insidious, and will cause damage long after you’ve got rid of the initial water. In order to reduce the risk of developing flood-related damp problems, you need to make sure that you invest in some serious weatherproofing for your exterior and interior walls. While you may not be able to keep the lake at bay with a fantastic wood seal, you can stop your logs from getting eaten into by the water. Wood is particularly vulnerable to damp damage, but there are plenty of great sealants out there which can protect your property from the worst of it! What’s more, making sure that your cabin is excellently weather-proofed may convince insurers that you’re less of a liability risk, thus reducing your overheads. Win-win!

Dig Drains
Log cabins are actually amazingly resilient when it comes to floods. The nature of the structure means that it can retain structural integrity even when ripped entirely from its foundations by turbulent floods. They simply float off in their entirety. So you don’t need to worry about your cabin collapsing in the event of a major flood. However, an apocalyptic scenario such as this is extremely unlikely! What is more likely to happen is that water will start lapping at the foot of your cabin. This is more annoying than dangerous – but it can cause damp damage. Best to prevent the water from getting that close by digging levees or drainage trenches into which any rising waters can run off. In order to know quite where to do your excavations, you’ll have to spend some time observing the behavior of the water you’re trying to combat – which can be frustrating, but may also help to put your mind at rest on the flooding front!

Clear Out Your Existing Drains
Your cabin should really have pre-existing gutters and drains. If you’re worried about flooding, you’ll need these to be working as effectively as possible. This means you need to clear them of all obstructions, and get them as clean as possible in order for any water to flow away as quickly and efficiently as it can.

Invest In Absorbables, And Watch The Forecast
If you’ve done all this, and you’re still worried about flooding, the best thing that you can do it to invest in some absorbable materials to place around the exterior of your home. Sandbags are popular as they can absorb a huge amount of water without transferring too much of it to the structure of your cabin via capillary action. Some people prefer flood boards, but sandbags have the majority vote in flood-prone areas! Pile these up around your cabin, and you may be able to keep your cabin safe and dry. To know when to break out the sandbags, keep a close eye upon the weather forecast, which will let you know when heavy rain or flash floods are on their way. If you want to be extra-prepared, you can do things like removing carpets and furniture to higher places, and making sure that any electrical outlets are higher up on the walls (in order to reduce the risk of flood-related electrocution!). However, it’s highly unlikely that any of these measures will ever be needed, so there is no need to worry unduly!


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