Parts of County Durham have flooded today, including some roads here in Wolsingham. So, how can you protect your business or home from flooding?

Flooded road in Wolsingham, County Durham

Flooded Road, Wolsingham, County Durham

A heavy thunder storm dumped gallons of water across county durham in a very short period of time today, and caused chaos and flooding throughout the county.

While I went off to help my Stepdaughter find her way home avoiding flooded roads in Lanchester and Wolsingham, my wife Wendy, alongside my Stepdaughter Emma and my other stepdaughter’s partner Dan,  went to help people brush water away from their roadside houses!

What never will cease to amaze me is the drivers who will just drive through the water at speed and push it from the road, across the pavement and towards people’s front doors.  Slow down and have some consideration! I realise that you have to keep the revs up, but that does not mean you have to drive fast… in fact it can harm your car!

I did wonder if people knew that there were products on the market that are far quicker to install than a sandbag dam, or far less time and energy consuming than brushing water for the duration of the flood, so I thought it might be worthwhile mentioning them here.


Air Bricks

Water can enter your property through its air bricks, so if you live in a flood risk area you should think about having some method available to quickly cover them up.  There are a few alternative methods available:

    • Self Adhesive Airbrick Covers
self adhesive air brick cover

Self Adhesive Air Brick Cover

There are self adhesive air brick covers. They work a bit like a sticky plaster.  You can get a pack of ten of these from Flood barriers r us  for 40.00 + p&p.  These are usually one use items though, so I would only recommend these if you are in an area that is unlikely to get regular flooding.

  • Air Brick Covers
    Screw on Ait Brick Cover

    Screw on Air Brick Cover

    There are air brick covers that simply screw into the holes of the air brick. The ones I found on the internet today at Flooding Solutions were priced at about £30.00 for a single cover, and about £35.00 for one that will cover the double sized airbrick, both + P&p.  These can be taken off and re-used, so are more of a “permanent” solution to the problem.  They are a plastic cover with a foam backing that presses against the air brick, therefore sealing it.

  • Two Part Air Brick Covers (One part is permanently fixed to the wall.)
Rytons Two part Airbrick Cover

Rytons Two part Airbrick Cover

A more permanent solution still, is a two part cover. One part is fixed to the wall surrounding the air brick permanently, and the second part, the actual cover, is clipped into place as and when required. One version is the DamRyt supplied by Ryton  , who are well known for airbricks, weep holesetc. in the building trade, but there are others on the market. The DamRyt range also includes product to prevent the weep holes in your building from flooding.



Your properties doors are designed to allow access to the building, and unfortunately, they not ony provide this for you and your family / colleagues, they will allow water to get in as well.  The traditional sandbags have a lot of draw backs, they are heavy, messy, difficult to transport, and hard to get hold of when you need them most!  If you are in an area with a flood risk, and I’m guessing that you are if you’ve read this far into this article, then spending a little money now could save you heartache and money in the future.

  • Self Inflating Flood Bags
Self Inflating Flood Bags

Self Inflating Flood Bags

Like sandbags, but not quite.  They self inflate when they meet water, so store them in a dry place.  Once they inflate, they look like a sandbag and can be used to block a gap in a wall or a doorway to stop water getting past. A pack of three of these is  £17.35 at Screwfix , but they are currently out of stock, so it’s something that you should buy when they are available rather than leave until the last minute!

  • Door Defender
Door Defender

Door Defender

This solution is a take on the self adhesive air brick covers. You basically apply it around the bottom and sides of your door, to seal the gaps.  You can use it on the inside of the door as well as outside, however this will depend on the pressure of the water.  I would think it would hold better when the weight of the water was helping to keep it in place. This product is available from Buildbase amongst other suppliers.

  • Door Flood Barrier
Caro WaterDoor

Caro WaterDoor

This is a more permanent solution, similar in concept to the two part air brick in the previous section. In most (but not all) cases some sort of frame is fitted around the door opening, and when a flood risk is predicted, you slot in a barrier that creates a full watertight seal to your door opening.  One version is the WaterDoor from Caro , who also do a system called the WaterWall, which can be deployed across garage doors, driveways etc.

Caro Waterwall Flood Barrier System

Caro Waterwall Flood Barrier System

  • Flood Resistant Door
Flood Resistant Doors

Flood Resistant Doors

This is a door that is inherently flood resistant in its own right. No need to rush home and put one of the other types of door barrier in place, it’s protecting your property 24/7. An example of this type of product is manufactured by Floodguards

Whole Property Protection:

Flodef Flood Skirt Flood Defense

Flodef Flood Skirt Flood Defense

Sometimes, just blocking your air bricks, doorways etc. is just not enough. Masonry itself is porous, so water can pass through it. If you’re in a high flood risk area, and want proper protection, then a flood skirt is possibly the way to go, but it won’t be cheap.  This solution is basically like putting your building in a boat!  These type of system can generally retain up to 1000mm of water, depending on the construction of the building.  While it’s not in use the skirt folds away into a trough all around the house.  When a flood is imminent, the skirt is pulled up in sections, into supports fixed to the walls, and then air seals to the side of each section are  inflated.  One such solution is provided by Flodef

You can watch videos of the product by : Clicking Here

It’s not just the outside you need to protect!

water entering a property through the toilet pan

Water entering a property through the toilet pan

Unfortunatley, there are other ways water can get into your property, through the routes designed to take waste water out.  That’s why you can get an inflatable toilet bung from UK Flood Barriers or the advanced toilet defender available from Buildbase

Toilet Bung to prevent flood water coming in through the toilet

Toilet Bung – Prevents Water entering your property through the toilet.

Toilet Defender

Toilet Defender – Fits to the top of your toilet to provide a water tight seal.

I hope you’ve found this information useful. I’ve tried to give links to many different manufacturers and suppliers, but you will find that each one of these may provide some of the other solutions as well, and there are other suppliers and manufacturers that you could go to. I am not endorsing the actual products shown, but hopefully it helps you start to look for solutions that will help you. There are of course other areas that may require flood protection in your property as well as those I’ve listed above!

You may also like to read my earlier article on Flood Risk. You can access it if you Click Here.

Flood Risk! How do I find out if my property is in a flood risk area?

Am I at risk of flooding?  What is the likelihood of flooding from rivers and the sea in my area? The Environment Agency Flood Map will help you find out!

You can use the FLOOD MAP on the Environment Agency’s website to quickly find the predicted risk of flooding in your area from rivers and the sea, put please be aware that you could be at risk from flooding from other sources in addition to these.  When you click on the map, it will be centred on Wolsingham in Weardale, County Durham, but you can type in your own town name or post code to see the map for your area.

The Environment Agency state that the most common sources of flooding are:

  • River flooding – Occurs when a watercourse cannot cope with water draining into it from the surrounding land.
  • Coastal flooding – Results from a combination of high tides and stormy conditions.
  • Surface water flooding – Occurs when heavy rainfall overwhelms the drainage capacity of the local area.
  • Sewer flooding -Occurs when sewers are overwhelmed by heavy rainfall or when they are blocked.
  • Groundwater flooding – Occurs when water levels in the ground rise above surface levels.
  • Reservoir flooding – Some reservoirs hold large volumes of water above ground level, contained by walls, or ‘dams’.  Although the safety record for reservoirs is excellent, it is still possible that a dam could fail. This would result in a large volume of water being released very quickly.

The above is a brief outline, extended  information on if you are at risk of flooding, how flood risk is managed, flood warnings, how you can be prepared, what to do when it floods, Hhw flood risk is managed and river & sea levels in your area can be found on the Environment Agency’s Website at