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Help prevent future flood damage with these summer projects

News of widespread flooding in multiple parts of the country was unavoidable this spring. Flood waters usually recede once wet spring weather gives way to the warmer temperatures of summer, but 2019 appears to be an exception to the rule. In fact, after a spring full of flood news, The Weather Network’s summer forecast says there is more flooding in store, notably in regions of Ontario and Quebec that were underwater earlier this year.

If you are a homeowner in an area historically prone to flooding, you probably know the steps you need to take to keep your home safe from water damage. However, hazardous weather is becoming more common in areas not previously affected by flooding. These changing weather conditions may leave unprepared homeowners in uncharted waters—literally!

The future of flooding in Canada

Wondering what the experts are saying about the risk of flooding in Canada? Check below for information on the past, present and future state of flooding in your area.

Vancouver City SkylineVancouver’s idyllic coastal setting makes its waterfront a desirable place to be. However, it also makes the city vulnerable to rising sea levels. The number of people living in floodable areas in Vancouver increased by 67% between 2006 and 2016, and water levels are expected to continue rising in the years to come. This will make the kind of flooding that recently washed out streets, disrupted ferries and flooded a SkyTrain station increasingly common.

Vancouver City SkylineSince we typically associate the Prairie provinces with dry conditions, it’s easy to forget that many cities in the region are prone to flooding. The City of Calgary, which lies near Bow River and Elbow River, is one such example. The city experienced devastating floods in 2013 that cost five lives and caused billions of dollars in damage, and city planners warn that total implementation of Calgary’s flood prevention plan is years away. This means homeowners on the flood plain need to be prepared and implement flood prevention measures.

Vancouver City SkylineNobody needs to warn Toronto residents about flood risks, especially not the owners of homes and businesses on Toronto’s Islands. Parts of the islands are submerged for the second time since 2017, and this year’s water levels are already above those recorded two years ago, in what was called a “100-year flood.” Keeping homes near the shores of Lake Ontario safe from damaging floodwaters is sure to be an ongoing challenge for city planning officials and homeowners alike.

Vancouver City SkylineMontreal experienced dangerous flooding this spring, triggering the declaration of a state of emergency that lasted for weeks. The Quebec provincial government has provided over $26 million in financial aid for displaced flood victims, but homeowners who received flood aid this year will now be subject to conditions in the future. They will be given the option to move or abandon the home or to take steps to prevent flood damage, but no further financial assistance will be provided for repairs in the event of subsequent flooding.

Vancouver City SkylineHalifax got an early start to flood season in 2019 when a winter storm abruptly turned from snow to rain. The city is used to fickle winter weather, but as the sea level continues to rise, there is significant cause for concern for area homeowners. Severe weather events like 2003’s Hurricane Juan are expected to become more prevalent in Halifax, and it makes good sense for homeowners to do what they can now to prevent future flood damage.

There are many reasons why flooding is on the rise, and although steps are being taken, most of the prevention strategies outlined by provincial and municipal governments are long-term solutions that will take years to fully implement. Furthermore, while these interim measures are essential, they are not designed with individual homeowners in mind. Thus, in the face of changing weather conditions, it’s up to you to take preventative measures to protect your home from flood damage.

5 home improvements to prevent water damage

There are a lot of ways to help protect your home from flooding; however, the following are five home improvements that are commonly recommended by experts to prevent water damage:

Home improvements to prevent water damage Cost
Clean gutters and install gutter guards $500 – 1,400
Install a backwater valve $1,000 – 2,000
Improve grading around the property $1,000 – 3,000
Install sump pumps in the basement $1,100 – 2,900
Fill cracks and waterproof the basement $2,000 – 7,500

Cost ranges shown in the figure above are rough estimates and are intended as general information only. Please contact a qualified local contractor for specific recommendations and quotes for your property.

Are home improvements to prevent water damage worth the cost?

Home improvements to prevent water damage are certainly not inexpensive. It may leave you wondering if this is a wise use of your money. That’s a fair question. But try thinking about home improvements as an investment that can save you money in the long run. And if that’s not enough to convince you that this summer is the right time to get your home ready for future weather conditions, consider that the average cost to repair a flooded basement in a major Canadian city is $42,000. And, your home insurance company might not cover flood damage if you don’t have a specific type of coverage on your policy.

Home improvements to prevent flood damage do provide good value for the money, but finding ways to finance those upgrades is another matter. As a first step, you can call 3-1-1 to see if there are any grants offered by your local government, such as the City of Toronto’s Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program. Some of these programs are offered specifically to offset the cost of home upgrades that can prevent flood damage in your home.

Even if you don’t qualify for a grant, it may be possible to use the equity in your home to pay for upgrades that will help protect it for many years to come. You can do this with a Home Trust Equityline Visa credit card that leverages the equity in your home to provide access to funds that can help you make the repairs you need. You will also receive 1% cash back on purchases made with your card that you can, in turn, use to pay down your balance or invest in additional home improvements.

Learn more by visiting the Home Trust Equityline Visa website.

Heavy flooding is becoming the new normal in many parts of Canada due to changing weather patterns. However, with strategic home improvements that can prevent water damage, you and your home can stay above water!

The information, materials and opinions contained in this Blog are provided for your information only. This Blog does not constitute legal, financial or other professional advice and you should not rely on it as an alternative to specific advice based on your particular circumstance.

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