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Last updated: 8/15/18

Building flood resiliency

There are many different ways to strengthen and protect coastal communities.

You can use many different strategies to lower your risk of flooding. Aside from major alterations to your home, there are some quick and simple solutions to reduce potential damage.

Still have questions? Contact:
Environment
1 City Hall Square
Room 709
Boston, MA 02201-2031
United States

Protecting your home or building

It's important to understand your current and long-term risk to flooding. We are planning for Boston's risk to future flooding through an initiative called Climate Ready Boston. But, there measures you can take now to protect your home or building from flooding.

Three things that affect premiums

There are only three measures that can have an effect on your insurance premiums:

  • home elevation
  • filling in a basement or crawl space (and wet floodproofing, as needed), and
  • raising mechanical equipment out of the basement.

There are several other actions you can take to help protect your home from flood damage. Check out the options listed below to see if they might help your protect your home. 

ELEVATE YOUR HOME

When you elevate your home, you lift the structure above the height of the projected floodplain. This is done by lifting your home onto temporary supports and placing it on a new or extended foundation. Elevating your home above the projected flood elevation (Base Flood Elevation), can keep your home and belongings safe from damage. If you choose to elevate, you must raise your home at least two feet above the base flood elevation. This extra two feet of elevation is known as “freeboard”.

RAISE YOUR MECHANICALS

One of the most effective ways to make your home more resilient is by raising your mechanical equipment. Flood waters can damage mechanical equipment, making it more expensive to repair or replace. By relocating it from the basement or crawl space to the first floor or higher, you can significantly reduce the risk of it being damaged during a flood. You will save money in the event of a flood, and you may also save money on your insurance policy. 

FILL IN YOUR BASEMENT

You can fill your basement or crawl space with sand, gravel, or another material. This will raise your home’s lowest floor elevation without having to lift the house. By filling in your basement, you also ensure that your belongings are located above ground level. This makes them less likely to be damaged during a flood. You may also need to install flood vents to protect your home’s foundation and walls from being damaged.

INSTALL FLOOD VENTS

Installing flood vents involves adding openings to the side of your building. This allows flood waters to flow through your home, reducing the risk of structural damage.  Flood vents are only a viable option in homes where mechanical equipment has been raised.

INSTALL BACKWATER PREVENTERS

Backwater preventers are relatively inexpensive and often easy to install. In the event that flood waters cause the sewer to overflow, a backwater preventer will prevent wastewater from flowing into your home.

UTILIZE FLOOD RESISTANT MATERIALS

If you are planning a renovation or constructing a new building, consider using flood resistant materials. Choose non-paper-faced gypsum board and terrazzo tile flooring. You can also install floodproof cabinets or replace wooden items with metal ones. By using flood resistant materials, you can reduce flood damage and speed post-flood clean up.

Citywide flood resiliency

Planning for the future

The City is making coastal resilience a part of all City planning to reduce our risk to flooding. Our  Climate Ready Boston initiative is developing solutions to prepare for climate change.

Our Climate Ready Map Explorer tool features spatial data of the impacts Boston expects to face in the future. Residents can explore which areas of Boston are projected to be at risk of flooding.

Educating residents

Climate resiliency is built by collective action. That's why we’re piloting the Climate Ready Boston Leaders program. The program gives volunteers in the City the tools to host their own conversations about climate change.

To learn more about the pilot program and other ways to get involved in the City’s Climate Action Plan, visit Greenovate Boston.