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Title: Systems and materials to prevent floodwaters from entering buildings
Authors: United States. Army. Corps of Engineers. Lower Mississippi Valley Division.
Pace, Carl E.
Keywords: Brick-veneer walls
Flood-resistant systems
Prototype tests
Flood-resistant testing
Hydrostatic water pressure
Wall damage
Concrete-block walls
Impermeable materials
Flood damage
Publisher: Structures Laboratory (U.S.)
Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
Series/Report no.: Miscellaneous paper (U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station) ; SL-85-5.
Description: Miscellaneous Paper
Abstract: Systems were tested that will protect homes and buildings from floodwaters up to a safe water height. There are many pitfalls which must be watched for and guarded against or leaks will develop in the flood-resistant system. A drainage system with a sump and pump is useful behind the water-resistant system to take care of any leaks which may occur. An unreinforced brick-veneer or concrete-block building will support approximately 3 ft of water load without being damaged. A cementitious coating on a brick or block wall surface will strengthen the wall. Buildings must not be made resistant to water penetration above a safe design height or the building may be structurally damaged or collapsed. Clear sealants do not make brick-veneer or block walls impermeable to a water head. Epoxies, polyurethanes, and asphalt coatings that were tested were not reliable in preventing water from penetrating a brick-veneer or block wall. Some cementitious coatings will make a brick-veneer or block wall impermeable against a water head. Cementitious coatings which can be brushed on walls are preferred. A prototype test of a home was performed in Allenville, Arizona. Only 1 in. of water entered the house with a 4-ft head outside. The test did not involve underseepage and only tested a snap connection at the base of the building. The 4-ft water head structurally damaged the block wall house. A prototype test performed on a home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, included the effects of underseepage and other factors associated with static water pressure. Only limited seepage occurred at exterior walls, and the cause of this seepage was determined and can be corrected. This test was a success, and it is now known that homes and buildings can be protected from approximately 3-ft-deep floodwaters without structural damage. A snap seal at the base of a building with an impermeable membrane extending up the wall has been tested with partial success. These tests should be continued and completed. Promising materials and techniques for sealing block and brick walls should be tested for permeability and durability. Simple methods using on-site data should be developed to estimate underseepage. Uplift by the flow of water through various soils to the base of a building should be studied and defined. Drainage and sump systems should be studied and a simple, economical, and workable system found and presented in a homeowners's manual. A loose-leaf homeowner's manual which can be continually updated should be written and published to present flood-resistant construction options and other pertinent information to the public. An organized effort should be made among the public, contractors, material developers, and researchers so that the improvements in flood-resistant construction can be developed as quickly and efficiently as possible. Water-resistant protection systems can significantly reduce flood damages and save millions of dollars.
Rights: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Appears in Collections:Miscellaneous Paper

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