A flood barrier is a removable flood defence product, which can be quickly deployed if there is a flood warning in your local area. The barrier slides into two permanent upright channels, which will be fixed to the wall either side of your door. In the UK, a flood barrier is often referred to as a flood gate or a flood control barrier in the UK. Flood barriers are versatile products and can be installed on commercial or residential doors.
There are two main types of flood barriers for doors: composite or aluminium flood barriers. Each type of flood barrier has its own advantages, but the first step will be to take accurate measurements as this will determine the type of flood protection. As a general rule, the type of flood barrier that will fit your door is:
- Single door – Hydroshield Flood Barrier or Buffalo Flood Barrier
- Double door – Hydroshield (up to 1.5m) or Buffalo Flood Barrier
- Sliding door – Buffalo Flood Barrier
- Garage door – Buffalo Flood Barrier
Depending on the level of flood risk, you may consider sandless sandbags or water activated flood barrier, such as the Osmo Flood Barrier for doors and garages. Unlike traditional flood barriers, water activated flood barriers do not require permenant fixings to your property and are more cost effective. However, they are not as robust as aluminium flood barriers and can only be used once. But you need to weigh up your risk versus the investment in permenanet flood barriers, as it may be that you have a very low risk and therefore a water activated barrier would be sufficient.
Measuring a flood barrier for door
The first step to determine which flood barrier is suitable for your door is to measure the width. To take the measurement you should take the brick to brick measurement i.e. from the outer edge of the door frame where it meets the wall.
If the door width is under 1.5m, you will have the option of an aluminium barrier or a composite barrier. If the door width is over 1.5m, your only option would be an aluminium flood barrier. The reason is the aluminium flood barrier is a stronger and more robust material, and can therefore withstand greater water pressures than composite flood barriers.
Another advantage of an aluminium flood barrier is the height and width can be manufactured to your requirements. The barrier will be manufactured and cut to fit a specific door. In contrast, the composite flood barrier is a set panel size (either 1.5m wide or 1m wide), but you can cut down the panel to size on site. This is a DIY flood barrier, and can easily be fit yourself.
Once we have the right size of your door, the next stage is to determine where to install the flood barrier.
Is the door open in or open out?
The first thing to consider is whether the door is open in or open out. If the door is open in, then the flood barrier should be fit externally. If the door is open out, then we would recommend fitting the barrier inside the door.
If you are fitting the flood barrier inside your home, you need to make sure you are fixing to a solid wall i.e. not plaster board. Check there is sufficient space and no obstructions on the side of the door where the barrier will be fit.
With a flood barrier for home, you may also want to consider whether you will deploy the barriers when you go on holiday. If you are going to install them when you are away, then you may want to consider having the barriers fit internally so passer-by’s do not know that your house is empty. It is quite common for people to install flood barriers for garages internally for this reason.
Where will the upright channel fix to the wall?
You can fix the upright channels on the face of the wall or in the reveal where the door sits. Depending on the type of barrier will depend on the space required in the reveal. The minimum recommended space for each barrier is below:
- Hydroshield Flood Barrier – 45mm
- Buffalo Aluminium Flood Barrier – 50mm
- Buffalo HD Aluminium Flood Barrier – 80mm.
If you have enough space to fit in the reveal, you then need to check the door has no cill that could obstruct the barrier being put in position. If there is a cill that sticks out at the bottom of the door, you will need to fit the barrier on the face of the door. You may also need to add a packer to the fixing (see no. 5 for more details). This may require additional length, which may mean you need to install an aluminium flood barrier. Keep an eye out for any cables, pipes or obstacles that could get in the way of the barrier fixing to the wall.
If the door is a sliding door, we would recommend installing the flood barrier with a face fix as there is unlikely to be enough space in the reveal.
How high can I have a flood barrier for a door?
The next step is to think about the required flood protection height. Composite flood barriers only come in 600mm high panels, where as aluminium flood barriers are available in 200mm or 400mm high increments.
In the UK, the recommended flood barrier standard is 600mm high, however this may not be suitable in all situations. For example, you may suffer when storm water causes drains to overflow, and you only need a 200mm barrier to deflect the flood water away from your house. In this situation, an aluminium barrier may be more suitable. In some circumstances you may require a flood barrier over 600mm high. For example, your door may be below ground level. In this situation, you would need to install an aluminium flood barrier, which can be manufactured up to 1600mm high.
We would recommend checking your flood risk at the Environment Agency if you are unsure about flood depths.
Do you need any packers?
A packer is only available for an aluminium flood barrier, and is an additional aluminium block which is welded to the face or reveal fixing. This will mean the fixing will be set further off the wall, which may be necessary to get around the cill of a door or a grate in front of the door. Packers can come in a variety of sizes, with the most common 25mm and 50mm.
If you are fitting internally and you have a skirting board, you would need to cut the skirting board back to the wall and request a packer on the fixing to ensure the barrier can be slotted in.
The main flood barrier advantages are:
- Reliability – unlike doors that can get damaged due to day to day use, flood barriers are reliable and simple to use. As they are rarely deployed, they are much more reliable than flood doors.
- Cost – the cost of flood barriers is significantly less than flood doors.
- Bespoke made to any height or width – it is possible to create a flood wall from demountable aluminium barriers to any length. The versatile nature of flood barriers make it a better product to protect your home from flooding. Every door is slightly different and therefore requires a bespoke solution.