Flood Protection - Windows
If some windows of your house are close to the ground level you will have to protect them from a flood. These kinds of windows are usually small basement windows, which makes it relatively easy to cover and protect them. But even larger windows can be protected effectively.
The first important step is to make sure that each window is fitted in carefully. Make sure there are no gaps along the frame. Seal off each gap you find with water-resistant filler from your hardware store. Give it a couple of days to dry out and check again to make sure you have created an uninterrupted layer around the frame. Small cracks are best widened and filled out. The next step is to protect the window itself against the water pressure and floating objects. It is especially important for windows you can slide open. Everything that slides or moves offers no protection against flood. It's best to cover up the window completely with a sheet of plywood.
For this task you will need:
Cut out the right size of plywood. Use sandpaper to smooth all 8 edges and round off the 8 corners. Center the sheet on top of the foil. Wrap the foil tight over (which will be called the backside). Use a stapler to securely attach the foil on the plywood. Staple only in the center area at the backside of the sheet. Do not staple close to the edges or at the front!
The next step is to attach a seal, in this case the rubber hose, at the backside of your sheet. If you use the oversized sheet than place the rubber hose about 5 cm (2 in.) away from the edges until it meets the end at the starting point. Give the hose about 5 cm (2 in.) to overlap and cut it. The same goes for the window-sized sheet with one difference that you should place the hose much closer to the edges. Just make sure that the hose later comes in contact with the frame of the window at any point.
Find a way to permanently attach the hose to the sheet. This can be done in many ways. I also would suggest that you first apply some glue or rubber sealing on the sheet to enhance the sealing and to hold the hose in position during the final attachment. Let both ends overlap close beside each other. For the final attachment you could drill small holes in the outer side of the hose. This way you can screw the hose on the sheet from the inside. Repeat this all the way around in steps of at least 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 in.). Finally seal off both ends with a rubber based filler.
To shield your window all you have to do is to put your sheet in place and keep it evenly under pressure against your wall or the window frame. There are also many ways to do this. Find the solution that fits best to your window. For example, you could drill small holes in your sheet between the edges and the rubber hose and use them to screw your sheet onto the wall or the frame of your window. Or you could attach planks on the front side exceeding your sheet by about 10 cm (4 in.) on both sides and prepare holes in your wall to mount it later. If you need to drill holes inside the area protected by the rubber hose than don't forget to seal it off later (use rubber rings when using screws).
Test your device and make yourself familiar with the handling before storing it in a save place. It also would be a good idea to label your sheets according to their windows and attach a little bag on it with all screws needed (plus one more to save you the search in the mud when it falls down).
Some houses have light shafts leading to lower basement windows. These shafts are usually formed by concrete with a metal grid on top. You can seal them off the same way as your windows. Just prepare a plywood sheet with a rubber hose attached to put it on top of the shaft. A sandbag or any other heavy material on top will provide enough pressure to seal off your shaft effectively.
All the work shouldn't take more than an afternoon to complete. You might appreciate your efforts some day.