Homes can be severely damaged if water reaches the interior. Repairs to walls and floors can be expensive, and a home may be uninhabitable while repairs are conducted.

One way to protect property from shallow flooding is to add a waterproof veneer to the exterior walls and seal all openings, including doors, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The veneer can consist of a layer of brick backed by a waterproof membrane.

Before a veneer is applied, siding is removed and replaced with exterior grade plywood sheathing. If necessary, the existing foundation footing is extended to support the brick. Because a wall may be exposed to flood water, changes are also made to interior walls to resist moisture damage. In areas below the flood level, standard insulation is replaced with washable closed-cell foam insulation, and any wood blocking added inside a wall cavity is made of exterior grade lumber.

If you plan to add a waterproof veneer to an exterior wall, FEMA wants you to remember that:

If your property is flooded by groundwater entering through the floor, a waterproof veneer will not be effective. To have a contractor add a waterproof brick veneer will cost about $10 per square foot. The $10 per square foot does not include sealing doors and other openings or extending the foundation.