Hurricane Ian dumped so much rain that our neighborhood was flooded by 9-inch-deep rainwater. By sheer luck, after 5 hours, the water stopped rising just 1/2 inch below our thresholds. I wonder if there is a removable rubber cement available in caulk gun cartridges that could enable me to temporarily glue 1-1/2 ft tarp strips to serve as waterproof temporary outside dams across doorway bottoms, slider bottoms and maybe even the garage door bottom to prevent rain flood incursion if another such hurricane comes through and/or slows or stalls. Suggestions & recommendations welcome - thanks!

  • Adhesives usually want clean dry surfaces to work well. The removable ones have usually weak holding power. water is heavy. There are emergency flood barriers(not sand bags) that are suppose to work. I think most of them are reusable also.
    – crip659
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 17:43
  • 2
    The question is moot. If you have water that high it's going to come in through the walls. They're not a boat. There are lots of little gaps, and if the flood lasts even a few hours you'll be floating.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 18:11
  • @isherwood It will depend if OP has openings/drops in their concrete foundation for windows/doors.
    – crip659
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 19:42
  • Fair, but that's an extremely rare scenario in my experience. Maybe it's more common in coastal areas.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 19:45
  • @isherwood the best outcome is the house fills with water via several routes. The worst outcome is the house keeps the water out, and indeed when it displaces more water than the house weighs, the house is a boat and will float away... and will land, not on a Wicked Witch but not on a proper foundation either. This lack of foundation will break the back of the house, ruining it entirely. See it all the time in hurricanes. Commented May 30, 2023 at 21:02

3 Answers 3


Plumber putty

It is used to prevent water leaks

It can be molded by hand into a shape

It is sticky but it is not a glue so it can be relatively easy removed

  • 2
    Plumber's putty isn't very sticky. If anything, I'd say duct seal.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 18:11
  • 1
    Plumbers putty is the best bet. It seals but can be removed without much residual clean up. Kudo to Magaman and to you for getting ready for Hurricane season. Remember after the putty is on use plastic or a tarp then the sandbags. It may not be 100% but will definitely slow water into your home slowly rising. Storm surge is another matter.
    – RMDman
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 20:55

You will need new names for things.

  • Kitchen is now "Galley"
  • Bathroom is now "Head"
  • Bottom of house is now "HULL"

Because now, your house is a BOAT

If your house's hull (bottom) is built to marine standards for a boat hull, it will remain watertight and keep the water out. But if it's not, water is going to leak through every conceivable place, and enter the home anyway, regardless of your attempt at a barrier. So if you have hull-grade construction, you're all set, right?

Not quite. Next we have to ask what your house weighs. Because if your house is keeping out water, you have to think about how much water the house is displacing (how much could enter the house, but is being stopped from doing so). If the displaced water weighs more than the house, the house will float. Or try to float it, and destroy it trying.

So actually your best bet is move your stuff high and then let the water in, so you actively avoid becoming a boat... and then splash around in the ankle-deep water removing the bottom few feet of drywall so it dries out quickly when the water leaves. Leaving wet walls to mold and rot is the undoing of many houses.

Okay, I'll admit it. My house is not a boat.

Now we're getting to the point I'm making. Now how long of a time period will the water be 9" above your door sill? If it's 5 seconds, you sold me. That'll work. But if it's hours and hours... water is going to come in via every crack in your house that makes it "not a boat".

So here's the 99 GPM question: Where does the water go? Does your slab foundation have drains all over it that lead to a magically still functioning storm drain system? Do you have bilge pumps actively removing water from a subfloor before it comes in and ruins your carpets? If you did, reducing inflow would help, because it would let the pumps/drains keep up.

But no such system exists, does it? With nothing removing the water coming in from every "not a boat" imperfection, and with flood levels lasting for hours, time is on its side. The flood water will inevitably soak the interior and you're playing head games with yourself thinking any action you can do can stop it. Other than good boat maintenance :)

Get good at dealing with the inevitable.

I get where ruined floors, baseboards, drywall and furniture are frustrating. I get where it feels like there oughta be SOMETHING you can do. Well there is. You can and should prepare for the inevitable. Find out the worst-case water levels. Have shelving, attic access, plastic tubs for your possessions, means to get valuables off the floor, etc. etc.

When the water comes, know what to do to salvage the structure. Learn what the best practices are for building salvage and be right there doing it the moment it is possible, no delay. Run dehumidifiers. Lift carpet and clean it if able. Speed is everything. What really ruins houses is when the houses sit there soggy wet for weeks or months while insurers bicker, trapped humidity and and rot runs amok, and by the time the remediaters make it to your house, it's all over but the shoutin'.

So be your own ServPro and be back doing it on day 1. That way you remediate the damage while it's still cheap to fix, and you get to live in your house instead of your insurer buying you a new house--- hmm, on second thought, use your best judgment :)

  • @ Harper, Your assessment depends on many factors. Most, yes not all, but most homes in Fla. are built on concrete slabs. Depending on the time of construction they may have anchoring features that tie all of the home together. This to be stronger against high winds, but it also has the benefit of being stronger against floor waters. The OP is concerned, as many of us in Fla about the rising water from the heavy rain and the breakdown of runoff ability because of storm surge.
    – RMDman
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 21:29
  • There is little threat of our homes floating away. However a backyard that can't drain anymore, while the rain is still coming poses the threat of water infiltration and ruined, floors, baseboards, drywall and furniture. We know there is little we can do against a wall of rushing water. However much damage from a hurricane comes from the areas away from the center of the storm, but inundated by the rainwater. This is what the OP was trying to guard against.
    – RMDman
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 21:32
  • @RMDman Yeah, I really should have completed my thought there. Commented May 30, 2023 at 23:10
  • @ Harper, Your new post contains better advice. However often what is widespread is the loss of electric power. Trees down so even ingress and egress for essential supplies is impossible to do unless on foot. This is assuming that anyplace is open and has any supplies available. No air conditioning, no internet, water supply contaminated. cell phone unusable or spotty and no way to charge the phone if you can use it. No gas if you can get your car out. This can last for a few days to weeks. For some, months.
    – RMDman
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 23:53
  • So sometimes we just seek a place to get a good nights sleep and have a meal. Starting recovery immediately is everyone's desire, but just surviving is often required. I'm speaking from experience...been there, done that.
    – RMDman
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 23:53

Doorway-filling DIY flood barriers.
I've seen these used in Venice, Italy & York, UK, but the houses are all brick/stone. idk how/if it would work with a wooden house [or has already been mentioned… boat]. This company are actually US-based by the looks of it & have several types of barrier system, big & small - https://www.flooddefensegroup.com/dam-easy-flood-barrier

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In areas prone to river flooding, owners usually make sure the lower exterior is well tanked during the dry season, so only the standard entry points need this attention come flood season.
I don't know how this translates to hurricane season, I've never been anywhere near one.

In Venice, the city sets out elevated walkways, with local businesses filling the gap to their own properties.

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