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1960s flood-proof home goes up for sale

A home built on stilts in 1960s has been put up for sale with an asking price of £1.2 million. The home was designed to protect its wooden flooring from flood damage.

In 1965, architect couple Donald Morrison and Julia Fielding decided to build a house on the banks of the River Thames but knew that the site was a floodplain that floods on average every three years. Bridge End House in Dorchester-on-Thames is a six-bedroom home built on 8ft steel girder stilts that keep its wooden floored rooms well above the flood level. The stilts have protected the floors from several floods since the house was built.

Each year, more areas of Britain suffer as a result of floods, so perhaps new houses, like Bridge End House, should be constructed on stilts. Stilt houses are not a modern design however as archaeologists discovered Neolithic homes that were built on stilts.

When a building with solid wood floors is flooded, it can be protected and restored, but this takes time. Weights and shoring need to be used to prevent warping. The floors must be washed to remove contaminants such as mud and silt, then a stiff brush used to remove debris from the grooves between the boards. Wooden floors need to dry gradually. Opening windows encourages natural evaporation.

Solid wood flooring in a North Wales room is good looking, practical and long-lasting. With suitable varnish or other treatments, wooden floors will cope with everyday liquid spills but in non-stilt homes, they will require restoration work if flood damaged.

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