A Calgary family has gone to great lengths and expense to make sure their house can stand up to the next big flood.

Joann Bast had her Roxboro home’s basement redeveloped without any wood or drywall.


Joann Bast sits in her new basement, redeveloped using only water-resistant materials in case her Roxboro home floods again. (CBC)

Instead there are steel stairs, polished concrete floors, walls sprayed with foam insulation and clad in lath and plaster concrete, glass panels and even a custom-made steel bed.

“I didn’t' want to use anything that had to be torn out like drywall or wood,” she said.

Last June Bast’s basement took in five feet of water when the Elbow River three blocks away overflowed its banks.

The fully-developed nine-room basement with a master suite, guest room and fitness room had to be gutted.


If it happens again, the cleanup should be much easier, she said.

“We’ve tried to build something that maybe isn’t water proof, but it’s flood resistant, or spray-and-wash.”


Architect Mark Erickson came up with a technique to make the outside walls impervious to water using foam insulation covered with mortar and steel mesh and then coated in concrete and sealant. (CBC)

The house also now has a sump pump and a back-check sewer valve, Bast said.

Mark Erickson, the architect Bast hired to design the basement, said the technique he came up with for the walls — foam insulation covered with mortar and steel mesh and then coated in concrete and sealant — is a bit like a swimming pool.

“If a flood was to happen again — which inevitably it will — we just designed it so that these materials can stay in place and they can be just washed down,” he said.

Bast says her renovation cost about $140,000, which is at least 30 per cent more than if she used conventional building materials.