Paul Tang and his wife, Yuk Yin Szeto, fell in love with the view at their waterfront home in Sainte-Geneviève, but when they bought it in 2010, they knew right away they'd be spending some money renovating to protect it from flooding.

"The water is beautiful, we love it. But we're also thinking about flooding," said Tang.

Originally built in 1877, the house on the bottom of St-Jean-Baptiste Street was home to one family for seven generations. 

Last week's flooding was the first test of the home's new renovations. Even after the street was evacuated because the water was a foot high, Tang's basement stayed mostly dry.

He reached out to CBC News to share his story in the hopes that the measures he took could help others who are rebuilding after the flood. Here's some of what he did to flood-proof his home.

1. Flooding membrane inside the foundation

Some people put a flooding membrane outside the foundation, but Tang has one lining his basement floor. He says any water that does make it between the foundation and the membrane is directed toward a French drain and then a sump pump pushes it back out.

2. Build with steel, not wood

Wood rots, twists and expands when it comes into contact with water. When he started renovating his home, Tang used steel instead.

3. A backup sump pump that runs on batteries

Tang says preparing for flooding means being able to pump water out faster than it comes in. An extra sump pump is key to winning that battle — if a generator goes, or if the home loses power, the battery-run sump pump can handle the water in the interim.

More guidance from government needed

Tang and Szeto say they're not gloating, but hope people who are forced to renovate their basements due to flooding can take put some of their tips into action so they won't have to renovate again the next time there's a flood.

He also said he hopes the provincial or municipal governments provide guidance to help homeowners keep their basements dry.

"Maybe they can give some professional advice to the victim," said Tang. "So next time, or in the future, it can be sustainable."


Paul Tang and his wife, Yuk Yin Szeto, are renovating a home from the 1870s. Here's what it's set to look like when it's finished. (Paul Tang)