Proper Use Of Sandbags Is Effective In Preventing Damage From Flooding

Hurricane season can bring acute devastation, not only from the high winds and driving rain during the storm but from storm surges and flooding that can take place long after the storm has passed. Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States and just a few inches of water can do serious damage to a home or business so it is particularly important to be prepared, especially if your home or business is situated in a low-lying area or near a body of water. 


Traditionally, sandbags have been the go-to item for effectively preventing water from damaging a structure - and with good reason. When used correctly, sandbags prove remarkably effective at preventing water damage to structures. Here are some tips for optimum use:

  • Fill sandbags from 1/3 to 1/2 capacity to create a good seal when bags are stacked. Clear away any debris where sandbags are to be placed and put down plastic sheeting for additional water protection.
  • Place sandbags on top of sheeting from one end to the other tucking the extra material under the weight of the bag or you can place another back over the unfilled top section of the previous bag.
  • Place the next layer on top in a brickwork fashion, staggering the rows for optimal water sealing.
  • Flatten the tops of the bags also helps create a better seal.
  • Also remember to cover drainage holes such as bath/shower trains and toilets with sandbags to prevent back flow of contaminated water.
  • Ensure there is at least one doorway that can be used to access or exit by placing sandbags far away enough from the door to allow it to open.

Safety Reminders:

  • Any sandbags that have come in contact with contaminated water cannot be reused and should be discarded
  • When handling wet sandbags, it is crucial to wear good-quality protective gloves as flood water can contain harmful chemicals and/or waste by-products.
  • Contact your local agency to determine if there is a specific protocal for disposing of sandbags in your area.