How to Sand Bag a Home to Prevent Flooding


Sandbags are frequently used to prevent homes from flooding. Although they may not prevent all water from reaching a home, sandbags will help divert the water. Sandbags are generally made out of burlap or plastic. They are filled half to two-thirds full. If flooding is a threat in your area, your city maintenance yard will most likely provide sandbags for free. Using the right supplies and properly placing your sandbags will help prevent flooding. Follow these steps to make sure your home is protected as much as possible against flooding.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandbags
  • Plastic tarps
  • Screws
  • Lay plastic tarps in front of any doors or low windows and the side of the house that is threatened by flood waters.

  • Bring plastic tarps as high up on the house as you expect flood waters to reach. You can attach the plastic to the house with screws. You must put up plastic tarps where you want to prevent flooding; sandbags alone are not sufficient.

  • Place the first row of sandbags tightly against each other and touching the exterior of the house. The sandbags should lie parallel to the flow of the potential flood waters. If your sandbags are tied, flatten the tied end. If your sandbags are not tied, tuck the flap under the sandbag. The opening of the sandbags should face against the water flow.

  • Place the second row of sandbags on top of the first. The first bag should start about halfway across the first sandbag in the bottom row, so each row of sandbags is staggered. Never put sandbags around the whole exterior of your house; this could trap flood waters between your house and the sandbags.

  • Step on each sandbag to push them tightly into place and help seal any cracks.

  • Place sandbags in a pyramid shape to prevent flooding at higher levels, if necessary. To do this, determine how many layers high you want your pyramid. Make sure there is a similar number of sandbags across the bottom layer of the pyramid as the number of layers you want. For example, if you want the pyramid five sandbags high, place five sandbags across the bottom.

Tips & Warnings

  • Place three-quarter-inch plywood over higher windows and any vents around the house as a further measure to prevent flooding. Make sure the plywood overlaps 3 to 4 inches on each side and the top and bottom.
  • Remove sandbags and any plywood barriers as soon as the threat of flooding is gone.
  • Dispose of any sandbags affected by flood waters.
  • Unless you are using they pyramid form, do not stack sandbags more than two layers high.

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