How To Fill Sand Bags and Create a Flood Prevention Barrier!
The use of sand bags is a simple, but effective way to prevent or reduce flood water damage. Properly filled and placed sand bags can act as a barrier to divert moving water around, instead of through, buildings. Sandbag construction does not guarantee a water-tight seal but is satisfactory for use in most situations. Sandbags are also used successfully to prevent overtopping of streams with levees, and for training current flows to specific areas.
How Many Sand Bags Do I Need?
It takes an average of 600 sandbags to cover a 100-foot section, 1-foot high wall.
SAND BAG DON’Ts . . .
Sand bags should never be used to build a fortress around the perimeter of one's property. Doing so can trap flood-waters between sandbag walls and structures, leading to further damage.
Do not use garbage bags, as they are too slick to stack. Do not use feed sacks, as they are too large to handle.
How To Fill A Sandbag:
- Fill sand bags 1/2 to 2/3 full, tie atthe top so bags will lay flat when put in place. A properly filled sand bag should weigh between 35-40 lbs. At this weight, one person can handle moving the sandbags.
- Overfilled bags and bags tied too low leave gaps in sandbag levee allowing water to seep through. An overfilled sandbag can weigh 70 - 75 lbs.
TIP: Always use gloves to protect your hands during the filling operation. After handling treated bags, avoid contact with your eyes and mouth. Dress appropriately and layer clothing. Safety goggles should be used on dry and windy days.
How to Place Sandbags:
- Sand bags should be placed flat on the ground, overlapped, tamped into place, and stair-stepped.
- Remove any debris from the areas where bags are to be placed. Place the bags lengthwise and parallel to the direction of flow with the untied open ends of the bags facing upstream. Fill the low spots first before placing bags the full length of the area to be raised. Start at the downstream end of the sandbag operation about 1 foot landward from the river or levee's edge and continue upstream.
- Fold the open end of the bag under the filled portion. Place succeeding bags with the bottom of the bag tightly and partially overlapping the previous bag. Offset adjacent rows or layers by one-half bag length to avoid continuous joints. To eliminate voids and form a tight seal, compact and shape each bag by walking on it and continue the process as each layer is placed. This flattens the top of the bag and prevents slippage between succeeding layers.
SAND BAG LIMITATIONS
- Sand bags will not seal out water.
- Sandags deteriorate when exposed for several months to continued wetting and drying. If bags are placed too early, they may not be effective when needed.
- Sand bags are basically for low-flow protection (up to two feet). Protection from high flow requires a permanent type of structure.
- Sand bags are not always an effective measure in the event of flooding because water will eventually seep through the bags and finer materials like clay may leak out through the seams.
There are many tools to make filling sand bags easier. Many of them are expensive machinery or cumbersome tricks that waste time when you typically don’t have time. Also, most sandbags require two people to fill them.
One of the most inexpensive tools to fill your sandbags is the Crawl Space Door Systems Easy Fill Sandbag. It only requires one per one person to fill them. They are durable and easy to manipulate during challenging times.
To learn more about the Easy Fill Sandbags and how they can help with your flood prevention needs, go to