Flood Sandbags: Everything You Need to Know

When a flood strikes, it is important to take the necessary precautions to protect your home and property. One of the most effective ways to do this is by using sandbags. Sandbags can help to control and divert floodwaters away from your home. In this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about flood sandbags: what they are, how they work, and the different types available. We will also provide tips on how to properly use sandbags during a flood emergency.

Flood Sandbags

Flood sandbags are an important tool for controlling floods. They are filled with sand or dirt and then placed in strategic locations to help control the water flow by absorbing it and slowing the flow of water downstream. This helps to prevent flooding in neighborhoods and cities to protect homes and businesses from flood damage.

If you live in an area with a high flood risk, it is important to have sandbags on hand in case of a flood.

Types of Flood Sandbags

If you are sandbagging your home or business, it is important to use the correct sandbags. Sandbags can be used to protect against both river floods and flash floods and are also used to combat hurricanes. River floods happen when there is too much water in a river and it overflows its banks. Flash floods happen when there is a sudden downpour of rain.

There are several different types of flood sandbags to choose from; standard, tubular, and FIBC bulk bags. Each type of sandbag has its own advantages and type of flood it's best used for, so it is important to choose the right sandbag for your needs.

Standard Sandbags

Standard sandbags are the most common type of sandbag used for flood control. They come in a 14x26 and come in a few different colored options: white, gold or orange. Standard sandbags are filled and stacked into an embankment, otherwise known as a dike, creating a barrier to protect homes and businesses from flooding.

Tubular Sandbags

Tubular sandbags are a type of flood sandbag that is a long tubular woven poly propylene bag. They are most commonly used in water diversion projects and for spill containment. Tube sandbags are easy to work with and can be filled and placed quickly.

FIBC Bulk Bags

Traditionally sandbags are used for flood prevention but FIBC bulk bags are starting to make a name for themselves. Bulk bags have the ability to carry upwards of 4,000 lbs. of sand or dirt and aide in flood prevention, controlling flood waters, and utilized as temporary dams.

Most sandbags carry around 55 lbs. of sand and need to be individually placed and stacked near the flood site. A FIBC bulk bag is one large unit and can replace dozens of individually stacked sandbags, relieving the time and energy it'd take to properly position the sandbags.

Tips on how to use sandbags during a flood emergency

How to Fill a Sandbag

It's important to make sure you're taking the right steps to properly fill your sandbags in order to build a strong and sustainable sandbag barrier.

Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Fill bags approximately half full of clay, silt or sand. Do not tie.
  • Alternate direction of bags with bottom layer lengthwise of dike. Lap unfilled portion under next bag.
  • Tamp thoroughly in place.
  • Build the dike three times as wide as high. For example, if the height is 3 feet, make the base 9 feet

Sandbag Placement

There is a recommended metric for sandbags per linear feet. The number of bags required for 100 linear feet of dike is as follows:

  • 1-foot-high dike: 800 bags
  • 2-foot-high dike: 2,000 bags
  • 3-foot-high dike: 3,400 bags

Sealing the Dike (for sandbags, tubular bags, or bulk bags)

After the embankment is completed, it's important to seal the finished dike to increase its water tightness. To seal the dike:

  • Spread a layer of earth or sand 1 inch deep and about 1 foot wide along the bottom of the dike on the water side.
  • Lay polyethylene plastic sheeting so the bottom edge extends 1 foot beyond the bottom edge of the dike over the loose dirt. The upper edge should extend over the top of the dike. This sheeting is available from Sandbag Express. It should be about 6 millimeters thick. It comes in 100-foot rolls and is 8 or 10 feet wide.
  • Lay the plastic sheeting down very loosely. The pressure of the water will then make the plastic conform easily to the sandbag surface. If the plastic is stretched too tightly, the water force could puncture it.
  • Place a row of tightly fitting sandbags on the bottom edge of the plastic to form a water tight seal along the water side.
  • Place sandbags at about 6 foot intervals to hold down the top edge of the plastic. Place boards or dirt between these sandbags to prevent winds from disturbing the plastic. As you work, avoid puncturing the plastic with sharp objects or by walking on it.

Thanks for Reading!

When it comes to sandbags, there are a few different types to choose from. Standard sandbags, tubular sandbags and FIBC bulk bags all aide in flood prevention but offer different advantages. Standard sandbags are the most common type of sandbag and are versatile, tubular sandbags are often used in diversion projects and spill containment, and FIBC bulk bags can replace multiple individually stacked sandbags and be used as temporary dams.

Whether you go with a standard sandbag, a tubular sandbag or an FIBC bulk bag, make sure to use them correctly and place them properly in order to build a strong and sustainable dike. If you still have questions on which sandbag to choose, feel free to reach out to one of our industrial bag experts to learn more about sandbags and alternative bag products for flood prevention.


About the Author: Janette Lais

Janette Lais

Janette is the Director of sourcing for Rapid Packaging. Janette is also a graduate of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Janette has been in the packaging industry since 2004 and has held many roles such as Operations and purchasing manager, Purchasing management project manager. Before entering the packaging industry, Janette spends 19 years at a manufacturing facility where she held production scheduling, product manager, and purchasing manager position.

Janette is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys hiking and fishing in her free time. She also enjoys spending time with family and friends and her three dogs.

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