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Discover Why Sandbags are not the Answer to Flooding

By June 23, 2015Flood Protection News

When there’s a flood threat present there are a number of protection systems which can be employed to hold back the rising flood water. The most common method is the use of sandbags.  Over the years they have been put across thousands of doorways to try to keep water from entering the home.

However, sandbags aren’t the solution.  They are an ad hoc method which isnt engineered to hold back flood waters.  Sandbags are ineffective in many ways.

Why they aren’t the answer to flooding

sandbag-wall-246456_640Sandbags aren’t easy to construct, transport or store.  They are slow to assemble as each bag needs two people to fill them unless machinery is available. When a flood threat is present speed is of the essence – you need to deploy a protection barrier as quickly as possible – unfortunately sandbags are just too slow to construct.  For those who are elderly or have mobility issues, sandbags are impossible to put in place without assistance.

Heavy and cumbersome to load and unload, the lack of speed in being able to put them in place means an enduring vulnerability to property and there’s also the possibility of injury to those filling and lifting them. They also need to stay small so they can be put in place; tall sandbags have to be designed by an engineer before use as they need to be able to withstand water pressure and not fail as this could cause great danger to anyone nearby.  To protect just a depth of just 20cm of water, at least 8 sandbags weighing 15kg each will be needed to place against a standard width door opening – a great deal of work for even the fittest of people. Only sharp sand can be used as opposed to soft sand so there may be the problem of availability of the correct filling and even then the sandbag will allow flood waters to seep through.

It’s not just doorways though that can let water through; a sandbag will also be needed for every vent brick, cable point entry and utility point which adds to the workload.


Impractical in an emergency

sandbag-139002_640A wall of sandbags can never offer complete protection from water as no matter what they are filled with, they will still allow water through and over time the speed of leakage will increase even if well-trodden down. Sandbags are only practical to a height of around 30-50cm and even then they may not be useful for a long period of time.  They are very difficult to place in existing flood water and stacking is incredibly hard in running water.

The sacking material the bags are constructed from is bio-degradable. This means they can’t be deployed twice or stored after use – as they will perish and rot.


Not always available when needed

There’s never a guarantee that sandbags will be available when needed.  Protection of property is the responsibility of the owner and not the local authority.  Whilst the council may have some they can deploy when needed, these will be needed for overall protection rather than for the protection of individual properties. Whilst you can always buy bags and sand from local DIY stores and fill when needed, many others will be wanting to do this at the same time and stocks will quickly deplete.


There is a recognised alternative to sandbags – the FloodBlock barrier is a proven flood defence system.

2Unlike sandbags, the Flood block is:

  • Lightweight
  • No construction works required
  • Easy to put in place by a single person
  • Simple to store
  • Repeatable and robust
  • Can be used as a long or short term solution

The FloodBlock system is a flexible flood prevention barrier. It’s durable and can be rapidly deployed as temporary or permanent flood barrier.

FloodBlock can be deployed to any length and in any direction.  The barrier can protect large or small areas – from the smallest driveway opening to the largest of construction sites. The beauty of this non bespoke flood barrier is that it actually uses the weight of the rising flood waters to hold the flood waters back.   Flood block can be deployed at any location where a threat of flooding is present.  Once assembled it is an instant solution.

FloodBlock when not in use can be stacked into a very small area, perfect for storage or haulage.

Sandbags is the flood solution of the past.  FloodBlock is the new solution – its proven and can be rapidly deployed to effectively prevent buildings or areas from the ever increasing risk of flooding.