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How to use sandbags: filling tips and materials

Posted by Sandy Baggs on

Sandbags filling instructions (step by step) and fill materials

Sandbags Filling Tips

  1. Fill sandbags 1/2 to 2/3 full and tie the bag at the top with the included ties
    • Lay flat when in place
    • This sandbag should weigh between 35-40 lbs.
    • An overfilled sandbag weighs between 60-75 lbs and will leave gaps which will allow water to seep through.
  2. Always wear gloves during the filling operation to avoid hand injuries and protect yourself from contaminants in sand and floodwater.
    • Safety goggles should be used on dry and windy days.
    • Filling sandbags is physically demanding work and can easily cause back and other injuries if not careful.
    • Always lift with your legs and not your back.
    • Do not reach out, bend over, or twist when lifting.
  3. Do not throw sandbags - it stresses the back and shoulders.
    • Instead, use a brigade line to pass bags
  4. Use a short handled, #2 rounded point shovel with straight shaft and D grip, bagger scoop or funnel to fill sandbags.
  5. Remove any debris from the areas where the sandbags will be placed.
    • After placing the sandbag, walk on the sandbags to create a tight seal between each bag.

Fill Materials

  • Sandbaggy polypropylene sandbags are built to hold either gravel or sand.
    • Be aware of poor quality sandbags that rupture when filled with sharp gravel rocks.
  • Gravel should be filled in sandbag when used as an erosion control device (on slopes). Any kind of gravel works great such as pea gravel or 3/4" gravel
  • Sand should be filled for flood control needs, whether to protect doors or garage or to divert water. Any kind of sand works well to stop water such as beach sand or concrete sand 
  • If sand or gravel is not accessible, less effective solutions is to fill the sandbags with backyard soil.

Choose a type of bag to learn more

Regular polypropylene sandbags
Polypropylene sandbags
Burlap bags
Burlap bags
Monofilament, long-lasting sandbags
Polyethylene bags

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  • Comment to filling 17×27 monofilament sand bags. I use a 5 gallon pail cut the bottom off slip the bag over the pail filler up to top and the just lift the bag and pail and you sand bag is full. This is a one person operation. Works great

    Steve likness on

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