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DIY Sandbagging

Sandbags can help reduce the amount of water that enters your property during flooding. Find out how to make your own.

Sandbags will not stop flooding entirely. However, if they are placed in suitable locations they can help reduce the amount of water that enters your property.

The following tips are also provided on the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services website.

Protecting your home and business

Buy the items you need to make your own sandbags from participating local hardware stores and landscape supply businesses (see list below).

DIY sandbagging demonstrations

For an online demonstration of how to make your own sandbags, see the SES YouTube video.

What you will need:

  • Empty sandbags
  • Sand
  • Plastic sheeting

You will also need string if you are transporting the sandbags.

Note. Not all hardware stores and landscape supply yards stock the items needed to make sandbags. You should check with your local stockist or refer to participating hardware and landscape supply businesses. This list of suppliers below will be updated from time to time. They may not have supplies in stock, so you should phone first and check.

Filling the sandbag

  • Use dry sand – not soil.
  • Fill to two-thirds full so they are not too heavy to carry.
  • Leave the top of the sandbag untied.
  • If you need to transport sandbags, tie loosely then untie the sandbag again.

Choosing the best location for the sandbags

  • In front of doorways, roller doors and brickwork vents.
  • Over floor wastes and shower and bath drains to prevent backflow of grey water.
  • Make sure you leave at least one doorway for your use. You should build a small sandbag wall away from the actual doorway.

Laying the sandbags

  • The number of sandbags you use depends on location and expected flood height. Usually two rows of sandbags are enough.
  • Place a layer of plastic sheeting for the sandbags to be stacked on top. This acts as a water proofing covering.
  • Lay sandbags like brickwork on top of plastic sheeting – generally to two sandbag rows high.
  • Start at one end and work to the other end.
  • Make sure the untied end of the sandbag is covered by the next sandbag.
  • At the end of the row, tuck the untied end under the last sandbag.
  • Stagger rows so that the joins do not line up.

Storing sandbags

Store sandbags in a dry place out of the weather. They can rot if they get wet or damp.

Disposing of used sandbags

  • Sandbags need to be thrown away once they’ve been exposed to floodwaters.
  • Never re-use them.
  • Take care when moving used sandbags. You should wear sturdy gloves. They bags will be heavy and may contain contaminants from flood water.

Participating hardware stores

The following businesses* stock materials needed for DIY sandbags. Don’t forget to give them a call before you visit. Make sure they have materials in stock and are open – particularly on public holidays.

BusinessLocationPhone number
Neil Mansell Landscape Supplies (sandbags and sand)Maroochydore(07) 5443 8725
Yandina Hardware (sandbags and sand)Yandina(07) 5446 8588
Maleny Landscaping Supplies (sand only)Maleny(07) 5494 3233
Maleny Hardware & Rural Supplies (sandbags only)Maleny(07) 5494 2302
Sunshine Mitre 10 (sandbags and plastic bags of play sand)Nambour(07) 5441 9900
Mooloolah Valley Hardware (sandbags and sand)Mooloolah(07) 5494 7622
Maroochy Sand & Gravel (sand only)Forest Glen(07) 5442 3337

*Emergency services may not always be able to get to you. These businesses are partners in the Sandbag Supply and Education Project. This project is to help you better prepare for the possibility of flooding.