Prepare for Flood, Debris, and Erosion with Burlap Matting and Sandbags

This year has already seen some heavy and sustained storms in many areas causing millions in property damage. It happens annually in cycles that are largely predictable, but sometimes the extent of the potential damage is not. Storm paths can deviate and the strength of storms vary as they travel.


Torrential rain water creates havoc on unprotected soil, running downhill, increasing in volume and speed as it carries off soil. Mud and debris flows eventually gouge out a slope, carrying brush and trees, becoming more saturated and even causing landslides. The momentum takes down housing, other structures, and people in its path, but thankfully, injuries and property damage can be prevented or minimized.

It is not too late to plan or prepare for damaging weather cycles. Natural disasters happen and destructive weather conditions depend on your location. Start with a quick assessment of your home and yard, as well as surrounding areas, paying attention to hillsides that are sparsely planted or have barren soil and low areas that will collect water and other debris near your home.

Planning early for emergency weather is obviously preferred, but you should always be aware and maintain soil and water runoff for prevention. Your state, county, and town all have guidelines for protecting yourself and your property in an emergency. Make sure you have the necessary tools and materials available when bad weather is predicted.

  • shovels, picks, sledge hammers, ordinary garden, carpentry tools
  • plastic sheeting, burlap bags, sand, lumber, plywood
  • flashlights, lanterns, work clothes and rain gear

Getting ready in advance allows more time for installing temporary protective barriers. Take an inventory of what is already laying around at home and make sure the items are accessible. The rest can be found at a local building material supply store.

Proper sandbag placement is critical to keeping debris flow away from homes and other structures. Fill sand bags with common construction or playground sand. Local loose topsoil is an alternative if sand is not available. Sand bags should be half full, then tied with heavy string or carefully fold the top over. Either way, the opening should be in the direction of flow.

Plastic sheeting, jute matting, and sandbags provide an excellent temporary method of protecting problem slopes from saturation during storms. Spread plastic sheeting or jute matting across the slope and use stakes at the corners and along the edges at 10 to 12 foot intervals or closer. Tie ropes to the stakes across the slope face and attach sandbags to hold the sheet or matte in place. Make sure that water runs off toward the street or a paved drain, driveway, or walkway.blog2-2

Placing plastic sheeting against window and door openings, then cover with plywood to reduce water and debris intrusion. Use at least 3/8″ thick plywood and overlap the opening by several inches. Stack sandbags against the plywood to secure it.

Remember these are temporary fixes. Recurring problems need more permanent solutions. Look for these solutions in the next article.


Photo credit:,, google search

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 13th, 2016 at 11:17 am and is filed under Burlap, Emergency, Flood Protection, Sandbags.

Leave a Reply

  • « Older Entries
  • Newer Entries »