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How to fill and stack sandbags ahead of a hurricane

Sandbags are a helpful tool in preventing your home from flooding.

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Sandbags can help protect your home against floodwater. Thomas Phillips with Lowe's Home Improvement gave our sister-station some pointers.

1. Filling the bag

Filling the bag is easiest when it's a two-person job. One person holds the bag open, another scoops or pours the sand in. You'll want to fill it up about halfway so it's malleable when it stacks. If the bags are too full, they'll be too taught and create gaps when you try to stack them.

2. Type of bag

You'll want to use a heavy-duty material for your bag. Lowe's sells nylon bags similar to tarps.

"They're structurally sound so they won't give way as you stack and space them," Phillips explains. "Say you have to have them down for a whole week, 10 days. You know this material is not going to decay on you."

3. Stacking the bags

The bags should be stacked horizontally on top of one another. Remember, don't fill them all the way so the bags will be loose enough to fill any gaps. Phillips recommends filling as many bags as needed to cover your doorway or space up beyond the foundation.

Experts in Australia recommend putting down a plastic sheet to act as a waterproofing membrane before laying down the sandbags like brickwork on top. They say you should make sure the unfilled top part of each bag is covered by the next bag. They also recommend tucking the flap under the bags at the ends of the rows and staggering rows so the joints don't line up.

4. Where to put the bags

It's ideal to cover drains to prevent contaminated water from backflowing. You should also line doorways with sandbags, as long as you make sure you have at least one clear exit. If you're storing sandbags, make sure they're in a dry place so they don't get wet and rot.

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