Reusable Flood Bags for Fast Bulk-Water Control – Fine Homebuilding

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Written By Jim J Neal

Whether it’s a substantial indoor leak or flooding from heavy rainfall, water is a force to be reckoned with and can wreak havoc on even the best home assembly. As for the latter, incorporating systemic climate-adaptive building practices is the best way to prevent the kind of costly damage water can cause to homes and communities. In the meantime, homeowners and builders need a way to deal with water issues—and fast.

Flood Bags from Quick Dam evoke the common image of the sandbag, except for a few important differences—they are not filled with sand, are reusable, and are easily stored. Instead of a heavy sandbag, these bags come flat and are filled with an absorbent polymer powder that, upon contact with water, causes the water to gel and the bag to swell. After flooding has subsided, it can take several weeks for the water in the bags to evaporate, but once they deflate, you can pack them up and store them for future use. The standard flood-bag size is 1 ft. by 2 ft. and can absorb 4 gal. of water. The jumbo size is 1 ft. by 4 ft. and absorbs up to 8 gal. of water.

Stacked flood bags


There are a couple of important caveats: These bags are not compatible with saltwater or chlorine or surfaces with lime or calcium, and may require an additional layer such as a plastic barrier on porous surfaces such as unfinished cement.

Standard Quick Dam flood bags can be purchased in a two-, six-, and 10-pack, or in boxes of 20 or 120. The jumbo size is available in a box of 25. Prices for the flood bags start around $20, and the number of bags needed for your situation can be determined using the online calculator at

Rolled up Quick Dam flood bags

Photos courtesy of the manufacturer

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