It only takes an inch of flood water to do a massive amount of damage to your home. Unfortunately, laying sandbags around your entire house usually isn’t a feasible option because of how much time and work it takes.

However, you can still protect your home with these DIY flood barriers.

Also read:

DIY Flood Barriers for Doors

You can prevent flood water from getting in through your doors with a DIY barrier made from plastic sheeting and sandbags. 

DIY flood barrier for door
how to lay sandbags in front of door


  1. Tape plastic sheeting to your doorway. It should be long enough to extend approximately 2 feet in front of the door. Alternatively, you can use a piece of plywood.
  2. Stack sandbags over the plastic sheeting. 
    1. Only fill the sandbags ½ full, and don’t tie them closed so the sand can move around in the bags.
    1. Lay the sandbags so they overlap each other.
  3. Ensure at least one access point in/out of your home.
    1. To allow access with doors that open outwards, set plastic sheeting flat in front of the doorway and create a rounded sandbag wall on top of the sheeting.

The image below shows an INEFFECTIVE flood barrier. There is no plastic sheeting or plywood to block the water. The sandbags are also laid incorrectly, so water will easily flow through them.

ineffective diy flood barrier for home

DIY Flood Barriers for the Exterior of the Home

Do NOT wrap the entire exterior of your home in plastic sheeting. If water gets trapped under the sheeting, it can make the flood damage worse. 

Instead, if you want to protect the exterior of your home with a flood barrier, you’ll need to dig a trench and use piping to ensure water can flow away from it. 

Note: This takes a lot of time and might not be a realistic option if you have to evacuate quickly.

diy plastic sheeting flood barrier for home exterior


  1. Dig a trench parallel to your home, approx. 2 feet away from the walls.
  2. Drill holes in 4” PVC pipes. Connect pieces and set them along the walls. 
  3. Hang plastic sheeting down from the wall so it goes over the pipe and trench.
  4. Nail wood boards over the sheeting to hold it in place.
  5. Put sand in the trench so it is on top of the plastic sheeting.
  6. Anchor the sheeting down with sandbags.

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