0808 278 3706



Skip to Content

Protect Your Premises from Flooding this Winter

As the country officially enters autumn, the Met Office released their list of storm names for 2022/23 - but don't panic - there haven't been any storms forecast as yet. A storm is named when it is likely to cause medium or high impact in the UK. The reason the Met Office allocates names to storms is because it boosts awareness with the public to protect themselves and their property. The first storms will be named Antoni, Betty and Cillian this year. So spare a thought for your family and friends with these windy namesakes!

Storms cause devastating damage that can last for months, if not years. Who can forget the damage the UK suffered from Storms Arwen, Eunice, Dudley and Franklin last winter? So far, the UK hasn't seen any major storms, but as Hurricane Fiona ravages eastern Canada and Puerto Rico and Tropical Storm Ian heads to the otherwise sunny state of Florida, now's the time to think about investing in flood defences to protect your home and business from the losses caused by flood damage.


Protecting your business from flooding

It can be quite shocking to see how much water can enter your business premises, even though you may have thought it watertight. With the requirement to provide accessible entrances, most thresholds are now flat, which is great for easy access but not so great for preventing water from flooding during heavy rain or a storm.

This principle also applies to warehouses with roller shutter doors that go up into the roof, making it easier for forklifts, trucks and other machinery to get in and out. However, they are not watertight, and flooding in extreme weather is a significant risk.

In years gone by, all you had to protect your business premises and homes from flooding was traditional sandbags; literally, hessian bags filled with sand and stacked up to form a barrier. The good news is that today there is a much wider choice of flood barriers, many of which are lightweight, easy to manoeuvre and don’t take up much storage space. So, let's review the types of flood barrier solutions available.

traditional sandbags


Sandbags are an effective way of preventing flood water from entering business premises and homes, directing flood water away from air vents, doorways and garages, and creating specific channels away from particular areas.

They are generally made with hessian bags filled with sand which absorb the water, retain it and create a barrier. They can be used like bricks and are a great way to build walls. A particular advantage of sandbags is that they can be dried out and reused. However, they are heavy and take up a lot of storage space.

Temporary flood barriers

Today there are a variety of temporary flood barriers that are effective in holding back flood water. Many of them are manufactured using woven polypropylene, making them lightweight and able to absorb and retain water, giving them the necessary weight to stay in place. Some weigh just 200g, so they can be put in place by just about anybody, although once they’ve absorbed sufficient water, they will weigh around 20kg.

They are filled with a gelling polymer that absorbs water so that when the barrier comes into contact with the flood water, they inflate and expand within seconds to form an effective flood barrier. Like sandbags, they can be stacked to form a wall against flowing water. Here are some examples:

  • Osmo inflating flood defence barriers - these long, flexible flood barriers inflate as they come into contact with and absorb water. When fully inflated, they form a watertight, leakproof barrier against floods. They are designed to be used across doorways, gateways and even warehouse roller shutter doors. They can be curved around corners of other objects and stacked to increase the height of the flood barrier. To store, they are rolled up so they don’t take up much space. Just unroll and put them in place when you want to use them. The Osmo inflating flood defence barrier is made from 50% reclaimed material, which is non-toxic and non-hazardous.
  • Portable expanding sandbags - an alternative to traditional sandbags are these portable expanding sandbags made using a semi-proof inner liner containing a gelling polymer. They absorb water on contact and become taut in around three minutes. The absorbed water adds to the weight of the sandbag, so they form a firm, secure barrier against the flow of flood water. Because they are lightweight and compact, they can be put in place quickly and easily by most people. Once you have finished with them, you can empty the filling; the bag and filling are fully biodegradable.

There are other products available for holding back and redirecting flood water. HydroSacks and HydroSnakes are eco-friendly sand-less sandbags and an excellent replacement for the traditional sandbag. When immersed in water, the pulp filling absorbs the water and crystallises to form a sandbag. They come in joined groups of three bags to either create a wall or row of sandbags as a barrier. They're extremely lightweight when dry - each bag weighs no more than 1kg - and compact in size, so they don't need much storage space and are easy to handle and transport.

Boxwall modular flood barriers are also a good option. These reusable modular units are made from a robust, strong, impact-resistant plastic and slot together to create a tough yet lightweight flood barrier. For warehouses and other business premises with large open access entrances, the Dam Easy Doorway flood barrier is simple, easy to install, and expands to fit your doorway.

As well as flood barriers, there are also products to help divert ceiling leaks should you get caught out in heavy rain or have a plumbing issue, as well as a variety of water pumps that will pump out dirty flood water if necessary.

So, before the storms hit the country, prepare and invest in flood barriers and flood defences to protect your business premises and save you heartache.


With the uncertainty of where or when flooding may strike, it's good to be prepared. Make sure your business has everything it needs with flood defences from ESE Direct. With a wide and diverse range of products and more than 40 years of knowledge and experience in the industry, you can trust ESE Direct.

Photograph of Debs

Author Bio -

Digital marketer, social media, content writer, musician, sloth-lover, tea-drinker.