10 answers

Sandbox Help

We recently purchased a playsystem for our children. It includes a wooden sandbox at the base of the playsystem. I bought a tarp to cover it. I should have read up on this before I put the sand it but I was too excited..for the kids. An employee from HomeDepot suggested placing landscaping fabric at the bottom of the sandbox. I didn't think this was necessary but I went ahead and bought it, just bought the cheapest stuff.
2 questions I need help with. 1st, the tarp has holes in it so when it rained recently ( and boy did it rain), the sand was completely soaked. And it has not dried very well. We still have wet sand. Well, it is more damp now. I was reading on the internet that this could cause problems...will it? How can I dry it? The sun hits it for only a little while in the morning. I loved the feeling of the dry sand....and I want to get that feeling back. My kids still love to play in the sand box..but I can tell there is an ick factor.
Also, how can i prevent the sand from getting so wet..considering the tarp has holes in it. We bought probably close to 30 50lb bags for this sandbox ( it is pretty big).

2nd....was there a certain type of fabric that works better? Also, I did not secure the fabric with anything, just kinda layed it on top of the grass in layers then poured the sand on top.

Any help, suggestions would be great. Thanks

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you so much for your help on this everyone!

Featured Answers

Dump out the wet sand, replace it with fresh sand. Get a big piece of plywood and have it cut to fit as a cover. Forget the tarps, they never work, but the wood will!

Enjoy! I love dry sand too!

More Answers

with our sandbox, we just layed down landscape fabric and poured the sand over it, just like you did. Although we went getto and just placed a couple pieces of panelling over it(didn't want cats to get in it)The sand gets a little wet, but the kids still like to play in it. It makes for bettr hills and molds better for tracks for cars and trucks. then they just wash their hand and be done with it when they are through!! I wouldn't worry about it, let them play!!

1 mom found this helpful

Sounds like an awesome sandbox! The 3 beautiful angels here would also love it I'm sure.

Filter fabric is made to keep the plants, etc. from growing into the sand and the sand migrating out. It will also help from digging up dirt in the middle. BUT, it will allow water to flow through, unlike plastic. However, it is usually designed to work in a single layer. If you placed "layers" under the sand, it could be that it isn't allowing it to drain??? Could one layer be removed gradually without having to move the sand out? Perhaps from one corner to the other moving the sand around and onto just one layer as you go??

Also as an aside, sand is a natural filter. It is used as a treatment/cleaning filter for liquid, including water. It allows liquid to "filter" through taking things out as it goes. Slower is better and it's one of the best!

But, if the sand is draining and it's just been sooooo wet out then, well eventually it will dry out and return to the previous dry sand! Try a camping tarp such as what would go under a tent maybe to keep it dry? It is also so humid, etc........ Sorry for your mess :-) Hope some of this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

Well, yes the ladscaping fabric is a must b/c you don't want the grass and weeds growing up through the sand. The best thing you could have done is to remove the grass, then put the fabric down, then the sand. The tarp should protect the sand just fine. The sand will get wet no matter what. But it may be staying wet longer if it is grass it is on and not solid ground (too much moisture). However, the grass will eventually die and your wetness problem should get better. We have a 5'x7' sandbox and it has a wooden cover. It still gets wet when it rains and sometimes the cover is forgotten before the rain and it gets soaked. But it dries quickly. Damp sand makes for better building too!! ;) Best thing is just to keep it uncovered until it dries better. You shouldn't have any problems.

1 mom found this helpful

When you put the plastic underneath, you prevented any water from draining. Therefore, you get a water pool. You would have to bucket any water you can and then let the rest of it dry naturally. It will eventually dry out if it doesn't rain anytime soon. There are pool covers that work ok. But, water will still pool on top if it is not pulled tight enough and you will have to pour off that water to prevent mosquitos, but your sand will stay dry. My kids love to play in wet sand and I'm always having to add water, Ha. But, I hate the pool of water too. Remember, you put clean sand in it, plastic at the bottom. The sand should still be clean unless you've let the water sit and become gross. Either way, the sun should bake all the gross out of it. Or add vinegar to disinfect.

1 mom found this helpful

In order to dry the sand, you will need to take the tarp off. Sunshine for a couple of days should do it. The sand works better if it is a little damp. The landscape cloth was to prevent grass and weeds from growing up into the sandbox. If you or your neighbors have outside cats, you will need to get a more secure top. Cats love a sandbox. CB

1 mom found this helpful

Sorry you are getting hit with this headache. You say in your post that

An employee from HomeDepot suggested placing landscaping fabric at the bottom of the sandbox.

That is indeed a fabric which will allow water to pass through, for drainage, but should keep most grass and weeds from growing from underneath into the sand.

I have had some success with one of those small swimming pools, turned upside down over the sand (cover the sand when finished playing; great for discouraging the cats in the neighborhood!). They are cheap and you only need a small amount of weight, say a can of paint or biggish rock to weigh it down from being blown away in the breeze. Maybe you won't find one of these cheap pools that is big enough.

You will find that a good, water-proof tarp will be too cumbersome. They collect the rain water and lifting the tarp so the water spills out downhill is like lifting a bus! (Remember, on average, a gallon of water weighs 5 pounds!)

It is also hard to tell from your post whether the playsystem is built over the sand box in a way that part of the structure is supported in the sand box. I hope the sand box is unhindered from that.

I guess a large enough pop-up tent would do the job. I have a pop-up tent (8ft by 8ft) which I can set up and pick up (!) to place where I need it to be.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Like the other posters said, wet sand is better for building. My husband built our boys an 8 foot by 8 foot sandbox 5 landscape timbers high. We bought 4 sections of 8 feet long by 2 foot wide plastic lattice from Home Depot. I found that tarps trap the rain and I couldn't prevent the water from rolling from the tarp onto the sand when removing it. Also, wet sand under the tarp grew a green fuzzy layer! Yuck! So the latticework keeps the cats out of it and lets it dry out after a rain. We just lay out the lattice work and it fits perfectly. Good luck!

Dump out the wet sand, replace it with fresh sand. Get a big piece of plywood and have it cut to fit as a cover. Forget the tarps, they never work, but the wood will!

Enjoy! I love dry sand too!

To keep the sand from getting wet, cover the sandbox with a tarp (no holes), and put something tall in the center of the sandbox, under the tarp, so that when it rains, the rain doesn't collect on the tarp. Use bungee cords to pull the tarp tight to cover the sandbox.

Also, you might observe where surrounding water is flowing when it does rain, ie is your sandbox at the bottom of a hill and water collects at the sides and seeps in?

Unfortunately, it is easy to forget to put the cover on. Perhaps some type of cover that is 5ft off the ground?

Have fun!

I own a playground company. I am not sure what you put on the bottom but it should have been fiber felt so it would drain. The tarp needs to have holes in to keep it from molding in our humid weather. Laying the fabric just on the grass was ok too. But if you put the plastic kind you just made a pool that will not dry.

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