So, you’ve decided to undertake a project for your property. This almost always requires a lot of dirt to complete the job. Some jobs may require a small amount of dirt, but there’s a good chance you’re going to need quite a bit if the project is even moderately sized. In fact, you may even need a truckload. But how much is a truckload, anyway?
How Much is a Truckload of Dirt?
The answer to that question can vary, depending on the truck, but there is an average amount you can rely on. Before determining if you actually need a truckload of dirt for your project, it’s best to know what type of dirt you need and how much your project will require in the first place.
What Type of Dirt Do I Need?
Dirt is categorized into two different types: fill dirt and topsoil. Both are different in composition and both have very different uses.
Fill dirt is found at about a depth of 12” below the soil’s surface. This dirt is often dry, hard, and contains rocks and other types of sediment. It resists breakdown due to its contents, making it the best dirt to use when grading a property’s soil, evening out a surface before construction, building ditches, or providing a base to driveways and sidewalks.
Fill dirt can be obtained by the truckload if needed, and it is not recommended for planting any kind of vegetation in. The lack of nutrients and rocky texture is not ideal for fostering healthy plant growth.
Topsoil is the dirt found on the top of fill dirt, at a depth of anywhere from 4 to 12” from the surface. This moist soil is high in nutrient content and contains very little sediment, if any. These nutrients can cause gas buildup and air pockets that eventually collapse, making it unsuitable for any kind of construction.
Topsoil is better off being utilized for flower beds, gardens, and anywhere else you’d like to see vegetation have healthy and sustained growth.
Calculating Dirt Amounts
Determining dirt amounts needed is done differently from other common construction materials. Here’s how to do so:
Dirt is measured in cubic feet and cubic yards. 1 cubic foot equals 12 inches x 12 inches x 12 inches, while 1 cubic yard equals 27 cubic feet. Need a visual? Picture an empty cube that has sides of 1 yard. Fill that empty cube up with dirt, and you have a perfectly-packaged cubic yard of dirt.
Measuring out the dirt amount beforehand can be done in two different ways:
This is how you would determine how much topsoil you would need for a flower bed that’s 6” deep and 12’ long by 12’ wide:
- Convert the dimension in inches to feet (6” ÷ 12” = 0.5’)
- Multiply the three dimensions together to find the number of cubic feet (0.5’ x 12’ x 12 = 72 cubic feet)
- Divide the cubic feet by the number of cubic feet in a cubic yard (27) to find the number of cubic yards (72 ÷ 27 = 2.67 cu. yd.).
Therefore, you would need 2.67 cubic yards of dirt to fill the flower bed.
Here’s a different calculation for the same amount. This involves converting all three dimensions to yards:
- Convert the dimension in inches to yards (6” ÷ 36” = 0.167 yards)
- Convert the dimensions in feet to yards (12’ ÷ 3 = 4 yards)
- Multiply the three dimensions together to find the number of cubic yards (0.167 x 4 x 4 = 2.67 cu. yd.)
If you’d rather rely on a calculator, there are plenty available online that can spare you the time this all takes.
How Much is a Truckload?
Dirt is most often hauled by dump truck, so it depends on the truck as far as the amount goes.
The average commercial dump truck can haul anywhere from 10 to 14 cubic yards of dirt. The actual price of the dirt can vary depending on the type.
Now, a truckload of dirt is a lot of dirt, so you would only need that much dirt for certain projects. Some of these projects can include leveling your yard around a property, construction of inground installations such as a swimming pool, creating new paths or building new driveways, sidewalks, and walking trails, or creating raised flower beds.
Need a Truckload of Dirt? Contact Dirt Connections Today!
At Dirt Connections, we have all of the resources required to deliver affordable fill dirt anywhere around the Washington D.C. area, regardless of your project size. Give us a call, or contact us today to discuss your specific project needs, or to set up a free inspection for your free dirt delivery directly to your project site.