Need to estimate dirt requirements for yard project

Discussion in 'The VIP Lounge' started by Andrew Beacom, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. Andrew Beacom

    Andrew Beacom New Member

    Yes dirt. I have some settlement issues that have developed slowly enough for it to be my issue and not my builders. I think from my estimates so far I only need 1 or 2 cubic yards. When I called around locally most people want to sell it by the truck full and 1 place wanted $75 for a ton.

    They reckoned a ton was close to a cubic yard. My builder said the same thing although looking online tends to indicate its closer to 3.75.

    The project I have in mind involves removing sod raising the grade of the dirt and then putting the sod back.

    Anyone have any experience with anything like this? I obviously don't want to under estimate my needs but I don't want to come home to a ton of dirt in my driveway and wonder WTF I am going to do with it all.

  2. Ron-P

    Ron-P Well-Known Member

    What the size of the area HxWxL? Dirt weights roughly 2,700 lbs per CY. One ton is 2000 lbs.

    (HxWxL)/27 = CY (2,700)/2000 = tons of dirt.

    For example; if you area was 10' x 10' x 6" deep...

    10x10x.50 / 27 = 1.85 CY's
    1.85 (2700) = 4,995 lbs.
    4,995 / 2000 = 2.49 tons
  3. Michael

    Michael Junior Geek

    Tough to say.

    When I purchased dirt/soil it is always by the yard (and not by weight).
  4. Max Yokell

    Max Yokell Well-Known Member War Zone Member Top Poster

    Well the problem with talking a ton of dirt and cubic measurment is that you also need to know at what state of compaction.

    A ton of dirt in different states of compaction could take up vastly different amounts of space.

    Now with what you are doing you will likely not start out with very good compaction but over time with rain storms and what not it will improve and become more compacted. So you want to think more then you need at first and soak it and see how much tighter it gets.

    I don't do earth work but I had to study all this when I took my General Contractors test but sorry that was nearly 4 years ago and if you don't use it you lose it.

  5. In my mind the biggest factor would be the amount of water that the soil is holding. Due to this, I would never purchase by weight. I'd measure the volume square footage and divide by 27 to get the total soil required. Mulltiply that by 25% to compensate for settling.

    Then phone around to folks who sell it by the yard and do it that way. Usually dirt is only sold by the ton in large operations, for commercial puposes (like your builder did). There has got to be a smaller operation that will sell by the yard.

    Buy the best soil you can afford. There is a direct relationship between the quality of the lawn in the long term to the type of soil you buy. For small jobs I mix my own. For large jobs I give my supplier a recipe if for lawn and buy fish compost for garden.
  6. Jason Lorette

    Jason Lorette Active Member

    ...keep in mind too... 3 tonnes of something sounds like a lot...but when you are talking earth, gravel, typically isn't. Have your calculations right...(for example I ordered 3 tonnes of 1/4" - 1.5" gravel for a showed up in a dump truck...I thought holy shit!...what came out was about half the size of my Civic Hatchback, which was what I expected)

    There are a total of 9 square feet in a square yard...but when talking soil you are talking cubic yards as others have stated.

    The calculations I used:

    There are 27 cubic feet in a cubic yard. So, if you would like to convert cubic feet into cubic yards, which is used for such things as dirt, gravel and concrete, just divide the number of cubic feet by 27 to arrive at the number of cubic yards. For example, if you have a form that is 2' wide, 10' long, and 1 1/2' high, first figure the cubic feet, then convert to cubic yards: (2' x 10' x 1.5' = 30 cubic feet / 27 = 1.11 cubic yards).

    Always order a 'little' more than will always need more. (Spillage, settling, etc)

  7. cjd

    cjd New Member

    One thing: Don't bother tearing up the old sod IMHO. Pile over it and lay new (or just seed). Unless you plan to re-use and it's that much less expensive. (I tend to direct seed vs sod)

  8. Andrew Beacom

    Andrew Beacom New Member

    The 2 areas I need to raise are approx:

    1. Front Yard: 16x7x4". 1.38 CY
    2. Back Yard: 10x4x6". 0.75 CY

    So it looks like I will need 2 CY's. Whats funny is that I talked to my builder and he said that a ton was close to a CY and thats what the places that sells by weight told me. A couple of online calculators I found indicated otherwise. As noted above the density is obviously the big variable here. I really need to buy in CY and not by weight.


    I am planning on putting the sod I take up straight back down. From the research I have done I don't think seeding over the top of the existing sod is a good idea and seeding after removing may look iffy even when the seed has grown. I don't want to bust out the sod and put it all back since thats a lot of work but I don't want my yard to have a big bare patch or a section that looks different.
  9. Jason Lorette

    Jason Lorette Active Member

    Trust me...get a little'll need it...

  10. Bent

    Bent Active Member War Zone Member

    Soil or "earth" is approx 1500 - 1800 pounds when dry, possibly 2200 - 2400 when wet.

    crushed gravel (road gravel) is close to 3000 pounds/yard and sand is an honest 3000 pounds per yard or even more - it all has to do with air space between the product.

    A typical legally loaded tandem dump truck (10 wheels in total) can carry 10 yards of gravel or sand (28 000 pounds), and a legally loaded 18 wheel dump truck (tractor/trailer combo) is good for about 18 yards of gravel or sand (50000 pounds)

    Earth, dirt or topsoil can usually be "cubed-out", rather than "grossed-out" on most trucks, meaning they can pile on as much as their boxes will allow without fear of overload tickets.

    A real good sized wheelbarrow will hold about 7 ft^3, or four heaped big wheel barrows full will be a cubic yard - but note above, 1 yard of gravel is approx 3000 pounds - can you lift 700 - 750 pounds of anything in a wheelbarrow?

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