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hands holding fill dirt versus topsoil

The Difference Between Fill Dirt and Topsoil

hands holding fill dirt versus topsoilShould you use dirt or topsoil for your project? Although we don’t often think about uses of dirt it’s important to decide what’s best for your purpose. You may think of dirt in relation to farmers who grow our crops, or dirt that’s used to construct buildings and roads. There are different reasons to use dirt vs topsoil and it’s essential that you are using the correct type for your project.

Different Types of Dirt

Dirt is not just dirt, the type of dirt you choose for your project actually does matter. The reason top soil is sold separately from fill dirt is they provide totally different functions and uses. You probably wouldn’t think of using top soil to build your home, nor would you select fill dirt to grow your vegetables in your garden. Each project requires different results from different types of dirt. If you don’t research what type of fill dirt or topsoil is required for your project, your end result may be disappointing. This may mean spending additional time and money to revise your finished job.

What is Fill Dirt?

Fill dirt consists of a mixture of broken down rocks, sand and clay. It contains little fertility for plants to grow, or any organic matter. There are still many reasons you would want to select fill dirt for your project. Topsoil contains organic matter and is likely to shift or settle over time. If you are looking for filler then fill dirt will provide a more stable material.

Shopping For Fill Dirt

When shopping for fill dirt, check for a company that offers clean fill dirt and meets local standards and regulations. Look to be sure there are no large chunks of dirt or debris that can hinder the dirt’s function. Most fill dirt is cleaned to be sure no toxins, chemicals or other byproducts are present.

What is Topsoil?

Topsoil is very different from fill dirt. It consists of healthy nutrients taken from the top layer of soil and contains organic matter. We typically use topsoil to grow our plants and vegetables in our gardens and pots. Talk to your distributor about the correct topsoil for your specific project. Topsoil is usually darker in color and contains a mixture of organic matter. If you have questions about the content of the soil, check with your supplier before purchasing.

Take Samples to Your Potential Suppliers

You may need to bring a sample of your dirt to your supplier if your property consists of sandy or clay soil. Your supplier can offer you advice regarding the correct topsoil for your land.

Accurate Handling

Topsoil needs to be screened to be sure all large chunks, rocks, sticks, clumps, roots or any other debris has been removed from the dirt. Anything remaining in the dirt could jeopardize the purity of the dirt.

Uses for Fill Dirt

  • Foundation – Fill dirt is used during construction to create a save foundation for homes or any area that requires stability and will not move or shift. Roads and driveways are usually constructed using fill dirt as a foundation for durability.

Uses for Topsoil

  • For Those Low Points – Take look at your yard, you probably have several low spots that are difficult to mow, or low spots that flood during rain or snow. These low spots often distort the look of your lawn. Topsoil is often used to fill in the low areas to allow new grass growth and less low dips, to create a smother landscape in your yard.
  • Shaping Landscapes – You may want to add volume to your yard by adding numerous levels of terrain. Topsoil is typically used to build these areas up. Some homeowners want to simply fill in some holes and simply lay sod or plant grass seed.
  • Growing Your Garden / Lawn – The most common use of topsoil is gardening. Plants require dirt that contains nutrients and balance to achieve their best growth.
  • Good Drainage – Topsoil can be added to your yard or property that tends to maintain water. Adding topsoil to these areas can help with those drainage problems.

Remember, fill dirt is normally used to add stability to your yard or project. Topsoil adds nutrients to the dirt and is typically used for gardens and plant/grass growth. Both types of dirt are necessary but each is used for different reasons. 

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Topsoil and gravel delivered to you by Bray Trucking, a specialized aggregate hauler servicing the Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana region.

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