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Buying Dirt: How Much Does A Cubic Yard Of Dirt Weigh?

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Buying Dirt: How Much Does A Cubic Yard Of Dirt Weigh?

Whenever you are gardening, landscaping or doing construction projects in your residence, there is a possibility that you will need to buy dirt. Therefore, you will need to know the answer to, “how much does a cubic yard of dirt weigh?”

Defining Cubic Yard

A cubic yard of dirt is one yard (3 feet) long, wide, and high. One cubic yard contains 27 cubic feet.

Now, before you think about measuring dirt using yardstick, remember that it will compress down if wet and fluff up if dry.

Types of Dirt

Depending on how you intend to use the dirt, you can either purchase topsoil or fill dirt.

Fill dirt is usually used for construction purpose. You can use it around foundations and structures (such as pools foundations) because it contains less organic matter and is dryer.

Topsoil contains lots of nutrients. That means that you should use it for landscaping and gardening projects.

Mostly, fill dirt is the one commonly referred to a cubic yard of dirt since people don’t buy huge quantities of topsoil.

What Factors Affect a Cubic Yard of Dirt Weight?

One cubic yard of dirt will weigh less or more from another depending on whether it’s made of topsoil or fill dirt. The two are quite different when it comes to their composition and have different moisture content.

Fill dirt is usually lighter and dryer than topsoil since it is harvested deeper into the surface.

Another factor that influences the weight of a cubic yard of dirt is the composition. Dirt made of clay is usually heavier than that made of sand.

The reason for this is that clay holds a lot of water when compared to sand. Both water content and composition of the dirt will impact its weight.

Average Weight of a Cubic Yard of Dirt

A cubic yard of dry fill dirt will weigh around 2,000 pounds. If it contains gravel, stone, and sand, the weight can rise to over 3,000 pounds.

In general, a pure cubic yard of fill dirt will weigh somewhere between 2,000 to 2,700 pounds depending on moisture content and composition.

When it comes to a pure cubic yard of topsoil dirt, it will weigh around 1,080 pounds. However, topsoil is usually full of other material and can weigh between 2,600-3,000 pounds.

When it is wet, topsoil can weigh over 3,000 pounds per cubic yard.

Hauling a Cubic Yard of Dirt

There are different types of wheelbarrows and they often come in different sizes and shapes. With that said, a medium sized (3’) wheelbarrow will take about 9 loads to fill a cubic yard of dirt.

You can also haul your dirt using a trailer or truck, as long as it can handle the dirt. Hence, you need to determine your car’s hauling capacity and how it behaves when it’s loaded to capacity.

If you load your car to capacity and drive on highways, keep the speed up to 45 mph.

  • Full-size pickup trucks – often handle 1 cubic yard of gravel and stone, 2-3 cubic yards of mulch, or 2 cubic yards of dirt.
  • Small trailers and pickups – usually handle 1.5 cubic yards of mulch or 1 cubic yard of dirt.
  • Dump trucks – can handle up to 5 cubic yards of dirt or over 10 cubic yards of dirt if it’s bigger.


A cubic yard of dirt will weigh anything from 1,080 to 3,000 pounds, depending on the type of dirt you choose, moisture content, and composition.

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