Differences Dirt, Topsoil, Loam

Differences Dirt, Topsoil, Loam

What's so different about Dirt?
(Topsoil - Soil / Dirt Overview)

Every day at Select Sand and Gravel we provide different types of soil to customers for different applications.  We strive to provide the correct material to the homeowner or professional contractor so that the delivered soil material makes the residential project or commercial jobsite work as easy as possible.  Without the proper information it can be difficult to get the desired result.  In striving to assist our customers with product selection this article is written to provide the average homeowner or contractor with a better understanding of the differences in soil.

All soil is composed of Sand, Silt and Clay.  These designations are simply an expression of the size of the soil particles of which they are comprised.  Sand is the largest soil particle which is typically composed of silca and quartz.  The next size soil particle is silt and the smallest size is clay.   All of the soil that we deliver from Select Sand and Gravel to our customers are some combination of sand, silt and clay.  The higher the sand Content in a particular soil the more gritty that it feels and the more easily water will pass through it.  The smoother and more slimy a soil feels especially when wet the higher the clay content.


When we sell specific soils to customers for certain applications we want to provide a material that is the correct combination of sand, silt and clay so that it has the desired effect for the project.

For instance if a homeowner needs soil for their front yard to grow grass but the existing soil has a high clay content we would not want to send a screened topsoil that has a high clay content.  We would want to send a screened sandy loam that has a higher sand content to promote water drainage in the soil and thus grass health.  Likewise in the instance where a commercial contractor is trying to build a PAD site for a foundation we would not want to send this customer sand.  In so doing we would be sending the contractor a material that would not compact.  We would want to send the contractor a select fill dirt that has a higher clay content more suited for the job.

We at Select Sand and Gravel hope this article has been useful in the soil determination process.  If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to call us or see the following article for more detailed information.  Thank you for choosing "Select":  Select Sand & Gravel, When Delivery Matters!

Additional Information from Colorado State University -  Estimating Soil Texture:  Sand, Silt or Clay?