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Episode 2: Dirt & Concrete: Part 1 – DIRT

Contrary to popular belief, all dirt is not created equal!

Here at Delmarva Buildings, we like to simplify things in order to be able to clearly explain construction terms and processes.  Although these terms are not used by the industry, we like to classify the types of dirt we deal with regularly on job sites into two, easy-to-remember categories: “Dirty Dirt”, and “Clean Dirt”.

Topsoil is the stuff that you typically see when you look at your yard, i.e.: grass, weeds, etc. What we do is we take off 4-6 inches of that stuff and we move it out of the way and into a pile on your property. That’s the “Dirty Dirt”- that stuff can’t come back to your building. It might not look nice over in a big pile, but it’s not going to look nice if we bring it back to your building either, nor will it get the job done. We don’t need it because it’s “Dirty Dirt”. What you do with that stuff is up to you, because that dirt belongs to you. It is possible for this pile to be spread out around your new building (which we can help you with if you request it from us), and you’ll need to rake the dirt around to break up clumps and take care of it and your yard. But again, that dirt isn’t coming back to the footprint of your building.

“Dirty Dirt” is yours to keep, we bring in the “Clean Dirt”.

The correct, industry used term for “Clean Dirt” is “Fill Dirt” or “Select Fill” which is sandy clay mixed with stone. It can be defined as “a very compactible surface to pour concrete on”. This is why we call topsoil “Dirty Dirt” because the “Clean Dirt” is a very specific kind of dirt. If you’re getting concrete for your building, you’re going to need to fill dirt no matter what. You can buy fill dirt from us, or you can buy it elsewhere. We recommend you buy it from us because we can guarantee that it will be the right mix of dirt.

How much fill dirt will you need? Well, that depends on how much of a slope your property has. We determine that a little later in the process. One of our folks will come out and bring this machine– it’s called a transit– which determines the elevation so we can know exactly how much we’ll need in order to level your property.

There’s a term we use here at Delmarva called “Concrete Prep” which is just how it sounds; we prep the ground on the footprint of your building for concrete. This is a pretty detailed process, so to avoid boring you, we’ll sum it up like this: The masons pack the fill dirt down, put a tarp down, and put stakes in the ground to ensure that the concrete is level when poured. Once this is done, your building is ready for concrete.

Learn More:
Site Prep and Land Clearing

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