How to Order Fill Dirt in Texas

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How to Order Fill Dirt in Texas


January 30, 2023


Table of Contents

1. What Is Fill Dirt?

2. Why Fill Dirt Is Great for Rainy Areas

3. Fill Dirt Alternatives

4. Cost of Fill Dirt Compared to Alternatives

5. How to Order Fill Dirt in Texas

What Is Fill Dirt?

Fill dirt is a generic term used to describe materials that consist of some combination of clay and sand. Fill dirt occurs naturally and, while it is possible to manufacture, it is typically abundant and significantly less expensive to naturally mine.

Select fill and common fill have the same basic composition: clay and sand. The materials are both mined naturally and do not require further processing by the quarry. While both materials are used in building projects, Select Fill is held to a higher standard and the name indicates that the material will pass the material testing standards set by the local and state governments.

There are two primary types of Fill Dirt: Select Fill and Common Fill. The materials are similar in composition and both occur naturally. The key difference between Select Fill and Common Fill is the ratio of Sand and Clay in the product, with Select Fill implying that the fill material will pass state specifications for composition. While common fill can consist of any combination of clay and sand material, select fill will conform to a specific ratio set by the local authority and will be a higher quality dirt as a result.

Why Fill Dirt Is Great for Rainy Areas

Select and Common Fill are excellent at compacting and providing stability for a multitude of projects that anticipate rain and water. These materials are used as a base layer to provide stability to buildings, homes, and other residential and commercial projects. Due to the materials dense nature, it is perfect for leveling or elevating the ground. Generally, select fill is used beneath the concrete foundations of buildings or for smaller projects like filling in swimming pools. Common fill, however, is a cost effective way to landscape large areas that are not being prepped for building. In both cases, using the materials to fill in areas is an efficient way to ensure an area stays strong for many years to come.

Fill Dirt Alternatives

Since there are so many types of fill dirt, it’s relatively simple to find an option that works best for you. The following is a list of materials that can be used as alternatives to select and common fill.

1. Topsoil

Topsoil is a mix of compost and sand that helps things grow. It is used for the top layer of dirt or soil, so it would usually be placed above another type of fill dirt which must be put down first as a foundation. However, in some cases, topsoil can be used on its own, though a layer of fertilizer is recommended on top.

2. Compost

Compost itself is actually a type of fill dirt. Once natural materials such as food scraps have fully decomposed, they turn into dirt and can be used to nourish the earth or patch up holes on the lawn. Plus, compost can be completely free—you can start your own compost heap right in your backyard.

3. Rock Fill Dirt

Rock fill dirt contains more stones and rocks than common fill, so it’s especially good for filling in large holes which don’t need to grow grass or plants. 

4. Septic Fill Dirt

A great option for moist areas, septic fill dirt is impervious to water and will protect the ground around it. As such, it is often placed around septic tanks.

5. Red Fill Dirt

Red Fill dirt is a term that can be used to describe both common and select fill found in Central Texas. The name originates from the materials distinctive red coloring, which is a result of the heavy clay content in the material. 

Cost of Fill Dirt Compared to Alternatives

Fill dirt is varied and can be found in abundance, likely very close to your project. As such, the material is often among the cheapest that can be purchased. The cost of dirt is determined by the quality of material as well as the quantity that needs to be provided. To estimate how much fill dirt is needed for your project, calculate the volume of your project by multiplying the depth, length, and width of the area that you'd like to fill. It is important that you choose the correct material for your intended use and it is not recommended that substitutes be used in an effort to save costs. Using improper select fill can lead to many problems down the road, including foundation shifting.

How to Order Fill Dirt in Texas

The hardest parts of ordering fill dirt are finding a reputable supplier and a trucking company to deliver the material. The material is abundant and relatively cheap, making it accessible to all sizes of construction and landscaping projects. The professionals at Twisted Nail have the know-how and experience to ensure you are paired with the appropriate material and receive your delivery in a timely manner. Whether you're looking for a small amount for a residential project or a few thousand tons for industrial or commercial projects, we've got you and your team covered. We will guide you through the decision making and ordering process, ensuring that your fill dirt arrives on time and at the location of your choosing. 

Contact Twisted Nail for Fill Dirt in Texas Today!


An end dumps carry weight depends heavily on the specific road regulations, the power unit weight, and the composition of the trailer. A steel trailer, typically referred to as a Round Bottom, will be heavier and will have a payload of approximately 21 to 23 tons. By contrast, an aluminum end dump is much lighter and can carry anywhere from 23-28 tons, with some set-ups being able to approach 30-ton payloads. 

End dumps are typically loaded by heavy machinery, such as a front-end loader or excavator, or by a series of conveyor belts. End dumps are top load trailers. An owner-operator with an end dump trailer will uncover the trailer via an electric tarp switch in the cab. With the trailer uncovered, the heavy machinery is free to load from the top of the trailer, being careful to evenly distribute the material. Once loaded, the owner-operator flips the tarp switch, covers the load, and continues their run.  

There are several different types of hydraulic lifts that are usually part of dump trailers. These include telescopic, dual-piston, and scissor lifts, among others. Most dump trailers use hydraulics to automatically lift the dump box and unload the materials in a quick, seamless action.

An end dump is an excellent investment for owner operators or construction companies that transport bulk aggregate on a frequent basis. Depending on your needs, a steel or aluminum end dump will ensure that you are able to reliable keep your customers jobsites and stockpiles full. 

Depending on market timing, a typical aluminum end dump will range between $15,000 to $70,000+, with steel round bottoms priced around $10,000-$50,000+. These trailers are also offered for rent or lease, with trailers available for around $850-$2,000 per month. When renting or leasing, it is typical for all repairs to be the responsibility of the renting owner operator. 


Flex base can be an excellent choice for a driveway but is not often used as a primary input in TXDOT construction. Flex base is best suited for farm roads, driveways, RV pads, and for other foundations that will not receive heavy traffic. Flex base is cheaper than most alternative options, such as asphalt or base that meets TXDOT specifications. Additionally, once set and compacted, a flex base road or driveway is cheaper and easier to maintain.

Yes, road base and flex base are the same material family. That said, the differentiating factor is typically the testing results of each material. When shopping for material, it is important to identify exactly what type of material you are buying. Retailers will categorize Base as a broad category and can leave identification to consumers, which is challenging and confusing. In general, if a retailer is selling a Road Base it can be assumed that the material is of higher construction quality than flex base, meaning it will have a wider range of approved uses. However, some vendors will sell Flex Base as a Road Base; this makes it important to understand if the material you are purchasing is a true Flex Base, is ‘Spec 247’, or is TXDOT approved. With each increase in quality comes an increase in cost, so it is important to identify which material will best suit the needs of your project.

Flex Base is a mixture of loose aggregate and coarse aggregate, can be a wide range of color based on source location, and is composed of materials ranging from dirt to rock that are 1”-3” in size. Most Flex Base, particularly around Central Texas, will range from tan to brown, will consist of a dirt material and rocks that range from 1” to 2” in diameter. There are specialty materials that will include rocks up to 3” in size, but these are typically reserved for heavy construction projects.

Any driveway’s depth should be at least 5” to ensure structural integrity and better load capacity. For road base in particular, experts recommend a thickness of 6-8”.

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