some thoughts from Dozer
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Fill Dirt

image dsc20378.jpgMy wife noticed some fill dirt going in around here and enquired of the driver. We need to bring up the level of the back attached plot about 20 cm. Dirt is a hot commodity around here. You’ll notice some large land plots where the owners have just had all the dirt dug out and sold, leaving a big pit in the ground. Top grade fill dirt is expensive at about 1200 baht for a 10 wheeler truckload. On this dirt is turned out to be a special ‘under the table’ type deal. Top soil (or naa din) for only 300 per 6 wheeler truckload (or about 1/2 price). The dirt was from the digging out of another construction site and does have some broken up chucks of construction material (cement or red brick) mixed in, but not enough to make it undesirable. In any event, it passed the test of the village ladies…. who came and proclaimed it to be ‘very very good’ dirt (they take these kind of things seriously here — kind of like how we Europeans would evaluate a fine wine)!

There are three basic grades of fill dirt. The cheapest is dug from far under the ground and is either a green or whitish green shade. It runs 600 to 700 per 10 wheeler. The best grade will look like what you would think top soil should look like, kind of a coffee shade. The middle grade would be somewhere in between these. The lower grade gets kind of slimy when exposed to water, is not good for planting things — it generally should be used for under the house or other hidden applications. During rains the green stuff gets slimy and muddy and then dries hard like stone.

These shots (just examples from around the area) show the comparison between the cheapest and the best grades.

image dsc20404.jpgThe first shot shows a top quality fill dirt. image dsc20428.jpgThe second shot is a close up of this example top fill dirt. image dsc20405.jpgThe third shot highlights the difference between the green dirt and the top quality dirt as they are seen side by side.

image dsc20429.jpgThis is the close-up of lower quality fill.

Back to my project, which involves 1 gnan (100 sq wah or 400 sq meters) of land behind the coolthaihouse. Dirt can end up being expensive. Finding this special deal was good luck.

image dsc20375.jpgThere is a tight entry and exit down through the end of the road here, which could not be negotiated by a 10 wheeler.

image dsc20390.jpgThe 6 wheeler dumping a load.

image dsc20377.jpgThe first load.

image dsc20425.jpgimage dsc20427.jpgWow. 38 loads later it is ready to have the tractor smooth it.

image dsc20430.jpgHere is a close up of this particular bouquet of fine top soil fill dirt. Even though it has a little construction debris mixed in I am pleased as punch.

Normally I would have the perimeter wall built before bringing in the dirt. The wall acts as a retaining wall and keeps the dirt in. In this case we went slightly out of sequence since we found the good deal on the dirt. That’s why we had the dirt dumped about a meter from the surrounding land borders.

Minibacklot project. Coming up next: building the perimeter wall. Leveling the dirt.

Things to remember –> stay away from using the cheapest fill dirt unless it will remain hidden well underground (as in a first level fill).

Money spent on fill dirt is money well spent –> remember the too low house?continuing road story


  1. Hi Guys

    You can try your own experiment on dirt. Just get a small buckfull, discarding large lumps of stone etc (a course seive will do (but note the approx quantity – weigh it, dirt is aroun 2 onnes per m3 semi dry)

    Mix a stand small bucket with water to make a slurry, Stire it around slowly for 10 mins or so, then leave it to lettle for 24hours (if you have a glass or clear plastic vessel to do this, so much the better)

    What you will see is the percentage of sand versus that of mud separating out. The more sand, the better quality earth and the less slimy it becomes when wet. Try your own experiments, varying the quanitity of sand vs mud and publish your opinions here

    What you definitely dont want is the slimy stuff used to make up a road – useless. The slimy stuff can be used to make a house infill, where it will not be exposed to undue wetting. It goes very hard when dry

    have fun

    Robin T

  2. That was the start of my build, 21 6wheel truck loads at 200b a load, plus 1000b for a tractor to level and spread it.

    All in 5200b, aprox 15m X 30M build site, 1M thick

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