How Much Does A Yard of Loam Weigh?

In gardening or landscaping project, you will need a lot of loam. You can measure this in cubic yards, but how much does a yard of loam weigh? We looked into this and have the answer and more in this post, so keep on reading!

A cubic yard of loam will weigh anywhere between 2,000 to 2,600 pounds. This is assuming that the soil does not have anything else affecting its weight such as water or debris and that it is not tightly packed.

Now that you know how much a yard of loam weighs, you can look into some of the caveats of this number. There are a few factors that can alter how much loam weighs that you need to note. You may also be wondering what the use of weighing soil is. We go into these in detail, so keep on reading for more!

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How Many Tons Are In A Yard Of Loam?

While a cubic yard of loam typically weighs between 2000 to 2600 pounds, you can convert this number into other units. You might want to do this because large enough amounts of dirt weigh thousands of pounds, so converting to tons can make tracking its weight easier.

For North American units, 2,000 pounds is equivalent to 1 ton. This is also equivalent to 907.18 kg on the metric scale. With this, converting the number measures a yard of loam as between 1 to 1.3 tons.

Fertile loam soil suitable for planting

What Is A Yard Of Loam?

Take note that the definition of the yard needs to be specific when weighing your loam. If you are measuring loam per cubic yard, then 1 to 1.3 tons (or 2,000 to 2,600) is the approximate weight. If you are measuring a yard as your entire yard, then you need to consider the measurement differently.

Consider measuring your loam per cubic foot. You can do this for your entire yard or area that you will be filling with loam. You can get the cubic feet measurement by first computing the volume of dirt you need.

Measure the area in square feet. From here, multiply the area by your desired depth in feet. This results in the number of cubic feet you will be filling up. One cubic foot of loam measures approximately 80 pounds.

You can also convert cubic feet to cubic yards if you want to. To do this, simply divide the number of cubic feet by 27. To summarize this section, here are some examples:

1 cubic yard of loam = 2,000 pounds

1 cubic yard of loam = 1 ton


27 cubic feet of loam = 1 ton

Keep in mind that this is just an example of what your measurements could look like. The weight of the loam will vary from the numbers we laid out here, so you must weigh it properly.

How To Properly Measure Loam

Hands holding a pile of soil above the ground

When you purchase loam, it is usually weighed out for you based on the measurements you request. The important thing for you to keep track of is how to get the most accurate measurement. For example, you can also measure loam through wheelbarrows. 

A standard US construction wheelbarrow can carry 6 cubic feet. This is around 480 pounds. If you are planning to have a cubic yard of loam, then you will need approximately 4 wheelbarrows full of loam.

In general, there is a way for you to make sure you get the right amount of loam for its weight. The first step is to determine which type of loan you are using. Loam is generally a type of fertile soil that contains humus which is good for gardening, but does come in different subtypes.

Loam has different mixtures of soil in it. This means it can range from being sandy, clay, silt, and silty clay. These all have different qualities to them that will affect their weights. We will discuss these differences in the next section.

Factors That Affect The Weight Of Soil

Black land for plant background

As we have established, factors such as the variety of soil will affect its weight. This is because different types of dirt are heavier than others. Another reason is that water retention varies between soils. Water makes a big impact on the weight of your loam, so be mindful of the moisture levels when measuring.

When measuring out loam, it is ideal to do so while it is dry and loose. If it is too moist or compacted, then that will increase its weight. Tightly compacted dirt results in heavier soil per cubic foot.

Of all soils, sandy loam is the lightest. It does not hold water well and dries out quickly in the heat. Loam that is rich in clay is the opposite. Clay is a heavy soil type that clumps and sticks to itself, causing higher compaction. It also holds water, is slow to dry, and is slow to drain.

How Much Does Sandy Loam Weigh Per Yard?

The plowed field. Furrow go to the horizon. The sowing of winter crops

Sandy loam is great for gardening and is more acidic than others. It can have some silt and clay content in it. They have lower nutritional value for gardening, but the biggest pro to using sandy loam is that it offers good drainage.

Despite this, you are still looking at around the same weight between 2,000 and 2600 pounds. If you compact sandy soil a bit more, then the weight per cubic yard can go as high as 2,800 pounds.

Since sandy loam has very small and fine particles compared to others, you may still get the same amount of weight for the same volume. You may even get more soil than otherwise due to sand's low moisture retention.

What Is Topsoil And How Much Does It Weigh?

While loam is garden soil, there is also another type of garden soil for you to consider: topsoil. This is nutrient-rich soil that is placed as the top layer of your garden as sustenance for plant growth. It is notably lighter than loam soil.

One cubic yard of topsoil weighs around more or less 1,080 yards. It is great for leveling, growing, and for garden beds. Unlike loam, topsoil is full of compost and organic matter in addition to soil that is already present.

Why The Weight Of Soil Matters

Weighing soil or knowing the weight of the soil you need is useful for several reasons. Things such as price, landscaping, and potential hazard protection can dictate how much soil you need or have.

Loam can cost anywhere from $8 to $25 per cubic yard. It is recommended to have at least $40 budgeted for at least 5 cubic yards of loam. This amount of loam can cover 500 square feet at 3 inches deep. Of course, it is better to have some padding with your budget in case of price variations.

Knowing the weight of your loam is useful in determining how much coverage it will make. For example, 1 yard of loam covers an area of 160 square feet and is 2 inches deep. The depth increases as the area decreases, so the same amount of loam will cover 80 square feet at 4 inches, and so on.

Finally, it is important to know how much soil weighs to keep construction safe. Excavation workers can be at risk of landslide-related accidents during construction. Meanwhile, some areas or foundations can only handle certain amounts of weight at a time, so you need to stay within its limit.

Soil can erode over time, or add extra weight to constructions. Following soil weight standards is a good safety protocol. 

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Dirt Weight Calculator

If you are having trouble calculating how much soil you need or have, then you can try using a dirt weight calculator. Simply look up "dirt weight calculator" in your online browser and select one. Alternatively, you can use a calculator to punch in your measurements and make the conversations.

When using an online calculator, you have the benefit of getting more specific answers. Some sites let you select the type of soil you will working with. Most sites give you options for inputting the length, width, and depth of the area you are putting soil in.

Not all sites use the same units. Be careful with this, because using measurements as feet will yield wrong results when used in a calculator designed for meters.

Here are some calculators that you can try out:

Soil Calculator from Omni Calculator

Loam Calculator

Material Calculator

Take note that the Material Calculator uses meters. You will have to use a Conversion Calculator first to compute with yards and feet.

Wrapping Things Up

Loam for planting and agricultural tools

A cubic yard of loam ways between 2,000 to 2,600 pounds or 1 to 1.3 tons. This weight varies depending on the type of loam. Loam types like sandy loam are notably lighter, but you also have to note factors such as particle weight and water retention.

Soil weight is measured in cubic feet or cubic yards, so you can check loan rates per unit. For computations with the weight of your loam, you can use an online calculator.

Did you find this post helpful? If you did, check out our other articles before you go!

Should Loam Have Rocks In It?

11 Best Loam-Based Compost Mixes

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