Redoing Your Roof? This Is How to Calculate the Size of the Dumpster You’ll Need

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As with all home improvement or repair projects, there are many aspects of the job that must be accounted for. When it comes to roofing, don’t forget to account for how to manage all of the roofing material being removed. A proper waste management plan needs to be incorporated into the project details.

It will be necessary to rent a dumpster to allow for on-site collection, ease of disposal, and eventually, appropriate removal. Companies that offer dumpster rentals are already prepared to support the job site in this way but you’ll need to know in advance which size of the dumpster will be needed.

Dumpster rentals tend to offer a variety of sizes with a specified weight limit. Rent the wrong size or overload the rental and you’ll find that your roofing project just got a little bit more expensive. As repairs go, there are often unforeseen expenses that can throw the budget out of whack. Fortunately, there are some sage recommendations for how to best calculate which size would best fit the debris.

Typical Measurements

One of the first considerations that need to be evaluated is the location of where the receptacle will be placed. It should be easily accessible for disposal of the old, used shingles and materials. But not every project will offer unlimited space for which to set up a dumpster rental. As the project site is surveyed, consider if there will be any limitations affecting the height, width, and length of the container. Commercial dumpsters are measured according to the area and weight they are capable of supporting.

They typically range in size from 10 to 40 cubic yards. On the lower end, the typical height of the walls of the dumpster is 4 feet tall. At the higher range, the walls of the receptacle can be up to 6 feet. This import as heavier materials will be harder to lift over the 6′ wall.

The width of the dumpsters is a standard 8 feet wide. This is true of each of the various capacities. This design proves helpful in that most roll-off dumpsters will be stationed in a driveway. Even a single-lane driveway can support an 8′ wide container with some overhang.

The length of the dumpster is the most noticeable measurement that changes depending on the size of the rented dumpster. The 10 cubic yard dumpster will measure around 10 feet while the largest capacity may reach nearly 25 feet. This could become a limiting factor based on the measurement of available space for positioning.

Calculate Your Waste

Aside from the evaluation of where the dumpster will be stationed for the duration of the project, it’s important to factor out an estimate of how much space and weight the total bulk of the debris will ultimately result in.

The first and most obvious calculation is the surface area of the current roof. Almost certainly, this computation has already been accomplished in the task of determining how much new material will be required to reroof the structure. Take note that the term “square” as it is used in roofing refers to an area equal to 100 square feet of shingles.

However, for a team without experience in roofing projects, it may easy to miss the necessity of factoring the weight of the material that is expected to be removed. This can be tricky. The old shingles can be of a variety of weights depending on how old the shingles are (most typically deteriorate over time), what type of material they are made from (asphalt is most common), and whether the shingles were laid in a single or double layer.

The weight of the off-going materials is important as most rentals will be based on an expected weight that the dumpster will accept. Remember that the entire dumpster will be removed at some point with its contents. If the rented dumpster is overloaded, expect an additional charge.

And now that the square foot of the roof surface has been calculated, the old roof has been determined to either be single or double layered, the weight of the shingles have been evaluated, it’s time to plug all of that data into a calculator to determine the estimated cubic yards of the total debris.

Find An Online Calculator

If the prospect of doing all the calculations seems overwhelming, there are many sites online that offer an estimation by asking for the values of these factors, doing the math, and outputting a recommendation. Keep in mind that the result will be an estimation only.

Pad The Estimate

Once there’s an estimation of how much refuse the demolition of the old roof will produce, consider rounding up to the next size level. It will be more beneficial to the project to go with a dumpster rental that still has left-over, unused space in the dumpster than to finish the project with a packed, hardly contained dumpster. The reality is that the rates between the sizes are typically minimal in proportion to the overall budget.

Many dumpster rental companies offer the option of scheduling a dump mid-project. As estimates are not guarantees, it is wise to look to contract with a company that can offer this option. This will likely come with a charge but it’s still a lesser charge than might be expected if the final pickup is overweight.

Order Your Dumpster

Now that there’s a good, estimated calculation of the size of the dumpster needed for the job, the last step is to find the dumpster rental companies in the area. Again, plan ahead to ensure that the size needed will be available when it’s time to get started. If you’re looking for a Dumpster Rental in San Antonio, this could be a good place to start.


When planning a reroofing job, don’t forget to make a plan for waste management. After all the calculations that have been done to determine the purchase of the new materials, spend some time also calculating the bulk of the debris that will need to be disposed of. Many companies will have staff who can help but the ultimate decision of the dumpster rental will be the one managing the project.

Bella Duckworth

Bella Duckworth

Total posts created: 2152
“Architecture is really about well-being. I think that people want to feel good in a space… On the one hand, it’s about shelter, but it’s also about pleasure.” – Zaha Hadid

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