What Size Dumpster Do You Need for Roofing?

If you’re doing a roof replacement, you’re going to generate a lot of trash. The easiest, safest, and most responsible way of managing it is a roll-off dumpster rental.

When you rent a roll-off dumpster, the company takes care of delivery and pickup for you, and all the disposal costs are built into the fee you pay. All you have to do is fill the dumpster with your debris by the specified pick-up date of your choosing. Many dumpster rentals have side doors that provide walk-in access, making disposal even easier!

So possibly the most challenging part of renting a dumpster for your roofing job is deciding what size you need. Roofing shingles tend to be flat or otherwise low-profile, so having room for them isn’t the primary concern. Instead, the main consideration is weight.

Dumpsters are rated not just for volume but for their load capacity, and regulations bar people from filling them beyond their weight limits. Violations can result in heavy fines that the companies will pass on to the renters.

It’s important, then, to be able to estimate the weight of the roofing debris you’re going to be placing in the dumpster. You don’t want to exceed weight limits, but you also don’t want to pay for more dumpster space than you need.

To figure this out, there are a few different things to understand.

Home Dumpster Image

Roofing Materials and Weight

The most common roofing material is the asphalt shingle, which most commonly comes in what’s known as 3-tab type shingles and architectural shingles. 3-tab shingles are the more common and traditional of the two and weigh less. For comparison, a bundle (typically 21 shingling pieces) of 3-tab shingles weighs 45-60 pounds, whereas a bundle of architectural shingles weighs 60-80 pounds.
Clay slates and concrete tiles are also popular roofing choices, and they weigh more than asphalt shingles do.

Roof Size

One of the easiest ways to estimate the dumpster size needed for a roofing job is to know the size of the roof.

In roofing, the standard measurement unit is the “square.” This is not the area in square feet. Instead, it refers to an area that is 100 square feet. So, if a roof measures 40 feet by 50 feet (just to keep it simple), the area is 2000 square feet, which in roofing is 20 squares.
A square of 3-tab asphalt shingles weighs between 150 and 240 pounds. Quite frequently, a roof has multiple layers of shingles, which multiplies the weight per square.

When tiles consist of heavier materials, a square can weigh 400 pounds or more.

Other Materials Affecting Weight

Shingles aren’t the only thing you want to consider when calculating your waste output. You also have to consider nails, underlayment, felt paper that contains asphalt debris, and a variety of other materials. So don’t make the mistake of estimating weight just based on the shingles. If you do, you might wind up with a bin that isn’t up to the job, which will cost you more money in the long run.

A Basic Guide to Dumpster Size

If all of that sounds like a bit much to account for, it might help to have a basic guide correlating roof size and weight.

  • 10 squares: 3750-6000 pounds
  • 15 squares: 4000-6000 pounds
  • 20 squares: 5000-8000 pounds
  • 25 squares: 6250-10,000 pounds
  • 30 squares: 7500-12,0000 pounds

Remember that these are estimates and that the factors we discussed above can increase any of those numbers.

Choosing the Right Dumpster Size

At RGH Waste & Disposal, we try to keep it simple by offering two dumpster sizes: 20 cubic yards and 30 cubic yards. For roofing debris, we recommend 20-yard dumpsters for roofs up to 20 squares and 30-yard dumpsters for sizes larger than that.

If in doubt, a friendly and knowledgeable team member can help you decide on the right dumpster for you. For a cheap dumpster rental in Orlando, FL, contact RGH today!


Lisa is the General Manager of RGH Waste and Disposal LLC. After many years of working in waste management, Lisa has ‘seen it all’ and then some! She knows the 'ins' and 'outs' of waste disposal and has a wealth of experience from years of working with first-time dumpster renters to seasoned commercial clients.