What Size Roll-Off Dumpster Do I Need?

Roll-Off Dumpster Do I Need guide
Before deciding what size dumpster you should get you need to define what you’ll be disposing of. Keep in mind, renting a dumpster is not ideal for throwing away everyday wastebasket garbage. Some types of trash are best suited for your local garbage pickups.

Old rubbish and junk

We haul away unwanted items for you, but if you choose to you can rent a dumpster from us to get the job done yourself, see our rental page for more information. A 10 yard dumpster is a common size choice for everyday garbage cleanups. Just be sure this rubbish does not include things like half-filled paint cans, tires, and old chemicals — these types of items should never go into a dumpster.

Garden and tree clean-up

Maybe you want to add a pool in the backyard and need to remove trees and dirt. In this case, you’ll definitely need a larger container starting with a 20-30 yard dumpster. If you have a general clean-up you might be good with a 5-10 yard version instead.

Construction related

Renovating a room or tearing down a part of your property is always a good reason for dumpster rentals. You would need at least a 20 yard for this job, but for more than 1 room, you’ll need larger sizes. Any kind of home renovation or building will need the right size dumpster.

Roof/window replacement

Changing your roof is a big job and the shingles take up a lot of space. Depending on how large your roof is, you’ll need to go big because of the weight. As a single pack of asphalt shingle weighs anywhere between 50-80 Lbs. The same applies to wood since window replacement takes up space. You want a 30-yard dumpster to start.

Dumpster sizing and usage


Here’s a quick guide for all the sizes that you commonly find in dumpsters. Depending on the size, here’s what’s good to put into them to use for reference.

10 Yard

10 yard dumpsterThis is worth 4 pick-up truckloads of stuff. It’s ideal for small projects like remodeling the kitchen or bathroom. It’s not limited to small foreclosure houses or landscape projects. Cleaning out a small basement, attic, or garage is good for this too.

20 Yard

20 yard dumpster iconThis can hold as much as 8 pick-up truckloads of junk and stuff. Whether you have a kitchen or bathroom, or bedroom makeover, you need a 20-yard dumpster. This is also a good size for cleaning out foreclosure houses that you want to flip later. These are meant for medium-sized houses.

30 Yard

30 yard dumpster imageExpect that this can hold 12 pick-up truckloads of tossed-out material. Perhaps this is like those houses that need big clean-ups for foreclosure houses. For overgrown yards and gardens that get upgrades to need this size too. You’ll need one like this for any medium-sized kitchen if you’re changing out everything.

40 yard

40 yard dumpster imageHow about having 16 pick-up truck loads worth of landfill junk. Now we’re into some serious hoarder level cleanup jobs when an entire house is packed with junk. Not limited to a very large kitchen and bathroom remodel jobs.

Include various size dumpster for your needs based on the size of the dumpster itself. Include sizes in length x width, and height

Additional Information Regarding Dumpster Sizes

Information Regarding Dumpster Sizes

Do I need a permit for my dumpster rental?

Generally, you don’t need a dumpster if it’s on your property or in your driveway. If there’s no room, and it has to stay at the curb, you will need a permit. These can be arranged by the local city hall and have a time limit that is given. The cost of this permit depends on each city hall but may also hold the rental company responsible. This isn’t 100% of the time, so you’ll need to check on these rules before you actually rent a dumpster.

The cost can also vary between 30-50 dollars or more per week. Just to be safe, always mark one extra day if you think you might keep the dumpster for longer. This way you’re covered by the permit and won’t get a ticket.

Weight rated dumpsters

The key issue to a dumpster is the weight limit. If you have brick and cement blocks that are going in, this is considered heavy weight material. Even if the amount isn’t filling all the way to the top, the weight limit can’t go over. Once a dumpster is rated for the weight limit, you have to estimate your throw away items. Gauge the weight of each item and keep a tab. Keep this in mind if you’re breaking down brick walls or opening up a new living room area.

This is why roofing shingles can add-up quickly in weight when they’re all in the dumpster. We’ll explain to you how our weight limits work and what you are obligated to pay if the limit is over.

What if you misjudge the amount that goes in?

So things cannot be estimated unless you have very lightweight stuff. Anything that includes construction materials, brick, wood, dirt, and cinder blocks can add up fast. If you go over, it’s not the end of the day. We’ll simply charge extra for the excess weight. As a rule of thumb, with anything heavy (no matter the size of the dumpster), you should only fill it halfway. This way, the heavy material matches the container size for limit weight. For more information on how weight and dumpster size limits as it relates to cost, click here.

How long is your construction project?

Home renovations and long-term constructions are cheaper when you do it yourself. If you decide that you need a dumpster for longer, you’ll want a commercial rental. These dumpsters are better for being lockable and secure. This way you don’t have neighbors pitching-in stuff you don’t know about. A standard 2-3 day rental is pretty common, but you might need a dumpster for 2-3 months. We can help you out.

Will larger dumpsters damage my pavement?

Roll-off dumpsters can crack and scratch your driveway if the pavement is not built for heavy items. The best way to protect these surfaces is by distributing the weight with thick wood planks. These planks can be placed under the loading wheel as it rolls off. As wood is great for absorbing and spreading out the weight, the wheel isn’t placing pressure directly on one spot as it’s spread out over several feet.

If you’re unsure of how your driveway is going to react ask us if we provide wood planks to be added. You can also provide your own planks if you’re doing a construction-related job.

What’s the best way to load waste in the dumpster?

The total size dumpster you rent is a bit like a closet. If you stack items inside very tightly and keep the space uniform, lots more will fit in. This isn’t so easy with certain items but the concept is essential for odd-shaped items like cinder blocks or old toilets. Wood should be laid down as neatly as possible and sheetrock needs to be stacked to maximize the space. One of the better methods, if you have a short job that needs to be done quickly, is designating a loader.

This person will be responsible for arranging items in the dumpster so it can fit everything. This way, you can load stuff in a continual chain gang solution.

How to avoid penalties

The first thing we discuss with you is what goes into the dumpster and what doesn’t. But rules are rules and if there is anything that shouldn’t be in there, you need to dispose of it properly. Explain this to everyone who is going to be throwing stuff into the dumpster and give them a list. Landfills are very picky about items that can be thrown away. So, for this reason, you’ll want to stick to these rules.

If you do throw out something that doesn’t belong, you will be charged penalties. Not only that, these items will be returned to you.

How to avoid excess weight from very rainy weather?

As you know, Phoenix, Arizona is predictable with August being the rainiest month due to our monsoons. If you picked a bad time to stash trash in a dumpster before a big rainstorm, you might have excess weight. If you don’t see the water it might be under all the junk, but this water will affect your weight limit. The best thing you can do is to cover your dumpster with a large tarp before it rains.

As it goes, you should cover the container at night to keep others from putting stuff inside. There should be at least one high point inside the dumpster so water slides off the pitch. If your dumpster does fill with water you might consider opening the front loading door. This is very risky since the weight of the water can push the door open quickly. If you’ve loaded soil into the dumpster already, and it gets rained on, it’s not easy to get out.

The only alternative is to remove excess soil to reduce the weight or let us know what has happened. Depending on the situation, we can offer a solution that might help you out.


What factors determine the size of dumpster I need for a cleanup?

The biggest factor would definitely be the type of debris you need removed and how large a pile it is. For most smaller cleanups a twenty to thirty yard dumpster is enough. But you can order something as large as one hundred yards if it’s necessary.

Can I rent a dumpster for a day or just a few hours?

Sure, you can always rent a dumpster long or short term. This can even be as short as a few hours. In fact, renting super short term like this helps save a few bucks as far as daily rental fees.

What size dumpster is best for a small cleanup project, such as cleaning out a garage or basement?

Or really small cleanup projects like cleaning out a garage or basement, you shouldn’t need anything larger than a 10 to 20 yard dumpster unless you have a really large basement.

What size dumpster is best for a larger cleanup project, such as a home renovation or demolition?

For larger cleanup projects, such as a home renovation or demolition, a 20-30 yard dumpster is typically needed and you can even go larger like a 50 yard one if there is a huge amount of debris.

Can I put hazardous waste in a dumpster?

No, you should never place any hazardous materials in a dumpster. If you get caught doing so, you will not only need to pay the dumpster company for the cleanup which can get really expensive, but you can even be fined by the city or municipality you live in.

Are there weight limits for the contents of a dumpster?

Yes, there are weight limits for the contents of a dumpster, trucks can only transport so much weight. Besides that, exceeding the weight limit can result in additional charges. Contact your dumpster rental company for information on their weight limits.


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