Best Dumpster Size for Shingle Roof Replacement Projects

Dumpster size for shingle roof tear off

Dumpsters come in a wide range of sizes, ranging from around 3 cubic yards to 50 cubic yards. Roll-off dumpsters and trailers are an excellent means for disposing of roof shingle debris. This short guide will help you choose the right dumpster size based on the size of your roofing project.

RELATED: Renting a dumpster for roofing shingles: Everything you need to know

Calculating the weight of the shingle debris is key

It can be tricky to estimate the right dumpster size for the job. And when it comes to disposing of roofing shingles, weight is of particular importance. Shingle debris is heavy, and disposal costs can be quite significant without proper planning.

It’s common for a 10 yard dumpster to come standard with a 4,000 - 6,000 lb. weight allowance (2 to 3 tons, respectively). That means a 20 square roof tear off may require larger than a 10 yard dumpster; not for the extra volume, but for the additional weight allowed in the larger dumpster.

One square of shingles typically weighs 250 - 400 lbs. depending on the type of shingle (3-tab vs. architectural shingle).

In roofing, a "square" is equal to 100 sq. ft. (10 ft. x 10 ft.). So for example, the weight of the shingles on a 20 square roof can be anywhere from 5,000 - 8,000 lbs. based on the estimates above.

TIP: Check with several local dumpster rental companies when renting a dumpster for roofing jobs. Some may offer a 10 yard bin with an included 4,000 lbs. while another company offers the same size dumpster with an 8,000 lb. weight limit. That extra cushion in weight can save you from overage fees later.

RELATED: Dumpster weight limits for 10, 20, 30, and 40 yard roll-offs

Formula for calculating roof shingle debris weight

Roof size in squares x Shingle weight per square x Number of shingle layers + Estimated plywood/other scraps (if applicable) = Total weight in lbs.

Here’s an example involving the tear-off of a 15 square roof with three layers of existing 3-tab shingles (total of 45 square):

15 x 250 x 3 + 0 = 11,250 lbs.

To convert that to tons, divide by 2,000.

In this example, that would come out to 5.625 tons.

Choose a dumpster with a minimum 6-ton weight allowance, but preferably a larger 8-ton limit to have the extra cushion.

calculate roof shingle debris weight

TIP: In calculating your shingle debris weight estimates, it’s a good idea to factor in an extra 30 - 50 lbs. per square to cover damaged plywood, felt, and other debris oftentimes disposed of during a roof tear-off. If all plywood is to be replaced, increase this figure to accommodate that extra weight.

Choosing a dumpster size for roofing jobs

As you can see above, the weight of the load is a major consideration in choosing the right dumpster size for the roof tear off. A 10 yard dumpster would easily accommodate 25+ square of roofing shingle debris; however, it may not accommodate that weight.

As with other heavy debris, such as dirt or concrete, proper planning is the key to avoid overpaying for the dumpster. Overage costs can be as high as $120 per ton in some areas ($50 - $80 per ton is typical), and that can add up quickly with heavy debris.

Estimate the weight of the debris first, then choose the dumpster size. Common dumpster sizes for roofing debris include 10, 12, 18, 20, 25, and 30 yard dumpsters.

Use the chart below to quickly estimate the right dumpster size for your roofing project.

RELATED: Dumpster sizes and how much each holds

3 Tab Shingle Debris (squares)

Dumpster Size (cubic yards)

Estimated Debris Weight (lbs.)






















For large roof tear-offs, multiple roll-off containers may be necessary. The trucks used by dumpster rental companies can only lift and haul a certain amount of weight based on the capacity of the equipment and by local hauling laws.

Now that you have an idea of how to estimate the weight of the shingle debris and which dumpster works best for that amount, contact several local dumpster providers to find the right roll-off container size to accommodate your project.

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