Driveway Damaged by Dumpster? How to Handle It (Plus Prevention Tips)
Concrete driveways can crack under the stress of a heavy dumpster. Roll-off dumpster trucks are heavy, as well, and can cause damage to concrete or asphalt driveways, yards, brickwork, walkways, or curbs. But don’t cancel your dumpster rental just yet! There are simple ways to virtually eliminate these risks.
This quick guide will show you how to reduce the risk of driveway and property damage caused by roll-off containers or heavy trucks, as well as discuss how to handle rare situations where damage does occur.
It’s important to point out upfront that the risk of property damage caused by an experienced and reputable dumpster rental provider is extremely low. D&D Disposal—an experienced dumpster rental company based in Toms River, NJ—put it this way:
I have been in the roll-off business for over 14 years and I can count on my fingers how many driveways have been damaged by a roll off dumpster over the years. That’s not many when you consider how many thousands of containers we deliver.
With that out of the way, we want to stress that property damage is uncommon in the dumpster rental business; however, we recommend lowering the risk even further by following the tips below.
4 tips to ease the worry of dumpster-induced driveway damage
1. Place plywood or boards under the dumpster.
Some dumpster rental companies will do this for you, but not all. Always ask! Using 2’ x 6’ boards or plywood beneath the steel feet of a dumpster provides a cushion between the dumpster and the driveway. This is the best way to avoid driveway damage.
2. Avoid over-filling the dumpster, especially with heavy debris.
Abide by the dumpster rental provider’s recommendations of how high to fill the dumpster based on the type of debris. This is critical when loading heavy debris, such as concrete, dirt, brick, or roofing shingles.
Exceeding the fill-height recommendation can quickly add thousands of pounds of weight, which puts a strain on your driveway. Picking up the dumpster is also a process that can cause damage if the dumpster is exceedingly overweight.
3. Have the rental company place the dumpster in the street.
This may or may not be permitted in your city or town. If it is allowed, it’s likely you would need to obtain a dumpster permit since the container would be placed in the public right-of-way. Ask your dumpster provider if this is an option. By not placing the dumpster in the driveway, you are 100% ensured of no damage.
4. Choose a rubber-wheeled trailer dumpster rather than a traditional roll-off container.
Common roll-off dumpsters feature steel wheels and feet, but trailer dumpsters have driveway-friendly rubber tires rather than steel. This provides a softer platform for loading heavy debris with less of a risk of damaging the driveway or yard. Just remember to place wood under the tongue of the trailer at the point of contact with the ground.
RELATED: Residential dumpster rental options
What should I do if my property is damaged by a dumpster or roll-off truck?
The most important part of handing property damage caused by roll-off trucks or bins starts before you actually book the dumpster. Specifically, choose a rental company that is properly licensed and that carries insurance to cover situations like property damage.
Choose a licensed and insured dumpster rental company to ensure any property damage incurred will be covered by the dumpster provider.
Obviously, this won’t help if your rental provider isn’t insured and the property damage has already been done. If the damage was clearly caused by the dumpster rental company, they will likely be willing to work out a resolution to the problem.
Review your dumpster rental agreement or invoice closely. It may state something along the lines of “ABC Dumpster Rental is not responsible for damage caused by the customer's negligence during the drop-off, filling period, or pick-up of the container.”
In other words, any damage caused by the customer using the dumpster in a way they shouldn't (e.g., overfilling it), would result in the dumpster rental company likely not helping out with fixing the damages. They would not be legally obligated to pay for damages at this point.
A disclaimer like the one above takes much of the responsibility out of the hands of the rental provider. This stinks for the customer, but it’s a fact of life in the dumpster rental business. The key is following the loading and usage rules of the dumpster rental provider.
So, if the rental provider refuses to negotiate a resolution, the next step is to contact your homeowner’s insurance.
Your insurance will likely cover the damage. Take photos and/or video of the damage and collect documentation of the rental, including the invoice, rental agreement, etc.
Take before and after photos of your property, driveway, or other location where the dumpster is placed to prove damage was caused by the dumpster or truck. Ensure the photos/videos are timestamped.
What about if you’d rather leave your homeowner’s insurance out of it, or the damage is excessively expensive? Another option is to sue the rental provider for damages. Obviously, this is not the most desirable path, but it could be worth pursuing in extraordinary cases. Check with a lawyer to go over your options.
The good news is that property damage is very rare in the dumpster rental business, so you’ll likely never have to deal with any of these situations.