You’re taking the plunge and remodeling that dated bathroom or upgrading your living room to a more contemporary, open plan. You’ve done your due diligence to recognize the warning signs of contractor scams and chosen a reputable contractor, but your work isn’t done. Whether your contractor will provide a dumpster as part of the deal or you’re responsible for renting one, you’ll need to know how to choose the best sized dumpster for your project.

Understanding Dumpster Sizes

Roll-off dumpsters (so named because they roll off the truck that delivers them) come in various sizes measured by how many cubic feet of debris they can hold. Remember that this is a measure of volume, not weight. Typical sizes are 10-, 20-, 30-, or 40-yard dumpsters. Smaller projects need smaller dumpsters, and large projects involving lots of demolition need larger ones. But how do you choose the best sized dumpster for your project?

Types of Projects for Different Sized Dumpsters

Dumpster rentals are used for construction projects as well as for clean-outs and even landscaping projects. Your rental dumpster will come with weight limits and overweight fees, so the debris you put in it matters. A larger dumpster will hold more debris, but if all the debris is extremely heavy, you may have to rent more than one dumpster or expect several pickups and dropoffs during the project.

Here’s a breakdown of which size might work for your project:

  • 10-yard dumpster: Best for cleaning out a garage, basement, or attic and for single-room renovations, such as for a small bathroom or kitchen
  • 20-yard dumpster: Best for deck and roof removals and dirt- and concrete-hauling
  • 30-yard dumpster: Ideal for multiroom interior renovations; pool and deck removals; small-house demolition, and new construction jobs
  • 40-yard dumpster: Good for a full roof replacement, new construction, and gut rehabs

Do the Math

Every construction job requires calculations, not only for cost but also for the sizes of everything from appliances to countertops to tiles. If you’ll be disposing of concrete, dirt, roof shingles, or steel, you’ll have to have an idea of how much those materials weigh per cubic yard. Measure the area of the material you’ll be ripping out (length, width, and depth) and do the math to figure out how many cubic yards of it you’ll be dumping. Multiply that by the weight per cubic yard. Your dumpster rental company or (reputable, vetted, licensed, insured) general contractor should be able to help. If you are planning to hire a dumpster company, you can check out Prime Dumpster Inc.

Getting rid of the old and bringing in the new is a great feeling as long as you’re confident the job is being done right. The old should be disposed of responsibly, according to local, state, and federal waste disposal and environmental guidelines (be sure to check on where the waste will go before the project begins). Good luck!