Pro Tools

Proper Dumpster Size for Roofing and Asphalt Shingle Disposal


Table of Contents:

  1. Matching Dumpster to Roof Size
  2. Weight Limits for Hauling
  3. Weight of Shingles per Square Foot
  4. Dumpster Types and Fees
  5. Dumpster Size for Roof Shingles Chart
  6. Consider Your Customer
  7. Ready for Your Roof Replacement?

During a reroof job, you’ll need to dispose of a lot of shingles. Most roofing professionals choose to rent a dumpster for shingle disposal, but it’s not quite as simple as it sounds. To minimize your costs and maximize your profit, you need to choose the right-sized dumpster for each job. If you miscalculate and overfill the dumpster beyond its maximum weight, you may be subject to expensive overage charges.


There are roofing dumpster calculators available for you to use to estimate the right size. However, none of them take into account all of the variables you need to know to understand which size dumpster is right for each job. It’s not just about the size of the roof, but also the type and weight of shingle debris. You also need to take into account the weight limit that your dumpster rental company places on each dumpster.

We’ll walk you through everything you need to understand in order to accurately estimate which size dumpster you’ll need for a shingle tear‐off job. We’ve also compiled a quick chart for your convenience. As you prepare for a reroofing job, return to our chart below to get a quick idea of the size of dumpster you’ll need.



Matching Dumpster to Roof Size

Measuring the roof accurately is key to choosing a dumpster that is the correct size for the job. If you need to brush up on this skill, IKO has released a guide on how to measure a roof properly. While you measure, don’t forget to check for a second layer of shingles beneath the first, as this will double the size of dumpster you need. And whether you use roofing squares or work in total square feet, our chart recommends dumpster sizes for both measurements.


Weight Limits for Hauling

Choosing your dumpster size isn’t just about the sheer volume the disposed shingles will take up. It’s more important to estimate their weight. Most dumpster rental companies charge by weight, and asphalt shingles are one of the heavier materials that they allow in their dumpsters.

In most areas of North America, these companies are mandated by law to include specific weight limits on their containers. Usually, the container is strong enough to hold much more than the weight limit. Instead, weight limits for hauling in dumpsters are set by the state or province to ensure safety on the roadways. Each dumpster size will have a different weight limit, depending on the capacity of the truck that will be hauling it.


Generally, you can’t fill a dumpster to the brim with asphalt shingles, as this will exceed the dumpster’s weight limit. As such, you’ll have to calculate the weight of the shingles and choose a dumpster that can handle the full weight. When in doubt, choose a larger dumpster than you estimate you’ll need, as overage fees are often more expensive than the cost of renting a larger dumpster from the outset.


Weight of Shingles per Square Foot

How much do shingles weigh per square foot? You’ll need to have an approximate estimate of the weight to estimate your ideal dumpster size, but there is no simple answer. Each shingle brand and type will have a slightly different weight. Even if you know exactly which brand of shingle is on the roof, the manufacturer may have changed the weight of the shingle over the years. Usually, you’ll have to estimate using the size of the roof and a general idea of how much shingles weigh.


To do so, you’ll first want to determine which kind of shingle is on the roof: 3‐tab shingles, architectural shingles or premium shingles. The lightest shingles are the 3‐tab design, usually weighing a maximum of 190 pounds per square. When estimating weight, you should also account for underlayment, nails and other debris you may need to remove from the roof; so, you should add 10 pounds to that. The total is an estimated 200 pounds per square for 3‐tab shingles.

3 tab shingles

Laminate shingles are much heavier and thicker than 3‐tab shingles. Most brands of laminate shingles are under 230 pounds per square. Add that same 10 pounds for extra materials and you have a total of 240 pounds per square for laminate shingles.

grey architectural shingles

The weight of premium shingles is more variable than the weight of other shingle types. Premium shingles may range from 230 pounds up to 450 pounds. However, very few shingles will reach the far end of that scale. A more reasonable estimate is 290 pounds, plus an additional 10 pounds for other materials. The total is 300 pounds per square for premium shingles. If you suspect your customer’s existing shingles might be heavier than this, you can always look them up on the manufacturer’s website.

Also, remember to perform a separate weight calculation if there is a second layer of shingles. Don’t assume that the bottom layer is composed of the same type of shingles as the top layer.


Dumpster Types and Fees

Different dumpster rental companies will have slightly different-sized dumpsters and will have different weight limits on each. You will likely not be able to use the very large dumpsters, which are 30, 35 and 40 yards. These dumpsters are not meant for asphalt shingles. If you do fill them full with shingles, they may be too heavy to be safely transported. Plus, they are hard to maneuver on some driveways, and their excessive weight may even damage a driveway.

If you are replacing a large roof, especially one with premium shingles, you may need to bring in two smaller 20- or 25-yard dumpsters in order to safely transport your shingle debris.

How much does it cost to dispose of shingles? There are a few things to consider. Each dumpster rental company will have a different rate scale. Some rental companies charge extra fees for disposal services, especially for shingles that are usually mixed in with other debris. Companies charge extra because they may need to sort the shingles from the other debris before they complete disposal.

roofers removing shingles from roof and into dumpster

A rental company may require you to “clean load” the dumpster for them. This term means that you can add only shingles to the dumpster and not other debris, such as nails. It’s too time‐consuming to take nails out from shingles when you’re trying to complete a roof replacement job, so most professional roofers will choose a company that does not require clean loading.

It’s best to ask a few different companies for pricing before you settle on one. Be sure to tell them you’ll be using your dumpster for reroofing jobs, as some have special restrictions or charges for shingle disposal.


Dumpster Size for Roof Shingles Chart

Below is a chart to help you determine which dumpster size is best for your roofing job. Remember, these are estimates only. Your local dumpster rental company may have different weight limits for their dumpsters.

Roof Size Shingle Type Estimated Weight of Shingle Debris in Lbs. Dumpster Size Estimated Weight Limit of Dumpster
1,500 square-foot roof
(15 squares)
3‐tab 3,000 10-yard dumpster Less than two tons
(4,000 lbs.)
1,500 square-foot roof
(15 squares)
Laminate shingles 3,600 15-yard dumpster Two tons
(4,000 lbs.)
2,500 square-foot roof
(25 squares)
3‐tab 5,000 20-yard dumpster Three tons
(6,000 lbs.)
2,500 square-foot roof
(25 squares)
Laminate shingles 6,000 20-yard dumpster Three tons
(6,000 lbs.)
2,500 square-foot roof
(25 squares)
Premium shingles 7,500 25-yard dumpster Four tons
(8,000 lbs.)
3,500+ square-foot roof
(35 squares)
3‐tab 7,000+ 25-yard dumpster Four tons
(8,000 lbs.)
3,500+ square-foot roof
(35 squares)
Laminate shingles 8,400+ Multiple dumpsters needed. Multiple dumpsters needed.
3,500+ square-foot roof
(35 squares)
Premium shingles 10,500+ Multiple dumpsters needed. Multiple dumpsters needed.


Consider Your Customer

Before you make your final decision about which dumpster to choose for shingle disposal, consider your customer. Roofing dumpster service can be a critical issue to your customer. It’ll be a hassle for them to have a dumpster in their driveway, so you want to partner with a company that respects that.

dumpster placed on driveway as roofers complete shingle roof

For example, if your dumpster company routinely traps your customer’s cars in their driveway or places the dumpster so that it will cause property damage, you’ll have to face the frustration of your customers. For this reason, it is wise to choose a roofing dumpster company that employs reliable, caring people to operate the dumpster lift. He or she should remove the dumpster as soon as possible and should always treat your customers and their property with respect.


Ready for Your Roof Replacement?

Estimating the weight of shingles and choosing the proper dumpster size for your reroofing job are useful skills to maximize your profitability. IKO has more information about useful skills you can develop to make your business more successful, such as the types of roofing company insurance that you need.