How do I know what size dumpster I need?

1. What size dumpster do I need for my project?

You can estimate the size you need by taking a simple inventory of your project’s waste material. You may be able to use a hand-held calculator (or one on your phone) to estimate how much square footage (how many cubic yards) will fill your dumpster, based on an Internet search for “dumpster sizes” or “dumpster dimensions.” Keep in mind that the numbers you get are approximate, and might produce a few surprises—particularly if you have never rented a dumpster before! Don’t worry about being precise when making estimates; people who work with contractors regularly know what they can ignore.

So…what do you do with this information? Well, unless you’re sure that everything will fit exactly into the space you have in mind, you’ll need to go with a dumpster that can hold more than your project’s waste material. The extra space will come in handy if the property is hard to reach or if it has an awkward shape (like a long L-shape). It will also come in handy if you collect things that normally don’t belong outside—like furniture, carpeting, and trash from a kitchen remodel.

Those situations mean you need to buy enough space so you’re not constantly running back and forth between the curb and the alley with multiple trips. Hopefully, this means one trip per day (or less), but if not then make sure to get something bigger!

2. How many square feet of debris will the container hold?

Example: For a typical single-family residence, the estimated waste material is that of one-bedroom (about 350 square feet). That’s about six 40-yard dumpsters or three 20-cubic yard containers.

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3. What does “C&D” mean?

Construction and demolition debris consists of scrap wood, brick, concrete, drywall, and metal. Here are some examples of how much weight you can expect to fill a container:

• Basement full of broken concrete: 1000 lbs/cubic yard = 1 ton / cubic foot • Full sheetrock wall from a house remodel: 500 lbs per roll x 2 rolls = 1000 lbs • Full sheetwing shingles from an average home (2 layers thick): 100 lbs per shingle x 1/3 of the roof surface = 300 lbs • Average size brick: 40 lbs (2 x 20) = 80 lbs • Average size concrete block: 25 lbs each (24 x 8) = 200 pounds

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Obviously, demolition and construction projects include a lot more than that, but you get the idea. Realize that there will be variations depending on things like environmental factors or whether your dumpster is retrieved from the same location as it was delivered. That said, if you’re not getting quite what you expect, don’t beat yourself up—it’s better to have too much space than too little!

4. What does “regular” vs “heavy-duty” mean?

Dumpsters are usually categorized as “regular” or “heavy-duty”, and prices are different for both. However, in general, there aren’t a lot of noticeable differences between them. The main difference is that heavy-duty dumpsters are likely to be sturdier than their regular counterparts because they can carry more weight. This is typically due to having thicker walls and sometimes being larger overall.

5. What does double vs triple wall mean?

Dumpsters with 3 walls (triple walls), will protect your items from the elements better than 2-walled units. Having said that, unless you have a significant amount of waste that would otherwise be exposed if not contained properly, it’s probably not worth getting a triple-wall unit just to keep things dry and clean.

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It’s more likely to be worth it if the dumpster is being used in an area where garbage truck drivers often can’t access (like a gated community), or if you think you’ll find something valuable that would otherwise end up getting soaked, rained on, etc. As with most things related to waste disposal, triple-wall will cost a little extra.

6. What does “scrap” vs “regular” trash mean?

Most construction projects generate a lot of scrap pieces that aren’t necessarily part of the final design or product. This could include anything from unused materials like insulation and carpet padding, electrical wires, glass panels, paneling, or sheetrock cutoffs…the list goes on! For some projects, it’s not feasible or desired to haul all of that material away with you when the job is done. In those cases, you need a dumpster large enough to accommodate your extras.

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Whatever your project consists of, make sure to give yourself more than enough room (and a little extra) so you don’t end up filling up the dumpster before finishing. This means overestimating how much space you’ll need—it’s better to underestimate and pay for some extra space than to end up having to rent another one last minute because the first one was too full!

7. Why is the cost of a dumpster so high?

Not all waste haulers charge the same amount, but there are a few factors that will affect what you pay. First of all, not every company has the capacity to accommodate your needs with an on-site location (which most often means they have to transport it from another location). That said, some companies charge more because they can haul larger loads than others or do so with less travel time and distance. Some also offer additional services like recycling dropoff or yard debris pickup, which may be included at no extra cost or come as part of an overall package.

8. Where should I put my DIY project dumpster?

It’s often simplest (and cheapest) to have a dumpster placed on the location where you’re doing the project, but some haulers will also offer to drop it off at your home or business and pick it up after. This means no additional transportation costs (which can make things very expensive—especially if you live in an area with significant fuel surcharges). If you don’t plan ahead, however, arrange for pickup before the dumpster is filled or have room left over when done, and you’ll end up paying for all of those extra miles!

9. What are included services?

A lot of companies advertise “free” services like free dumping, recycling allowances, etc., but not every company will offer them. For example, there may be other charges tagged on that aren’t immediately apparent.  Read the fine print!

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