Construction Dumpsters: What Size Do You Need?

(Dumpster) size matters.

Renting construction dumpsters is not something most of us do every day, and it can be easy to accidentally rent too much or too little if you’re not looking closely. Here’s how to figure out the size of the construction dumpster that you need.

How Construction Dumpster Sizing Works

Construction dumpsters are generally measured in cubic yards, and volumes generally range from ten to forty cubic yards. Ten cubic yards may not sound like a lot of feet, but remember that it’s three feet on each side. You might be surprised by the sheer size of a construction dumpster. For example, a ten cubic yard dumpster is twelve feet long, eight feet wide, and four feet deep; it’s a lot bigger than it sounds at first. They’re also colloquially referred to in yards. A dumpster with a volume of ten cubic yards would be referred to as a ten-yard dumpster.

Measure Possible Locations for Your Construction Dumpster

It’s also good to know where you’ll be placing this dumpster. Measure out space on your property so that, for example, if you need to put the dumpster in your driveway, you know what will fit and what won’t. If you need to place the dumpster on the street, you should make the necessary permitting arrangements before signing the rental agreement.

Once you’ve done that, now you can figure out what size you need. Here are the standard sizes, and what they tend to be used for.

Ten to Fifteen Cubic Yards

This size is generally good for smaller jobs. For example, if you’re remodeling a small room or cleaning out some garbage from the garage, you probably won’t need much more than ten cubic yards, perhaps fifteen for mid-sized rooms you’re doing light work on.

Twenty Cubic Yards

Twenty cubic yards is a good size for jobs that require removing a lot of flat objects. For example, if you’re replacing a home’s roof, and need to dump the old shingles, a twenty-yard dumpster will suit the job quite nicely. Similarly, if you’re removing wall-to-wall carpet or flooring, twenty yards should be plenty of room, although you may want to get the rough square footage of material you’ll be removing.

Consider the space available.

Thirty Cubic Yards

If ten cubic yards is good for cleaning up a garage full of garbage, a thirty-yard dumpster is good for pulling down the entire garage. Large home repair jobs, like siding removal or remodeling several rooms, and small demolition jobs like tearing down old outbuildings like sheds or garages, tend to be well suited with a thirty-yard dumpster.

Forty Cubic Yards

This is the big one, the one you bring in when you’ve got a lot, and we mean a lot, to throw out. Forty-yard dumpsters are generally used for massive remodeling projects, such as gutting houses made dangerous and moldy by floods, commercial construction projects, and other jobs that tend toward having a high volume of debris and junk to throw out.

Remember, these are only rough guidelines. Take photos of the area you’re going to clean out, and speak with an experienced construction dumpster rental company before making any decisions. Once you know what you need to move, renting the right size will be a snap.