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Roofing Debris Management Systems: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

roofing debris management systemsDebris control is a doozy in residential roofing. All the different terrains, slopes, and landscape features make it tough to maintain an effective solution. But it’s important to implement a roofing debris management system that preserves your crew’s energy and works on virtually all job sites. 

So, how do you develop and maintain a successful debris management system?

Consider property and equipment features when creating a roofing debris management system.

While many properties have similar characteristics, you know each property has its own quirks that may influence your debris control during roof replacement. More factors than the size of the roof being replaced come into play when determining the best plan of action.

Keep these factors in mind when putting together a residential roofing debris management system: 

  • GVWR of equipment used
  • Space between houses
  • Landscape obstacles near the house perimeter
  • Slope of the property
  • Terrain

Use the right equipment for residential roof replacements.

Efficiently replacing the roof on someone’s home can be challenging when you’re not working with the right equipment. But how do you know what equipment to use to get the job done without risking damage to your customer’s unique property? 

The chart below includes a variety of equipment that has been used in the roof replacement process. We’ll break down each piece of equipment along with its pros and cons to help you determine which ones are the right equipment for your job.

Dump Vehicle Comparison-01

Knuckle Boom Lift

Knuckle boom lifts may be ideal for window cleaning and electric wire maintenance, but they’re no friend to residential roofing projects. If you need to lift plywood, tar paper, shingles, or other roofing materials, this lift system is not the way to go (although some have tried…).

Knuckle boom lifts are heavy equipment that should not be used on residential properties. It’s not uncommon for this equipment to have a GVWR of around 23,000 pounds but a lift capacity of only 500. This poses a high risk of damage to lawns and delicate landscape features, especially when operating in tighter spaces. 

Knuckle Boom Lift Pros

  • Reaches high places
  • Easy to operate
  • Serves as a man lift

Knuckle Boom Lift Cons

  • Not ideal for residential projects
  • Leaves ruts in lawns
  • Can damage landscape features 

Best Uses for Knuckle Boom Lifts

  • Window cleaning of tall buildings
  • Maintenance work
  • Fixing or installing outdoor electrical wiring

Roll-Off Dumpster

The most common dumpster size used in residential roofing is the 20-yard dump trailer. Where you choose to put the 8’ wide x 22’ long dump container for a week can affect your relationship with a customer. 

As the weight of debris piles into the dumpster during a roof replacement, the dumpster presses down harder onto the customer’s lawn. Then when the company comes to pick up the loaded dumpster, the vehicle may even rip up the lawn. If a customer is on a time restraint–perhaps a couple needs their roof replaced before hosting their family reunion next weekend–the last thing they want is a massive eyesore on their property.

Placing the dumpster in the driveway is an inconvenience for customers and increases their risk of getting a flat tire from stray nails and other sharp debris.

rolloff dumpsterStandard Dumpster

The most convenient option for your customers is placing the roll-off dumpster at the curb. This keeps the driveway clear for parking or an after-school neighborhood game of basketball, helping you maintain satisfied customers during the roof replacement process.

Roll-Off Pros

  • Holds debris from an average residential roof replacement
  • Eliminates multiple trips to the dump
  • Rental cost can be tied into the estimate and/or business expenses
  • Rental company drops off, picks up, and discards debris

Roll-Off Cons

  • Added costs of rental, delivery, etc.
  • Delivery/pick-up delays
  • Takes up parking 
  • Causes dead grass and ruts upon removal

Dump Truck

Whether it’s an original dump truck or a dump bed added to a Class 6 vehicle, dump trucks are handy equipment to include in roofing debris management systems. 

According to Hometown Dumpster Rental, a dump truck can haul around 12 cubic yards, depending on the material. However, legal weight limits are based on the size and number of axles on a dump truck, so be sure to do your research before renting or purchasing for your next roof replacement.

Dump Truck Pros

  • No towing hookup hassles
  • Place curbside or in the driveway 
  • One trip to the dump
  • Transport tools to the job
  • Tow the RB4000 to the job

Dump Truck Cons

  • Weight from tear-off can damage lawns
  • No landscape protection

Find the Closest Equipter 4000 to Me

Standard Pickup Truck

If you use your own dump trailer during roof replacements, you need equipment strong enough to haul it, right? In this case, your pickup truck may already be a part of your roofing debris management system. Just be careful you don’t leave ruts in customers’ lawns with your truck and trailer.

When it comes to hauling materials and trash, it’s more affordable when you don’t have to rely on delivery and pickup services. 

Pickup Truck Pros

  • Reduces supply delivery costs
  • Easily tows Equipter RB4000
  • Helps maneuver dump trailers where needed

Pickup Truck Cons

  • Not very versatile
  • Leaves ruts in soft and wet lawns

Equipter RB2000 and Equipter RB2500

The Equipter RB2000 and Equipter RB2500 are self-propelled dump containers that squeeze into narrow spaces and lift up to 7 feet to catch debris before it hits the ground.

The RB2000 has a catch span of 2 feet 6 inches, while the RB2500’s catch area is 3 feet 9 inches. Optional side extensions add another 3 feet and 1 inch to either unit’s catch area. 

RB2500 lifted side extension kitEquipter RB2500 with Optional Side Extension Kit

The RB2000 fits through most standard chain fence openings, allowing quick and easy access to the backyard so your crew isn’t hauling heavy, unstable tarps across the customer’s property.

The Equipter RB2500 can haul up to 2,500 lbs around the job, and both units can also transport tools and materials around the job. 

RB2000 and RB2500 Pros

  • Low maintenance
  • RB2000 fits through most standard chain fence openings to easily get to the backyard
  • Easy access to narrow alleyways for inner-city roof replacements
  • Drivable on sidewalks
  • Multifunctional
  • Safer environment for workers and customers
  • Reduces labor costs
  • Decreased end-of-day cleanup

RB2000 and RB2500 Cons

  • Not towable (Equipter recommends transport by utility trailer)
  • No lids

Equipter RB4000

Did you know it’s possible to skip the blue tarp altogether? The self-propelled Equipter RB4000, formerly known as the roofers buggy, has been helping roofing contractors complete more jobs and maintain cleaner work environments since 2004. 

rb4000 rollback over stepsEquipter RB4000's 4-ft Rollback

The aluminum container contributes to the unit’s lightweight design, making it one of the safest pieces of equipment to drive on a customer’s lawn. The wide tires allow for a better weight distribution during transportation, and the outriggers lift the unit slightly off the ground to alleviate the added weight from the debris as the container fills. The 4-foot rollback feature shields flowerbeds from dangerous debris.

This portable dump trailer’s lift and hydraulic tailgate make for a smooth, contactless debris disposal right into your dump truck or roll-off dumpster at the curb.

Not only is this an excellent addition to roofing debris management systems, but the RB4000 also doubles as a trailer itself. Tow it and load it at your local supplier to cut supply delivery time and fees. Once you get to the job, just unhook it from the truck, drive, and lift it right to the roof.

Equipter RB4000 Pros

  • Low maintenance
  • Safe to drive across lawns
  • Gets in hard-to-reach spots that average dump trailers can’t
  • Keeps flowerbeds clean
  • Multifunctional
  • Quick and easy to set up
  • Reduces labor costs
  • Decreases end-of-day cleanup
  • Towable by standard pickup truck

Equipter RB4000 Cons

  • Not ideal for inner-city roof replacements
  • Shouldn’t be driven on wet ground (without plywood or Equipter Track Mats)

Thinking about testing an Equipter RB4000? Click below to find the closest rental location to you. Don’t forget to ask about daily, weekly, and monthly rates for renting the Equipter.

Find the Closest Equipter 4000 to Me

Invest in roofing equipment that gets the job done faster and cleaner.

The blue tarp is so old fashioned. Invest in long-lasting equipment that streamlines cleanup and production while minimizing contact with tear-off debris. From dump trucks to portable dump trailers, there are tons of options for building your own efficient roofing debris management system. 

Equipter is here to serve. Contact our reps today at 717-661-3591 or for financing on Equipter dump trailers for your debris control solution.