How to Demolish a House

Sep 29, 2017 | Demolition Waste Projects
Demolishing a structure is not only about the exasperated noises and big bangs. Some might say, destroying stuffs are easier than building them up. But, when it comes to the case of heavy beams and multi storied buildings things might get a bit serious. Are you planning to tear your house down for a renovation? Then this article will be the right source of knowledge for you. A demolition involves much more process than you expect, like inspecting the building to be demolished, disconnecting all the existing services- water, gas, and electricity, acquiring all the documents along with permits and last but not the least hauling away the debris. There are two ways with which you can take down your house. One is the Mechanical Demolition and the other is demolition by hand or Deconstruction. Let’s have a look on both of these.

Mechanical Demolition

This is the most common form of demolition used widely. This involves knocking down buildings and structures with mechanical help like hydraulic thrusters, bulldozers, excavators, wrecking balls, etc… Mechanical demolition also involves undermining, where a building or structure is demolished by weakening its internal supports to encourage a controlled collapse. Mechanical demolitions are fast and cheap when compared to Deconstruction.

Deconstruction (Demolition by Hand)

This demolition form is a process where one manually strip and deconstruct the house piece by piece with a strong motive of salvaging as many materials as possible. Even the name gives away the motive behind this form of demolition. This is the most eco-friendly form of demolition but, it might take a lot of time and could even break your bank. Your doors, light fixtures, sinks and glass windows will be safe and sound for future use when you are opting for demolition by hand. If you are stuck at what type of demolition you need, then read the rest of the article.

1. Find the Right Contractor

Finding a licensed and insured demolition contractor to help you out is the best and wise way to take down your house. They’ll arrange a meeting with you at the site and will definitely discuss what options you have and which method you must opt. Get proposals and estimates in writing from at least three contractors so that you can compare them and go for the best.

2. Get your House Inspected

Get your house inspected by your building contractor before they start with wrecking process. Most states have kept mandatory that old homes or structures must be inspected prior to demolition for the presence of:
  • Asbestos
  • Lead paint
  • Mold
  • Rotten Wood
  • Other Hazardous Materials
Proper treatment and preparations have to be done if your house has any one of the above.

3. The Necessary Documents

You might be restricted to continue with demolition process if your papers aren’t clear for demolition. Contact your demolition contractor and ask him what all permits are needed for a smooth and clear demolition. Most of these permits can be acquired from your local City Hall. To know more on these, check your city’s government website. Other than these you might also need to check the requirements on:
  • Notification
  • Noise
  • Hours of Operation
  • Disposal of the Debris, etc… prior to demolition

4. Disconnect Existing Services

Before starting your demolition you need to make sure all your existing services are disconnected. These might include- water, gas, electricity, sewage, phone, etc. Disconnecting these services can ensure your safety and your neighbors.

5. Secure the Area

Adding to the disconnected services, you must make sure the adjacent buildings and walkways are protected by putting up temporary fences.

6. Tear Down the House

The whole process might take from one day to several days depending on the size and complexity of the project. Home demolitions usually involve a heavy, hydraulic excavator tearing down the house and putting the debris in the back of a dumpster. At every stage of demolition make sure to ask your contractor for a detailed report on the work done per day.

7. Managing the Debris

Proper management of the residue debris is as important as the demolition process. Remove all the debris leaving the site clean. If the waste contains hazardous materials, proper preparation and treatment are required to contain them.


Demolition is not as simple as it seems. Demolition methods vary according to building location, construction materials, the equipment used and especially the time. We hope this article will help you along with the whole residential demolition process.