8 Tips and Lessons for a Successful Home Renovation Demolition

August 20, 2018 by Tiffany Ferdus

Couple resting after doing home demolition work
If you’ve spent time watching HGTV or DIY Network, then you’re familiar with remodeling demolitions. In the Hollywood version, contractors grab sledgehammers and start ripping through drywall and cabinets. You’ll get an opportunity to put a sledgehammer through drywall in your own demolition, but the process isn’t quite as simple or careless as it looks.

8 Demolition Tips and Lessons

There are a variety of reasons for conducting a demolition in your home. You might be purchasing an old house that needs some work, so you demolish the parts you don’t want and hire a contractor to come in and remodel. Or you could be investing in a fixer-upper that you’ll soon rent or sell. You may simply want to tear down a couple of walls that are messing up the flow of your floor plan.

Whatever the case may be, there’s a time and place for demolitions. Done properly, they can be a lot of fun. However, when performed without strategic forethought, they can be unsafe and disastrous. As you prepare for your own demo, here are some tips you’ll want to keep in mind.

1. Develop a Process

First, you need to establish a process, set goals, and figure out how you’re going to accomplish these objectives. You can’t go into a demolition and just start knocking things down. Not only do you risk tearing down something you need, but you could also burst pipes, hit live wires, or compromise structural components that impact the integrity of the house.

If this is your first time performing a demolition, you’re going to need some help. If nothing else, you’ll at least need some advice before you start. An experienced contractor can help you identify load bearing walls, point out where pipes and electrical work is likely to be located, and show you how to carefully address potential problem areas. Take the process in a step by step manner and you’ll be fine.

2. Seal Off Work Spaces

A demolition is messy. Intuitively, you know this – but it’s a lot messier than you can even imagine. This is especially true if you’re cutting through drywall, which can produce millions of tiny particles and dust.

If you’re only demoing a part of the home, make sure you seal off the other rooms so they don’t get super messy. It’s also wise to cover up air vents and intakes so that particles don’t get pushed into vents and blown out into other areas of the house.

3. Have the Right Tools

You never know what you’re going to run into when you start tearing apart cabinets, removing drywall, and pulling up carpet. In order to set yourself up for success, you need to make sure you have all of the right tools on hand. Not only will this help you speed the process up, but it’ll also keep you safe. A sampling of integral tools and supplies include:

  • Crowbar
  • Chisel
  • Sledgehammer
  • Hammer
  • Work gloves
  • Contractor trash bags
  • Buckets
  • Shop vac
  • Utility knife

Combine these tools with a little bit of elbow grease and you can rip up and haul off just about anything.

4. Get Some Help

Even with all the right tools, handling a demolition of any size isn’t realistically a one-person job. You’re going to need some help.

If you know what you’re doing, you can get just about anyone to help out. All they’ll be doing is helping haul stuff off or rip things out. If you’re less experienced, it may be worth it to hire someone with some contracting experience to make the process go faster.

5. Don’t Be So Cautious

Home improvement jobs normally require you to be pretty cautious. You don’t want to ding walls or break important parts. With a demolition, you don’t have to be nearly as careful. You have the ability to really get to work and move fast. If nothing else, this allows you to have a little fun.

6. Figure Out a Plan for Trash

You’re going to produce a lot of trash during your demolition. Don’t wait until you’ve started tearing things out to figure out what you’re going to do with all of it. For large scale demolitions, the best option is to have a dumpster placed in the driveway so you can toss everything directly inside.

You may also be able to contact your local waste management provider and see what they suggest. Most construction debris is recyclable – including concrete, tile, porcelain, plastics, lumber, metal, masonry, rock, insulation, and carpet – so keep this in mind.

7. Over-budget

“A typical project of ours has a 10% budget contingency. This contingency is used for all the surprises that pop up during construction, a price hike in plywood or whatever it is that could come out of left field during the process,” one builder explains. “Because there are so many unknowns and variables in the demolition phase, a disproportional amount of the contingency is inevitably consumed.”

If a professional contractor performing regular demos is unable to accurately predict the price of a demo, you certainly won’t be able to develop a precise budget. Leave yourself plenty of wiggle room so that you don’t get stuck in the middle of the job without the funds to continue.

8. Know What You’re Getting Yourself Into

Demolitions are fun, but they aren’t as easy as they look. Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into ahead of time. If you don’t think you’re up for the task, hire a crew to come out and do it for you.

Contact Green Residential

Whether you’re buying, selling, or looking for help managing rental properties, Green Residential is here to help. We’ve been in the Houston real estate industry for more than 30 years and, over that time, have established a reputation for being open, honest, and extremely knowledgeable. For assistance with any or all of your real estate needs, please contact us at your earliest convenience!

Tiffany Ferdus

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