Tearing down a home can be a large expense depending on your method. It takes permits and sometimes prayers to get things done the right way. The demolition can be straightforward, but that doesn’t make it less intimidating. There is a lot of money on the line, and since time is money, having a timeline to stick to can add to the stress of a project. But there are multiple ways to tear down a home and by using the method that best fits your needs, you may hopefully end up with a little extra cash in your budget.
The two most common ways to tear down a home is either through mechanical demolition or deconstruction. Choosing which option is best for you is just the start of many decisions to come, so be smart about it. Mechanical demolition is the most traditional route utilizing hydraulic excavators and other heavy machinery. Any debris that is left is then hauled away in a trailer or dumpster, making it the fastest and cheapest solution. If you happen to have knowledge of the machinery used, you can rent the machinery and do the mechanical demolition yourself. If you choose to do it yourself, be sure to remember to turn off all electrical, plumbing, and gas connections.
Deconstruction is the manual stripping of the home piece by piece. This method takes much longer and costs more than a typical demolition since labor costs will be added. Delays can cost money, and it will definitely rack up your labor costs, so mechanical might be the most efficient option. However, deconstruction does offer the added benefit of allowing you to reuse materials.
*Added tip: If you contact your local fire department about wanting to demolish your home, you can offer it up as a training facility for the firefighters. If chosen to do this, the fire department will do the bulk of the demolition for you for free and then you are only responsible for the debris and waste.
- Find the right contractor.
When looking for a contractor, it’s important to find that happy medium. You want this professional to be qualified and knowledgeable about what you expect them to do, but you also don’t want them overcharging you for their services. Do your research and find several candidates that are willing to give you bids on the project at hand. You can also search home help websites, which often show professionals within your area. This can potentially give you ratings on their previous projects as well as personal reviews from past clients. Just because a contractor gives you a bid that is less than all the others, it doesn’t mean you should automatically go with the cheapest option. Cheap sometimes means that corners are cut, which would not be a good situation during demolition.
If you choose deconstruction versus demolition, you would be able to salvage and donate a lot of items within the structure. Building materials like windows, doors, plumbing fixtures, and lighting can all be salvaged to sell, use, or donate. Additionally, if everything in the home is in decent shape, you can try to sell it off or donate it with better success. Materials such as exterior cladding, interior wall finish, trim work, countertops, and cabinets can all be donated. The best part is that it’s tax-deductible, so while you might save money up front with a demolition, depending on the location, age, and condition of your home, the salvaged materials could end up paying for the entire project.
- Recycle building materials.
For those of you that are environmentally conscience, an additional alternative is to aid in recycling all materials. You can do research and see if there are any organizations or charities that can assist in the deconstruction of a house, oftentimes free of charge. Many local sectors of Habitat for Humanity have deconstruction programs in which professional teams come to your house and do the deconstructing for you. This keeps materials out of landfills, supports your local programs, and is tax-deductible.