How To Demolish Your House

You love your neighborhood. The people are warm and neighborly. The scenes are calm and serene. Yep, everything about where you live is perfect...besides your house. Whether you bought a house simply for this angelic neighborhood or your existing house is beyond saving, sometimes home demolition makes sense. “Demolishing a house? That sounds like a lot of work.” Well...it is. But it’s still often an option. In this piece, we’re going to look at how to go about full-house demolition.

Figure out which home demolition technique makes the most sense.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat and there are different ways to tear down a house. The main ways to demolish a house are deconstruction or mechanical demolition. Both of these methods have their own benefits. Deconstruction, meaning ripping the house apart by hand, is extremely labor intensive, but a great way to recycle the home’s materials. Much of a home’s internal components can be recycled — maybe even in the home you’ll build in its place! However, if time is of the essence and you won’t lose sleep over throwing your entire house in a landfill, mechanical demolition would be the speedier option. Mechanical demolition is using heavy machinery to reduce the home to a pile of rubbish to be thrown into dumpsters. While you’ll probably choose one or the other of these methods, both methods are frequently used together on home demolitions. Internal pieces and highly recyclable materials can be removed, leaving the frame and other structures to be demolished with heavy mechanical equipment. If neither of these techniques for you, you can always see about having a fire department use your house for training exercises before they burn it to the ground. Well, that doesn’t happen very often, but it never hurts to ask!

Figure out which demolition company or contractor will do so.

As cathartic as it sounds to knock your own home to the ground, you probably don’t have the strength or know-how to completely level a house. When shopping around for demolition companies or contractors, don’t simply go hiring sledgehammer-slinging randos off of the internet. Make sure you choose a fully licensed, fully insurance demolition professional to handle your home demolition. Ask them about what kinds of homes they’ve demolished before. Experience is the key to avoiding unwanted surprises on a home demolition.

Figure out if your house is hiding any secrets prior to demolition.

If you’re wanting to tear a house down, there’s a good chance that this house is not anywhere close to being new. While it wouldn’t seem like a huge deal to just start ripping into the ceiling and knocking down walls, your house could be hiding many potential hazards. Many substances that were common building materials at the time your house was built may actually be extremely dangerous items to be exposed to. Mold, rotten wood, lead paint, and asbestos are just a few materials that can shut your demolition down in a hurry. Before you start tearing the place apart, it pays to have an inspector look in your house for state-regulated materials. It’s not a show-stopper if these materials are found, but they should be dealt with in a responsible and legal manner before any walls start to come down.

Figure out what permits you’re going to need to wreck your place.

If you didn’t think there would be any paperwork involved in leveling a house, you definitely have another thing coming. Before a single hammer makes contact with any part of the house you want history, head to your municipality’s city website or City Hall. Because laws vary from place to place, you will need to find out precisely what permits you will need in order to turn your home into rubble. Even beyond just knocking it down, you’ll probably also need permits to cover trashing debris, demolition times, and how much noise you’ll be able to make. The demolition company you hired for the job will most likely be well-versed in what documentation will be necessary. If they’re not, well, then it’s time to hire a new demolition company.

Figure out which utilities to disconnect and how to do so.

All sorts of utility lines run to your home — lines you will need to disconnect and possibly cap off before it’s go time. Electrical lines, sewage run-off, natural gas lines, and water pipes will need to be dealt with. While your demolition company should be familiar with how to do this, it still doesn’t hurt to consult each utility company on your intentions. Let them know that you’re planning on wiping your house off the face of the earth and ask them how you can do so without creating a geiser or an electrical fire. You’ll be glad you did.

Figure out how to minimize risk to others while demolishing the house.

Before the smashing commences, you’ll want to make sure your demolition site is as safe as possible. Talk with your neighbors about how you’re going to be demolishing your house and listen to their concerns. Let them know how loud it will be, how messy it may be, and how long it will take. The more you communicate with them before the hammers fly, the fewer angry phone calls you’re bound to receive further into the project.  It may also be necessary to fence off certain areas where debris will land with temporary fencing.

Figure out what you’re going to with what used to be your house.

Before your house comes crashing down, the materials will need to be dealt with. Your demolition company should be able to help you connect with refuse and salvage specialists to haul away what used to be your living room. While you’ll need a refuse service to deal with what cannot be recycled, it is frequently worth your time to look for organizations to help with recycling efforts. Many non-profits have programs in place that help make the removal of recyclable and reusable materials much easier on you.

Figure out the best way to yell “it’s clobberin’ time” as you tear down your home.

Here is the fun part — demolition. Demolition may now begin on your home. While exciting, this process can be a bit sentimental and exhausting. It can take anywhere from one day with the right crew and materials to an entire week. Be patient.

Figure out how to hide the evidence...I mean, to remove the refuse.

By this stage in the process, your house is probably just a huge heap of trash. You will need to remove every last scrap of evidence that the house was ever there — including the foundation. When you’re finished, there should be nothing remaining there besides dirt.

Figure out your next steps.

If you wanted your house gone bad enough, there’s a good chance you weren’t just moving. You probably want to start building on the site where your old house once stood. Before you ever started building, let your demolition company or contractor know about your upcoming plans. There’s a good chance that if you’re needing additional excavation or earth-moving on the site before you can begin building a new house, they can include this work at a discount. Again, it never hurts to ask!


There you have it — house demolition from beginning to dirt. If you have a house or anything else you’d like completely wiped off of the face or the earth or even just partially wiped off of the face of the earth, the fully-licenced, fully-insured demolition professionals at DT Specialized Services can help. Let us know what you need demolished and then consider it gone.