Demolition 101: A Beginner's Guide to Demo

a beginners guide to demolition

On this page, we discuss...


House Demolition

House is demolished using an excavator

How do I get started with house demolition?

The first step toward getting your house demolished involves getting your home inspected, then you'll need to collect the necessary permits.

Your demolition contractor should help you with the permitting process, but be sure to clarify this with them when getting a quote for the project.
 

Typically, the house demolition process involves the following steps...

Step 1: Get the building inspected.

Step 2: Acquire the necessary permits.

Step 3: Disconnect existing services.

Step 4: Tear down the house.

Step 5: Haul away the debris.

How does a house get demolished?

The two most common ways to demolish a house are either traditional, mechanical demolition with the assistance of heavy equipment, or by tearing down the house by hand (also known as deconstruction).

Comparison of demolition methods - mechanical and by hand

Traditional Mechanical Demolition

Mechanical demolition is the most common form of demolition—the house is ripped down with the help of hydraulic excavators and other heavy machinery.

The resulting debris is then hauled away via trailer or dumpster.

Deconstruction

Also known as "green demolition" or "demolition by hand," deconstruction is the process of manually stripping and deconstructing the house piece by piece with the intent of salvaging as many of the materials inside the home as possible.

Another option is a combination of the two—partially deconstructing your home by hand before having the rest of the house demolished with an excavator—and is a way to save some money on demolition.
 

Learn more about house demolition:

How much does house demolition cost?

Traditional mechanical demolition is the cheapest and fastest house demolition option, costing $4,000 - $14,000 on average.

Because of the additional labor involved, you can expect to pay 2 - 3x as much to have your home deconstructed by hand.

Just as there's more than one way to demolish a house, demolition costs vary, too.

Main Factors Affecting House Demolition Costs:

  • Size of your home
  • Materials your home was built with
  • Location of your home
  • Demolition method used
  • Contractor you hire

Keep reading about house demolition costs:


Find a house demolition contractor near you


Barn Demolition

Barn demolition performed with an excavator

How does barn demolition work?

Barn demolition is pretty straightforward and typically involves using an excavator to tear down all that wood.

However, reclaimed wood can be highly valuable, so carefully dismantling all that wood could pay off.

How much does barn demolition cost?

On average, barn demolition costs $5,804. However, prices can range anywhere from $1,200 - $25,000 depending on the barn's size, your location, how easy it is to access the site, and the contractor you choose.

Learn more about barn demolition:


Find a barn demolition contractor near you


Interior Demolition

Interior demolition with a sledgehammer

How does the interior demolition process work?

Before starting any interior demolition, you'll need to get a permit for the work and make sure all utilities are turned off.

If you're hiring a contractor to perform the interior demolition work, they likely will handle the permitting process for you, so always be sure to ask about this when getting quotes from potential contractors.

Keep reading about interior demolition:

How much does interior demolition cost per square foot?

Interior demolition costs $3,811 on average but can range anywhere from $500 to $12,000.

As with most demolition jobs, the exact size and complexity of the interior demolition project will affect the overall cost.

Your exact interior demolition cost will depend on precisely the amount of work you're having done.

Plumbing, load-bearing walls, asbestos—these are the #1 culprits for hiking up interior demolition costs.

Learn more about interior demo costs:


Find an interior demolition contractor in your area


Mobile Home Removal

How is a mobile home removed?

There are multiple ways to get rid of a mobile home—demolition, deconstruction, relocation, donation, or resale.

Mobile home demolition and removal options

The most common form of mobile home removal is mobile home demolition, and it involves the following steps:

Step 1: Get a permit.

Step 2: Tear down mobile home.

Step 3: Separate salvageable materials.

Step 4: Haul away the remaining debris.

How much does it cost to demolish a mobile home?

The national average cost to demolish a mobile home is $3.50 per square foot.

Average Cost to Demolish or Remove a Mobile Home
Mobile Home Type Dimensions Sq. Ft. Cost to Demolish
Singlewide mobile home (short) 50 ft. L x 15 ft. W 750 sq. ft. $2,625
Singlewide mobile home (long) 72 ft. L x 15 ft. W 1,080 sq. ft. $3,780
Doublewide mobile home (short) 56 ft L x 26 ft. W 1,456 sq. ft. $5,096
Doublewide mobile home (long) 72 ft. L x 26 ft. W 1,872 sq. ft. $6,552

Keep reading about mobile home demolition:


Find a mobile home removal contractor in your area


Pool Removal

Complete inground pool removal

How is a swimming pool removed?

There are two ways to demolish or remove an inground swimming pool: completely remove the pool, debris and all, or remove the top layer and bury the rest of the debris.

Inground Pool Removal Method 1: Partial Removal (Pool Fill In)

Partial pool removal and pool fill-in is the most common form of pool demolition. It involves:

  • Draining the pool
  • Punching holes into the bottom
  • Demolishing the top layer of the pool (18" - 36")
  • Placing the rubble at the bottom of the pool
  • Filling in the pool with additional dirt and topsoil
  • Compacting the soil

Inground Pool Removal Method 2: Complete Inground Pool Removal

With complete pool removal, the pool is drained, and all materials (e.g. concrete/Gunite, fiberglass, liner, re-bar, etc.) are removed and hauled away.

The area is then filled with dirt and/or gravel and is compacted and returned to grade.

Above Ground Pool Removal

Removing an above ground pool is straightforward—turn off and disconnect the water hook up, drain the pool, and haul it away.

How much does it cost to remove or fill in a pool?

Inground pool removal costs $6,571 on average, but prices can range anywhere from $3,500 - $7,000 on average.

Inground pool removal costs can balloon to well over $10,000 depending on the size and complexity of your pool.

The national average cost to remove an above ground pool is $2,197 but can vary depending on the size, material, and location of the pool.

Learn more about pool removal:


Find a pool removal contractor near you


Concrete Removal

Concrete driveway removal using excavator

How does concrete removal work?

There are several tools that concrete demolition contractors can use to remove concrete. Two of the most commonly used tools include...

  • A Bobcat equipped with a hydraulic or pneumatic breaker attachment
  • A jackhammer

Usually, the contractor will also bring a roll-off dumpster to the site. Once the concrete is broken, the Bobcat loads it into the dumpster and hauls it away to a landfill or concrete recycler.

How much does concrete removal cost?

The national average cost to remove concrete is $989; however, this cost can vary immensely depending on...

  • the amount of concrete that needs to be removed
  • disposal fees
  • your location

If contractors in your area are able to haul the concrete to a recycler, you can save a significant amount of money by no longer having to pay "per ton" dump fees at the landfill.

Here are a few examples of professionally done concrete removal prices:

1. A relatively small patio or sidewalk (200 sq ft) costs $400 - $600 in some parts of the country, but the cost can be significantly more if the concrete cannot be recycled.

2. A typical two-car driveway costs $1,500 - $2,500+, but this is highly dependent on the overall size of the driveway. Also, if the driveway was completed with reinforced concrete, it's more difficult to remove and the cost to remove it will likely go up.

3. A concrete foundation generally costs $2,000 - $5,000.

Keep reading about concrete removal:


Find a concrete removal contractor near you


Oil Tank Removal

Underground oil tank removal using an excavator

How does oil tank removal work?

Before the tank can be removed, it needs to be taken out of service and properly "closed," which involves emptying the tank and pipes of any heating oil and thoroughly cleaning it in order to eliminate any residual oil and vapors.

If there's no sign that the tank leaked, the tank is cleaned and deemed "closed."

It is then dug up out of the ground, lifted onto a trailer, and hauled away to be properly disposed of and reused/recycled when possible.

How much does oil tank removal cost?

On average, it costs between $1,300 and $3,000 to remove an oil tank.

However, underground oil tanks are more expensive to remove than above ground tanks.

In addition, if your tank is leaking, the removal and clean-up process could rocket as high as $30,000 in some cases.

Keep reading about oil tank removal:


Demolition Debris Disposal

Demolition debris is best disposed with a dumpster

The best way to dispose of demolition debris is with a dumpster, although sometimes the demolition contractor you hire will handle the debris disposal for you and include disposal fees in their demolition price.

For large demolition projects, a 30-yard dumpster or 40-yard dumpster would be the best choice.

Learn more about dumpster sizing and dumpster pricing to make sure you don't overpay.

Find a local dumpster rental service provider near you.

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