How to Tear Down a Garage

tear down your old garage

Updated May 15, 2023

If you have an old or unwanted garage sitting on your property, garage demolition is a great solution. Learn the garage demolition process, who to hire to assist with garage demolition, and more.

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Garage Demolition Process

1. Get permits from your local building department.

The first step in demolition is to get whatever permits your local building department requires for a garage demolition. Some areas will require you to get a permit to do the work, but some cities do not.

If you are required to get a permit, you will likely need to pay a fee, averaging $100-$200.

2. Turn off gas, water, and electricity.

With proper permit(s) in hand, the next steps are to turn off the gas, water, and electricity (if applicable).

If there is a sub-panel in the garage, you'll be able to turn off the breaker for it in the main panel.

Disconnect and cap off branch lines for gas and water, including water lines that feed any hose bibbs on the outside of the garage.

Next, remove any wallboard as needed to pull out wiring and pipes in the walls.

Most of these materials will be recyclable or reusable, so set them aside:

  • Metal pipes
  • PVC pipes
  • Electrical wires
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Electrical fixtures
  • Gas fixtures

3. Remove roofing materials. 

Lay tarps and plywood sheets down to catch all the roofing debris.

Start at the peak of the roof, using a garden fork, pry bar, or claw hammer to remove the ridge cap. From there, pull up on the shingles to remove them sheet-by-sheet.

Pile the roofing debris in a dumpster, trailer, or truck bed. This will make disposal much easier and will keep the work site safe when compared to simply throwing the debris on the ground below.

If the roof is still sound, the plywood sheathing underneath the shingles may be reusable and worth saving.

4. Remove any trim.

Before you can remove the siding, pry off any window or door trim using a pry bar or claw hammer.

5. Tear off garage siding.

If there’s still some life left in the siding, do your best to salvage and reuse these materials for another project.

6. Rip out the drywall.

Drywall on the interior walls is not recyclable, so there is no need to try and salvage it. Carefully break it apart and dispose of it.

7. Remove garage door(s).

This will require at least two people. Open the door completely, then clamp or lock it into position to keep the door from closing.

Then, safely release the tension in the cables and remove the springs without any danger. *This may be best left to a professional, as the garge door spring is under heavy tension.

8. Pull out windows.

Wear gloves and safety goggles to protect yourself, and store the windows and in a dry, safe place. You could also sell these to a local salvage yard or donate them.

9. Dismantle the framing.

Pull apart the framing using a pry bar and hammer. You will want another person to help you take down large, heavy pre-built roof trusses. De-nail each framing unit as you remove it, setting them aside to take to your local waste facility’s metal recycling section.

10. Determine what to do with the slab.

If there’s a slab to deal with, your next course of action will depend on whether or not you want to rebuild a garage in its place.

If you simply want to rebuild another structure on top of the slab, then you’re done with your demolition.

But, if you want to lay grass seed or build a playground in its spot, then you’ll want to break up the concrete slab using a jackhammer. This is incredibly laborious work and requires careful and separate disposal. A separate dumpster for concrete is necessary in this case.

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Find a Garage Demolition Professional

Tearing down any structure is more challenging than meets the eye, and doing it improperly could lead to serious injury or damage to nearby property.

Debris removal is messy and can be relatively expensive. Not to mention, in order to get the work done safely, you’ll need to have many tools on-hand, which can be expensive if you don’t already have the equipment.

For DIY-ers, some of the basic tools you would need to safely tear down a garage:

  • Safety equipment (glasses, gloves, work boots, etc.)
  • Claw hammer
  • Metal garden rake
  • Pry bar
  • Ladder
  • Tarps and drop cloths
  • Hand saw
  • Drill
  • Pliers
  • Heavy-duty broom
  • Adjustable wrench

When you hire a professional to remove your garage, they handle the permitting process, the tear-down, the debris removal, and oftentimes whatever comes after. All the work is handled for you in a streamlined and cost-effective manner.

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