Homeowner’s Guide to Demolishing a House

House demolition is a relatively straightforward and uncomplicated process. However, that doesn’t make it any less intimidating if this is the first time you’ve decided to remove a structure.  If the thought of tearing down a house makes you want to run away screaming, fear not.

At Just Take It, LLC, we’ve compiled a guide of 10 steps to demolishing your house.

  1. Determine which demolition method is right for you.

There’s more than one way to take apart a house, so the number one on your to-do list is to decide which type of demolition is best for you.

Mechanical demolition

This is the most common form of demolition—the act of simply tearing down the house with the help of hydraulic excavators and other heavy machinery. The resulting debris is then hauled away via trailer or dumpster.

Mechanical demolition is the cheapest and fastest solution, costing between $4,000 and $14,000 on average.


Also known as “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. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, deconstruction projects can recycle or reuse more than 70% of building materials, such as lumber, beams, doors, windows and more.

Because everything is done manually, deconstruction takes much longer and costs significantly more than typical demolition methods—sometimes twice as much.

Interior demolition crews individually take off doors, light fixtures, sinks, tubs, copper pipes, glass from windows…even the nails in the floorboards can be removed and recycled.

Because of the additional labor involved, expect to pay 2 to 3 times as much to deconstruct your home rather than demolish it.

Deconstruction + Demolition

The most highly recommended form of demolition is the combination of deconstruction and demolition. This includes the act of deconstructing the house first by going through and salvaging a portion of the reusable materials.

Once all desired materials capable of being saved and reused are collected, the remaining structure is then demolished, and remaining debris is hauled away.

This is a great solution for those who want their demo process to be efficientaffordableand environmentally responsible.

  1. Find the right contractor for the job.

Let Just Take It, LLC help you choose the best way to wreck and remove your house.

They will meet you at the site and go over possible solutions. As demolition experts, they’ll be able to thoroughly discuss your options.

Get proposals or estimates in writing.

  1. Have your home inspected by a professional.

Ask your Just Take It, LLC what the inspection requirements in your area are.

Most states require that older homes/buildings be inspected prior to demolition for the presence of:

  • asbestos
  • lead paint
  • mold
  • rotted wood
  • other hazardous materials

If the home contains asbestos or lead paint, proper procedures for remediation need to be followed.

  1. Get the necessary permits.

A permit will typically need to be pulled prior to starting the demolition. This is available at your local City Hall; check your city’s government website for more information. The exact permit(s) necessary will depend on your local and state laws and regulations.

Your city or county government may also have rules for house demolition related to:

  • notifications
  • noise
  • hours of demolition
  • disposal of the debris
  1. Disconnect existing services.

There are a variety of utilities and services that must be disconnected before demolition:

  • electricity
  • water
  • sewage
  • gas

BEWARE: Electricity and gas pose a particularly dangerous health risk if still active when demolition takes place.

Surrounding supply sources can also be damaged if services have not been properly terminated. Neighboring homes can be at risk of losing services, and local power, gas, water, or drainage infrastructure can be affected, too.

  1. Ensure that the area is safe for others.

In addition to shutting off utilities, make sure adjacent buildings and walkways are protected by putting up debris-containing temporary fencing, like the kinds shown above.

Helpful Hint: It also doesn’t hurt to have a conversation with your neighbors before the mess and noise start up. Let them know of the work being done. Having the patience of your neighbors will only make the demolition process easier.

  1. Arrange for salvage.

If you have any salvageable materials in the home, work with your contractor to recover recyclable or reusable materials that can be resold or donated. There are several organizations and charities that can assist in the deconstruction of a house, often times free of charge.

  1. Tear down the house.

This can take anywhere from one day to several days. Home demolition generally involves a large, hydraulic excavator tearing down the house and putting the unwanted house materials into the back of a truck or dumpster.

However, if are choosing to go the route of deconstruction—whether partial or complete—this process can take much longer.

  1. Remove all the debris.

Remove all demolition debris from the site, leaving the site clean. Typically, this means the removal of everything “down to the dirt,” including removal of the house’s foundation.

  1. Prepare for what’s next.

If you’re rebuilding on the same site, your demolition contractor can often times use much of the same heavy equipment to prepare your site for the new house, whether grading or basement excavation is needed.

When Do I Need a Demolition Company?

Even though demand fluctuates with the economy, construction is one of those industries in which there is always work to be done. This is because—in addition to demand for new construction—existing buildings age, become outdated, and need to be renovated or replaced. If you are embarking on a residential or commercial construction or renovation project, and you are wondering whether you may benefit from the services of a demolition professional, continue reading this article.

Home or Office Renovation
Has the time come for you to make some upgrades to the interior or exterior of your home or business space? If so, a trained and experienced demolition professional can do any dismantling that is necessary to prepare your building for the renovation work that is to be carried out.

Building Deconstruction
Do you plan to tear down an existing structure and build your home or office in its place? A demolition professional can deconstruct the existing building for you, taking care to preserve building materials that you wish to recycle or reuse.

Backyard Remodeling
Backyard remodeling projects can drastically improve a home’s atmosphere. If you are considering gutting and redesigning your Toledo Ohio or surrounding area home’s swimming pool, knocking down a porch to build a new one, eliminating a retaining wall you are no longer fond of, or regrading/leveling land for your new garden or other backyard fixture, the services of a skilled demolition professional will come in handy.

Commercial Demolition
Sometimes it is more cost-effective to tear down a commercial building that no longer meets state or federal building codes than it is to renovate it. Other times, property owners decide to demolish a building simply because its best days have passed and the space it occupies could serve a better purpose were the existing commercial building demolished. Commercial demolition is not a do-it-yourself endeavor, but a highly reputed demolition service can work with you to ensure that the building is deconstructed or demolished in accordance with your wishes (and the law).

Are you a property owner in, or around Toledo, Ohio? Are you interested in renovation, or do you need to demolish a properly? If so, Just Take It, LLC is your choice.  Our team of demolition professionals is licensed, skilled and insured. To find out how we can properly remove your structure, please call the office to schedule one of our representatives to come out and give you an estimate for your project.

What Exactly Is Demolition?

What exactly is demolition?
Demolition is a complex set of tasks involving structural dismantlement, site clearance, environmental remediation, salvage, recycling, and industrial recovery.

Demolition is a highly sophisticated craft which involves the use of hydraulic equipment with specialized attachments, cranes, loaders, wrecking balls and in some cases explosives.

What is in the demolition commodity stream?
As most of the materials generated on a demolition project have a market value they are not considered waste. On most demolition projects 90% of this material is recycled, salvaged or reused. Typical commodities generated on a demolition project site include:

  • Concrete and other aggregate materials including brick, porcelain, etc.
  • Metals including iron, steel, copper, brass, bronze and other exotic metallic commodities
  • Insulating material
  • Ceiling tiles
  • Flooring and carpets
  • Wiring and conduit
  • Plasterboard
  • Wood
  • Soils
  • Roofing materials
  • Carpet

What is interior demolition?
Interior demolition is the non-structural demolishing of spaces within a structure usually in preparation for reuse and upgrading of the space. This work includes interior wall and ceiling removal, demolition of flooring and some utility services, salvage, and selective structural demolition.

What is explosive demolition or implosion?
The use of explosives to implode a structure is a relatively small part of the demolition process however, it can prove very effective and time efficient. It is a highly specialized part of the demolition process requiring an in-depth knowledge of the nature of structures and the use of explosives. Contractors performing this work, often as subcontractors to a conventional demolition company who perform the site preparation and clearance work are usually licensed professionals.

What is industrial demolition?
Industrial demolition is the dismantlement of structures or facilities used in the production of goods. This work can be done at chemical plants, oil refineries, manufacturing facilities and the like. It often involves the environmental remediation of hazardous substances that were part of the industrial process and potentially contaminated the site. Industrial demolition can be a complex undertaking involving sophisticated engineering, specialized rigging, and complex industrial hygiene requirements.

What is a high reach and how is it used in demolition?
High reach units can involve the use of super long boom arms with specialized hydraulic attachments mounted on excavator platforms. These units are designed to allow access to tall structures, often 20 stories or more, and safe demolition of the building within its footprint.

What is commercial demolition?
Commercial demolition is the partial or complete dismantlement of commercial properties such as office buildings, shopping malls, hotels and the like.

What is deconstruction?
Deconstruction is defined as the labor-intensive demolition of a structure in order to maximize the amount of potentially recyclable materials from the building. It often involved a considerable amount of hand demolition and sort separation in preparation for marketing the structure’s components.

How exactly are demolition and deconstruction different?
Considering that conventional demolition contractors routinely recycled up to 90% of the material generated on a typical demolition site, there is little difference between the two methods of demolition save the labor-intensive nature of deconstruction.

Is demolition a regulated industry?

Demolition contractors are some of the most regulated construction industry professionals. As they are working on structures that are often damaged by fire, weather, or structural deficiency, most demolition projects require permit review by local municipal building departments. As demolition contractors handle hazardous materials and toxic substances there are a host of municipal, state and federal environmental regulations that govern the industry’s operations. As demolition is a dynamic craft and contractors are dealing with a variety of structures, the industry’s health and safety regulations are very strong. Many states have their own health & safety rules and the Federal Government’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s (OSHA) Construction Standard (29 CFR 1926) contains a specific section on demolition operations.

Does demolition involve historic conservation?
Demolition contractors, because of their experience and knowledge of the nature of structures, often have considerable expertise in historic preservation. They understand what structural elements can be saved and how to assure that the integrity of an historic structure can be maintained.

Asbestos and demolition
Asbestos is an insulating and sound attenuating product that is used as pipe and ceiling insulation, sprayed-on fireproofing, and a variety of other uses. It can also be contained in flooring, roofing materials and some cement products. Overexposure to asbestos can cause health problems. Asbestos abatement, the safe removal of asbestos, is a major part of the demolition process. It is highly regulated, and its safe handling and disposal is a major segment of the demolition market.