Do-It-Yourself Demolition

by Rachel Laurendeau on September 25, 2012

If you are about to start on a renovation project, chances are, you are looking for ways to cut back on some of the costs. One great way to do this is to take on some of the work yourself. Doing your own demolition is a great way to reduce the labor costs associated with home improvements, not to mention a fun way to let out a little pent up stress.

Are you starting a basement or bathroom remodeling, renovating a kitchen or taking out walls? These are great projects to get involved in when it comes to demolition.

Should You Do It Yourself?
A few questions to ask yourself before you start (be completely honest!):
• What is your level of ability and knowledge?
• Do you have the required tools and safety equipment? (Sometimes, the money you would save by doing the demos yourself is spent on safety equipment and tool rental.)
• Are you comfortable using the required tools?
• How much time can you commit to the project?
• Do you have a contractor lined up to finish the work as soon as you’re done with the demolition? You don’t want to be living in a construction zone any longer than you have to.
• Are there any building code requirements or permits required for the work you’ll be doing?
• Does your homeowners’ insurance cover you in case of accidents during DIY renovations?

Safety First!
Whether you are experienced and handy around the house or a rookie at do-it-yourself projects, you need to put your personal safety first. The exact type of work that you’re doing will determine the personal protective equipment that you need but at a very minimum you will require proper work boots or shoes, safety goggles, work gloves and a dust mask or respirator.

Straightforward DIY Demos
Not all demos should be seen as potential DIY projects; there are certainly some things that inexperienced homeowners should steer clear from doing. To get you started, here are just few ideas of basic demos that we, as homeowners, need not shy away from, so long as we do the research ahead of time.

• Ripping out old carpet, underlayment and baseboards
• Pulling out old flooring (laminate, wood, tile, etc.)
• Removing toilets, sinks and plumbing fixtures
• Taking out countertops
• Taking out vanities, kitchen cabinets and cupboards
• Removing lighting fixtures, ceiling fans and mirrors
• Removing ceramic tile in the bathroom, kitchen or mudroom
• Removing doors and casings
• Removing walls (once you have checked with an engineer or contractor to make sure it is not load bearing and does not contain any plumbing, electrical wiring or heating ducts)

Green Tip: often, when we think of demolition, we automatically think of sledgehammers and destruction. However, just because you no longer want your kitchen cabinets (or whatever else you are removing), does not mean that they can’t be of use to someone else in their home renovation or basement remodeling, provided they are still in good condition. Instead of bashing things up and sending them to the landfill, why not take them out more gently and donate them or sell them?

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