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Do-It-Yourself House Demolition

Updated November 21, 2016

Demolishing your own house can seem like a daunting task if you're thinking of doing it yourself. But with the cost of having it done professionally ranging from £9,750 to £19,500, making a DIY job out of it can potentially save you a lot of money. With some basic equipment, a small team of assistants and a willingness to get your hands really dirty, there is no reason you shouldn't be able to handle the demolition yourself.

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  1. Apply for and obtain all the proper permits from your city or municipal government. The laws regarding home demolition will vary from one jurisdiction to another, but most cities and municipalities probably require one or even several permits before you conduct your own demolition.

  2. Contact your local utility companies and make sure that they disconnect the water, electrical and gas lines from your home. Cutting these off isn't simply a matter of tearing them out as you please. The pipes and lines have to be professionally disabled at a junction point that's well away from your demolition zone.

  3. Ensure that there are no toxic substances in your home before you demolish. Some old houses contain asbestos; and before doing your own demo work, you should have it and anything like it professionally removed.

  4. Seal off the perimeter of your property with interlocking portable fencing. This can be rented from various contractor supply shops or fence rental companies. You may wish to save money by using caution tape, but this could backfire badly if an intruder accesses your property too easily and is severely injured as a result. The fencing will act as a more secure way of containing the potentially dangerous demolition site.

  5. Rent an excavator and begin demolition by caving in the walls and allowing the house to collapse on its own as much as possible. The more the house crumbles by itself, the less you have to demolish piece by piece, thus saving you rental time and lowering your costs. Use the excavator scoop to break large pieces down into smaller ones.

  6. Rent a large garbage container, possibly even several of them, and scoop all the pieces of the demolished house into it. Use space efficiently by making sure the pieces aren't too large. fill the container or containers completely and try not to allow empty pockets to form inside them. The more you place into each bin, the fewer bins you will have to rent. This will save you quite a bit of money.

  7. Tip

    Separate and remove any valuable scrap metal from the house instead of throwing it away. Piping and other metals can be sold to junk yards for some extra cash.


    Always wear a hard hat and steel toed boots while working on your demolition site. You may not be on a big job site, but safety is just as important.

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Things You'll Need

  • Excavator
  • Sledge Hammers
  • Pry bars
  • Metal fencing
  • Large garbage bin

About the Author

Stephan Sawyer is a writer and translator from Vancouver, Canada, currently living in Central America. He has been writing and translating for various clients since 2007, specializing in topics related to business, marketing and finance. Sawyer studied communications in university and is a fluent Spanish speaker.

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