How to Demolish My Old Home & Sell Recycled Materials

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Some houses are only good for materials.
Some houses are only good for materials. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

The word "demolish" elicits images of a steel ball crashing through a house and reducing it to rubble. If you want to recycle your building materials, this isn't what you will be doing. "Deconstruction" is a better term for house removal that leaves components in usable condition. Although you will inevitably destroy elements like plaster and mortar, you'll be able to save nearly everything else if you are careful in your home deconstruction.

Things You'll Need

  • Sawzall
  • Sledgehammer
  • Hammer
  • Crowbar
  • Hard hat
  • Gloves
  • Steel toed boots
  • Chainsaw

Take Apart the House

Make a plan for deconstruction before you remove a single nail. Hire people or get friends to help you, and prepare trailers, trucks or space in the yard to put all of the materials. Make the necessary arrangements for trucking away rubble that is of no use.

Consult with your local municipality to find out what permits are necessary to remove a house. If you are in a rural area and outside village boundaries, this may be a simple process. If you are taking down a house in the middle of a residential street, you may have to adhere to strict regulations.

Remove materials from inside to outside and then from top to bottom. Begin inside the house by removing finish trim, moldings, banisters, wainscoting and staircases. After this, take out all salvageable hardwood flooring, then remove the windows.

Remove the roofing from the exterior after you finish stripping the interior. If it is asphalt roofing, it will probably not be salvageable. Metal roofing will be usable, though it might incur damage during removal. Slate is very valuable and you should remove it carefully to minimize damage.

Strip all the siding off the walls of the house. This should leave you with a bare frame. Take the frame apart carefully to supply yourself with a large pile of useful framing wood.

Sell the Materials

Approach prospective buyers before you take the house apart. You may find people who will come and take the materials away as it becomes available, which saves you from storage issues. You may even find a buyer who, for a lower price, will take the house down himself and save you the trouble.

Sell special features such as slate roofing, stained glass windows and clawfoot bathtubs to an architectural salvage company. Items like these are worth a substantive amount of money in the specialty market.

Advertise lumber and building materials on local buy and sell websites such as Kijiji or Craigslist. Many people who are looking for a bargain look at these websites regularly, and will respond to an ad for reasonably priced building lumber.

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