Safe demolition practices for home renovation

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A number of renovations require demolition. The process can be costly, difficult, and dangerous. It can also cause major damage to your renovation project.

You should approach demolition as a complete project, and not just as a prelude to renovating. You don’t have to do demolition work. However, there are professionals who do it all. You can think of yourself as a “demo” person for a while. Don’t rush the job. Once demolition is completed and cleanup is done, it’s time to start renovation. Many remodeling projects end up in trouble when the demolition phase spills over into the construction phase. This can often lead to wasted effort.

Warn!

To ensure your safety, make sure that electricity and water are turned off in the demo area. You don’t want to cut into any live wires or punch into a pressurized water supply line. You can use an extension cord to lighten the room.

Preparing for Demo

After electricity and water have been turned off, you can begin to prepare the area for demo.

  • You need the right tools. Just like you choose a drill or saw for a project in construction, you should also select the proper tools for destruction. A sledgehammer, prybar, crowbar, and a crowbar are all essential. Anything else, and it will be damaged and even broken. For most major demolition projects, a reciprocating saw will be necessary. A demo fork is useful when removing roofing or floor materials. It is important to have a wheelbarrow to transport debris to the dumpster.
  • Choose the right outfit. Safety is more important than fashion. To avoid stepping on screws and nails, wear thick-soled boots. If you are doing something very dirty, such as tearing down a ceiling, you can purchase disposable paper covers to cover your clothes. A pair of good knee pads is a must if you’re doing any work that requires hands and knees. A back support belt is a great option if you are going to be lifting heavy objects and doing heavy work. When working overhead, wear a hard hat made of sturdy plastic.
  • Seal the area where the demo is taking place: Any openings in drywall or plaster dust can cause problems and spread to other parts of the house. It is not enough to close a door during demolition. You can seal the openings with plastic sheets and attach them with blue tape. Cover up any cold air returns and air ducts, as a lot of dust can get distributed by forced air HVAC systems.
  • You can rent a dumpster instead of making multiple trips to the landfill. It is a smart idea to rent a dumpster with a dropgate. This makes it easier to load it with debris using a wheelbarrow.

Demo

It’s not a simple job to demolish a home. You should always have someone to help you with safety precautions, especially if you are removing kitchen cabinets. Keep these other things in mind:

  • Use a dust mask or respirator. Use a dust mask to filter out the majority of particles.

Warn!

If you are removing dust from an old house, a HEPA respirator will be the best choice. Asbestos, lead-based paint and other dangers could be present.

  • Find out what lies below (or behind) the wall. Before you swing that sledgehammer, or crowbar at the wall, find out what’s behind it. Are there live electrical wires? What is a water pipe? Gas lines? Asbestos? What is asbestos?
  • Keep your surroundings clean. Renting a dumpster bin is a great option for demo projects of any size. You can avoid multiple trips to the dump by renting a dumpster bin.

When you’re done

Demolition is messy, even if you’re doing it as you go. Hire a hauling company to finish the job before you begin the renovation. These are more cost-effective than the roll off, but they’re great for smaller projects than a roll-off. If you are removing a small to medium-sized bathroom, it may be a good idea to dump all the debris on your back patio and let the hauling company handle it.

Final step: sweep the entire area. As you begin active construction, it is best to start with a clean slate. Even a quick damp mopping can be a good idea. Next, you will need to clean out any open walls and subfloors before applying drywall or flooring.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Dia is the Editorial Assistant at dialogoreligioso.org, covering Exterior, Kitchen, home Yard, Poolhouse, and more.

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