A good renovation plan starts with a good demo plan.
Demo comes in all shapes and sizes depending on how involved your project may be. As demo day approaches it’s easy to feel anxious about what may happen, especially if this is your first time.
It’s “interesting” to watch demo day on reality home renovation shows. They make it seem like carefree fun. They’ll use sledgehammers to punch holes in walls and tear down outdated cabinets. It takes only a short time to complete, and the worksite is somehow meticulously clean. Wondering what demo day looks like in real life? Grab your safety goggles, and come take a look…
What is the real process for demolition?
Prior to demo, we work with you to determine all the items that are being reused or saved for donation, so care is taken in removal of them. We mark and ensure to remove only the things that need to be removed. Demo isn’t just about knocking down walls. The process is much more methodical and planned. Our approach is to take things apart piece by piece rather than the wrecking ball approach. It’s safer and more efficient, and the wrecking ball method often creates more damage than necessary.
It can also be extremely tedious—sometimes it means removing all the nails in the studs, one-by-one, so new material can be applied. It might mean tearing out floors which can mean lots of trips with the wheelbarrow to the dumpster.
What parts do you demo?
When working on a client’s home, we always make demo plans based on the design. This determines how far we go in the demo process. It may include completely removing everything in the space down to the bare studs. Sometimes it makes sense to remove small portions of drywall so you can chase wires or plumbing to new locations. And sometimes it makes more sense to remove larger areas of drywall, so you don’t end up with the “Swiss cheese” effect creating even more holes to repair.
It’s not unusual for us to open a wall and discover plumbing, electrical or air ducts we didn’t expect to find. We can’t just start tearing these out to deal with later. Even if these “surprises” must be removed or rerouted we must carefully evaluate the best plan to minimize cost and time overruns. Our goal is to ensure they’ll perform as they did prior to being relocated. This will often involve trained and licensed professionals.
Before we begin to remove existing framing, we must be certain these components aren’t structural or load bearing. This can be difficult to determine to the untrained eye or until walls are opened. It may be necessary for us to collaborate with a structural engineer. We want to prevent the creation of any new problems or issues that will take time and money to correct.
Hopefully this has helped shed some light on how involved and important demo and a good plan is. Don’t be fooled by reality TV shows. They make it look like simple fun; sledgehammer away. Like most things’ construction related, to prevent injury and to ensure it’s done thoroughly and correctly, it’s best to let the professionals handle it.