What To Do With That Dilapidated House: Demolish Or Deconstruct

Whether you want to tear down a house to rebuild it or you want to eliminate it completely, you typically have two options: demolish or deconstruct. Both require a lot of work, but deconstructing the house is a careful process that allows you to keep precious materials that can then be reused. If you have a dilapidated house that needs to be torn down, let these three questions help you determine if you should demolish or deconstruct.

How Much Can You Salvage?

Deconstruction allows you to salvage pieces of the house that can then be reused on another project or donated to resale construction stores. Common salvaged materials include bricks, wood, toilets, sinks, countertops, cabinets, flooring, windows and doors. If the house is so completely decapitated that there is not much to salvage, it's probably better to just demolish the house because you'll just be wasting time and money trying to salvage materials that you can't even reuse.

If there is a lot of pieces to salvage, consider deconstruction instead. Not only is it a great way to get materials you need for another project, but it is also beneficial for the environment. With a demolition, most of that material would be headed straight for the landfill. Deconstruction lets you reuse materials. Even if you don't have any reason to keep or reuse the materials, you can try selling them or giving them away, preventing perfectly good materials from being wasted.

How Much Time Do You Have?

In some cases, you have as much time as you need for your project, but usually, you have a strict schedule of when you want or need the process to be completed. If you want to tear down the house as fast as possible, you'll need to demolish it. Demolishing a house is much faster because you can often just destroy it with a bulldozer. However, there are some steps you'll need to take before you start the process. You'll have to get a permit, remove any hazardous materials (asbestos, etc.) and turn off all the utilities at the source.

If you want to deconstruct the house, you'll need significantly more time. While demolishing a house may take a few days, deconstruction can take weeks. You can't just go around smashing things with a sledgehammer, you have to slowly take the house apart as you consider what can and can't be salvaged. For example, if you demolish a house, you can just smash the walls with a bulldozer, but if you deconstruct, you'll want to carefully remove the drywall, insulation, wiring and wood piece by piece.  

What's Your Budget?

The last factor that plays a role it choosing between demolition and deconstruction is your budget. Because it takes longer and requires more work, deconstruction costs more. If you are tearing down a basic 2,200-square-foot-home, it can cost about $10,000 to demolish and $24,000 to deconstruct. So many people just can't afford a deconstruction.

If you are rebuilding the house, however, deconstruction may end up allowing you to save money on the entire process. After deconstruction, you're left with a lot of materials that you can reuse, which you wouldn't have if you demolished. If you can reuse the materials, make sure to consider the total project budget to find out which one will really cost you more in the end.

Whether you choose to demolish or deconstruct, there is a lot of work to do. Demolition may be faster and cheaper, but deconstruction could be a great way to get materials for your next project. For more information regarding tearing down an old house, contact a demolition or deconstruction expert in your area today.