Remodeling Demolition

The tear-out, or, demolition phase of renovation is a vital start to any project.

When you ‘demo’ something, you’re basically breaking down the old elements of construction to make way for improvements using newer and better materials when renovating.

Say, for example, you want to refurbish an entire kitchen that might require you to remove a whole wall section. You would be demolishing, or tearing out said wall.

A Typical ‘Demo’

bathroom demolition

  • Always make sure that any electrical wiring in the wall (old or not) is not Hot and functioning in any way. Consult with an electrician before doing any demo – especially if you are the slightest bit unsure.
  • Don’t forget to wear a hard hat (for larger tear-outs), safety goggles, leather gloves, and a respirator/face mask to guard against flying debris and dust. You know, your basic protective wear.
  • Remove old plaster or drywall
  • Tear out old framing while keeping sure not to tear out load-bearing walls or supports

nails in exposed stud framing

  • Remove any and all nails, screws, plates, old (unconnected) wiring and plumbing, or whatever that is left behind after removing all the major finish and structural materials. This one step alone will greatly help to make the other parts of the renovation process (electrical, HVAC, plumbing, drywall) move more smoothly. You will like a clean-looking ‘skeleton’, and you’re subs (trades) will definitely be happy that they won’t have any debris in their way to deal with. (Not to mention the rogue nail or two to get you’re shirt hung-up on!)
  • Dispose of all this material into a dumpster, or ordinary refuse container (if resulting debris is minimal).
  • Thoroughly clean area with shop-vac type vacuum.

It’s always important to keep area clean after doing any demo.


Put some heavy brown construction paper (that comes in 36″ rolls specificall for this type of activity) down onto the flooring, countertop, or whatever it is you’re wanting to protect. A few layers of this thick paper will protect surfaces from any falling debris and dust accumulation.

Keep in mind – Not only are you removing the necessary areas marked for remodeling, you’re also exposing parts of the structure needing attention that otherwise might have gone unnoticed. You might, for example, uncover evidence of termite infestation that you otherwise wouldn’t have noticed without the interior drywall/plaster walls coming down.

Kind of a good news/bad news situation: You’re glad you’ve uncovered a potential problem, but you’ve just added more expense to the bottom line.

Different Levels of Demolition

If you have a relatively small demolition to do that would require little in the way of actual tear-out (as compared to larger demos), see our page detailing small scale tear-out, and what you would need to get it done.

For medium size or larger tear-outs, you will certainly need to bigger and better ways to dispose of all the refuse you’ll generate.

Please see our page detailing larger demo projects such as what you would see in a whole house tear-out process. Something on this scale does take time and planning when you consider the bigger equipment (dumpsters) and manpower (labor) you’ll need to accomplish said task.

And speaking of “bigger equipment”, you are certainly going to need a dumpster on your site to effectively and efficiently tear out, and clean up the house in the proper way.

You will be generating a lot of debris for removal, so be prepared to pay someone to haul it off 2 to 3 different times.

See related pages of interest:

Dumpster Permit