House Demolition #1: House Demolition by Hand

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Blog entry by PeteCollin posted 12-16-2015 09:05 PM 1887 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of House Demolition series Part 2: Tearing Down The House - Part 2 »

Hello All,

My wife and I bought the neighboring house. It was built in 1875, and had been abandoned for a year and a half. We wanted to expand our yard and use the building timbers to make other things with – new garage, lumber storage racks, bench swing, etc. It is quite an undertaking, and I am shooting videos of the process. Come have a tour of the place while it still stands!

7 comments so far

View chrisstef's profile


18096 posts in 3785 days

#1 posted 12-16-2015 09:28 PM

Coming from a commercial demolition guy …. good luck! If it were me demoing that house, I would cherry pick all the sheathing from the exterior and call in the big guns to finish it off. Busting up all that plaster and hauling it out is going to be a lotta work. If you can work the structure from the outside peeling away the siding you should find a lot more of that nice wide board lumber.

Fwiw – those boards will exhibit a lot of staining from the lath. It must be a different species thing that causes the staining.

Ill be following and rooting you on Pete.

Say it with me …. “NOW THATS HOW YA DEMO!”

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View PeteCollin's profile


74 posts in 2080 days

#2 posted 12-16-2015 10:25 PM


I have been on this project for a couple of months now. It has been brutal, dirty work. But it has been fun in its own way. And I pretty much knew what I was getting into, for the most part. It is now completely gutted from the inside, and will sit that way until spring. I don’t want to be up on an icy roof, nor have all my lumber getting rained and snowed on. The assessor wants it to be a skeleton by March 1 (to get the house off my taxes), so mid-february I will bash the walls out from the inside. It has been interesting, learning how the old houses were made. The place could have stood another 100 years I bet.

View chrisstef's profile


18096 posts in 3785 days

#3 posted 12-16-2015 10:46 PM

Good on you brother! Thats gettin it done.

An “easier” way to demo the roof, if youre not saving the roof decking, is to work it from the attic running a sawzall or electric chainsaw on either side of every joist. You can just push the pieces out and slide em off the roof. A lot safer that way too.

Stay warm. Stay safe. And kick a$$.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View PeteCollin's profile


74 posts in 2080 days

#4 posted 12-17-2015 01:50 AM

That’s an interesting technique. I will have to try it. Don’t know yet if I will fit in the attic, but we’ll see!

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2786 days

#5 posted 12-17-2015 02:52 PM

Well now.. looking at the vid where you do some demo (in the cloud of white dust)..

If you can just keep up THAT PACE, this place will be down to the ground in about a week ! :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View MinnesotaMarty's profile


131 posts in 1997 days

#6 posted 12-19-2015 01:52 PM

I too admire your efforts, what a project!!!
I think chrisstef makes some great points. Usually, guys that do it for a living know the best way to tackle the job. My only other point is be careful of the “lead nazi’s”. We all know lead is bad for you but some people want you to go overboard in protecting everything. IMO, I would kick up the respirators for all working up a notch from just the dust mask to something a little more protective. The lead is in the dust. By no means am I suggesting going overboard like tenting everything. I am just saying the 50 cent particle mask might not be enough.
Again, I am with you 110% on trying to salvage what is valuable.
Good Luck

-- I can see the cheese heads from here and it is great.

View PeteCollin's profile


74 posts in 2080 days

#7 posted 12-19-2015 02:49 PM


After the first day of work with Todd, I bought two respirator masks. Lead or no lead, the plaster dust is just nasty. It was the sort of work that made you filthy 15 minutes into the job, so you were better off committing the day.

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