Do's and Don’ts of Hauling and Demo

Jan 01, 2011
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Demolished materials wait to be hauled away. Photo by Jeremy Levine Design/Flickr.

If you’re undertaking a home improvement project, then demolition (demo), and the subsequent hauling away of demo debris, is likely to be a part of the plan. Whether you’re doing it all DIY or hiring contractors to help get the job done, here is a list of important dos and don’ts to expedite your demo and hauling experience.

1) Do consider hiring a professional for demolition. They know how to do it safely and speedily and in an environmentally friendly manner.

2) If not, do take important safety precautions. Wear protective gear like gloves, goggles, etc. Respirators or dust masks are key. Heavy boots are also a must.

3) Do turn off the power. Use work lights plugged into extension cords or a generator. You really don’t want to hit a live wire, so cut all power!

4) Do seal off the area from the rest of the house, using sheet plastic and tape. Dust will slip under door jams and into cracks, so take this seriously and save yourself major hassle later on.

5) Do consider hiring a hauling company to clear out your debris. This choice will depend on your budget and commitment. Sometimes, it’s just not worth the back trouble, ya know?

6) Or else, do rent a roll-off dumpster. You don’t want to be hauling multiple trips worth of trash to the dump. What a waste of time! Invest in a roll-off and you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble.

7) Do move slowly and deliberately. Don’t work under pressure and don’t give yourself a hard deadline. Demo is a project unto itself, so don’t be impatient to get to the renovation part.

8) Don’t go into demo without a plan. Biohazard exposure, hidden utility lines, and other potential dangers are a very real concern. Know what you’re getting into and be prepared. Is there lead? Asbestos? Look into it!

9) Don’t skimp on tools. You’ll need a sledgehammer, crowbar, pry bar, and claw hammer, not to mention a drill for exploratory holes . . . at least. Minimum.

10) Don’t demo a load-bearing wall. Hello?! This seems like it should go without saying, but you’d be surprised...

11) Don’t leave a big mess as you go. Things will get real crowded real fast, so it’s better to clean as you work. You’ll thank yourself later.

12) And finally, don’t expect smooth sailing. Come on now! Prepare for mishaps and troubleshooting, and hey – maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Sayward Rebhal writes for

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