Have You Ever Tried Demolition?

I’m not particularly handy. My dad can take apart and put together anything, but home improvement simply isn’t my forte.

Recently, though, Megan and I were invited to help some friends demolish their kitchen. I’ve never torn anything down before, so I thought it would be fun.

Over the course of a few hours, we removed an entire set of cabinets, a countertop, and part of a wall. It was a pretty good workout, and I walked away with a few impressions and some photos.

  1. It was surprisingly easy to remove the certain things (the cabinets in particular). Just remove a few screws, and the entire cabinet detaches.
  2. It was also surprisingly difficult to remove other things. There was one tiny board that the original carpenter had nailed into place with dozens of nails for some reason. That thing wasn’t budging. Drywall is easy to puncture (you can even kick through it), but it’s then harder to tear out. And whenever plumbing is involved, things get tricky.
  3. It’s gratifying to tear things apart. We spend most of our lives being so careful about not leaving the tiniest scratch on walls and floors, so it was nice for once to tear out a cabinet and hammer through some drywall. I’d recommend it.

Most of all, I was left with newfound respect for people who demolish for a living. It takes a lot of strength, stamina, time, tools, and machines to knock things down. Have you ever tried it?

4 thoughts on “Have You Ever Tried Demolition?”

  1. One time, up in Vermont, we were helping family actually demolish a house. We started in the attic, and this place was built over 100 years ago and the wood beams holding up the room, angled at around 45 degrees still had bark on the side facing the interior. At one point, after removing all of the roofing tiles (metal), we started to demolish the beams and in one freakish moment, my brother struck, with a sledgehammer, a beam which in-turn had the effect of dropping each of the other beams onto the attic floor.

    When I tell you that each of thee beams weighed well over 300 lbs and each one fell perfectly straight down to the floor between me, my brother, my brother’s father-in-law, and my brother’s brother-in-law. Without exaggeration, any step to either the left or right of us, probably would have killed us or at the very least would’ve resulted in long term hospital care. While we laughed quite a bit regarding our good fortune, that could’ve gone very wrong.

    In short, I’m not much a handyman and I’ll leave all of it to the professionals.

  2. I really enjoy demolition work! I find it gratifying–it feels like you’re really making progress on the overall project and it moves much faster than the construction phase. If I were to put a #4 learning with your original 3, it’d be that I’m always struck by how much material waste there is from demo work. When it’s all “up” in say, a kitchen, it never looks like anywhere near as much as it does when it’s torn down and in a giant waste bin!


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