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3 Reasons You Shouldn't Attempt Your Own Renovation Demolition

by Erik Evans

After binge-watching your favorite home renovation show, you might be ready to rip out that dated wallpaper and move forward with your own kitchen or bathroom remodel. Although it might seem simple to swing around a few sledgehammers and put up some new paint, your renovation could prove to be trickier than you bargained for. Here are three reasons you shouldn't attempt your own renovation demolition, and what might happen if you do.

1: Removing Load-Bearing Walls Incorrectly Could Cause Problems

These days, everyone loves open-concept rooms filled with light. Instead of dealing with that weird wall blocking your view of the dining room, you might be tempted to rip it out to open up your space. Unfortunately, if you unintentionally remove a load-bearing wall, you could end up in a lot of trouble. Here are a few things you might have to deal with if you don't hire a professional demolition company to take out those important walls:

  • Structural Integrity Issues: The purpose of a load-bearing wall is to support the weight of your home. If you remove them and fail to create additional structure to carry the load, your home could collapse. Although it might seem like an unlikely scenario, it happens all the time. In fact, one North Carolina building collapsed in January 2013, when workers removed a load-bearing wall without accounting for the load.   
  • Permits: Anytime a load-bearing wall is going to be removed, you need to seek a permit from the city. To get a permit, a structural engineer might need to come in and inspect your work to make sure that your place can withstand the weight of the change. Unfortunately, if you are caught removing a load-bearing wall without a permit, you could be subject to a steep fine from the city.

Fortunately, professional demolition contractors know how to remove load-bearing walls the right way. They might shore up the area with large structural beams, or tie the load into the surrounding support system. Also, contractors will understand how to seek the necessary permits, so that your jobsite doesn't get shut down.

2: You Could Damage Underlying Electrical and Plumbing

Doesn't television make demolition look like a breeze? Homeowners are regularly pictured taking out their frustrations on those hideous countertops or dated cabinets, without a lot of thought about what lies behind the wall. Unfortunately, one bad swing of your hammer could cause a slew of plumbing and electrical problems.

If you have any water, gas, sewer, or electrical lines run within the wall that you are demolishing, you might create a dangerous situation in an instant. Broken water lines can cause an impromptu flood in your workspace, or you could be shocked when your metal hammer contacts live wiring.

To avoid problems, hire a professional demolition company. They will work carefully to remove drywall, and check the entire area for routed lines before they get started. A professional demolition contractor can move your project along, without causing any collateral damage.  

3: You Won't Have to Deal With the Haul Away

Ripping down some old drywall is one thing, but have you thought about how you will get all of that trash to the dump? Dealing with garbage haul-away can end up being a huge project in and of itself.

As you fill up your pickup truck a few times to take debris to the dump, you might encounter landfill drop-off fees, and prompt refusals when you are caught tossing things that you shouldn't. Because some landfills have a list of prohibited items, being unfamiliar with the rules could cost you.  

Fortunately, some demolition companies will cover the cost of trash collection and haul away for you, so that you don't have to worry about it. Demolition contractors are also familiar with dump regulations, so that you don't break the rules.

Unless you have a day job as a professional contractor, leave the demolition and remodeling to the professionals. You might be able to avoid a few problems along the way, without lifting a finger.