Is DIY Demolition Ever a Good Idea?

Posted on: 23 November 2015

It might be tempting to take care of any demolition projects yourself. Is this really a smart idea though? When it comes to DIY demolition, it's vital to not bite off more than you can chew.

The Necessary Equipment

You will need to have a sturdy crowbar to loosen various fittings and fixtures before they can be removed. When it comes to smashing, you will need to have an assortment of sledgehammers of varying sizes and weights. You can possibly borrow or rent these items, but you should not attempt to demolish anything without them. You will also need to have a sufficient level of physical fitness to wield them effectively.

Safety First

Safety goggles and a breathing mask (or even a respirator) are mandatory. Even the smallest amount of demolition can release a huge amount of dust into the air—dust that has the potential to contain volatile compounds. The air is simply not safe to breath normally when undertaking a demolition project, and the area needs to be sealed off (doors need to closed with the gap at their base blocked) so that this dust does not spread to other parts of the dwelling.


The use of asbestos in Australian buildings sharply decreased in the 1980s but it was not banned until 2003. Any building constructed prior to 2003 could conceivably contain asbestos, but it is far more likely to be the case in older homes. You should have the area checked for asbestos prior to demolition, and professional asbestos removal might be necessary. Professional demolition companies will take care of this as part of the process.

The Mess

You will need to hire a skip bin to remove all the debris that have resulted from your demolition project. You will also need to be able to transport these debris from the project site to the skip bin, and this can be physically difficult as you might be transporting some heavy items. Again, professional demolition companies will do this for you.

Don't Go Crazy

Perhaps the biggest danger of DIY demolition is that you might not know exactly what you're doing. You run the risk of destroying too much, making the subsequent intended renovation difficult without reconstruction. Demolition is far more precise than it looks, and you don't want to joyfully rip an old sink from the wall, only to realise that you've removed an essential portion that was necessary for the new sink. Professional demolition companies will hold liability insurance, so in the unlikely event that they remove more than they should, the insurance company will pay for any necessary repairs. If you do the demolition work yourself and make a mistake, you will need to pay for this mistake.

DIY demolition sounds like a good (and easy) idea, but it requires more effort and organisation than you might think. Some things are best left to the professionals.