Attached Garage Demolition 

Welcome to week 2 of the One Room Challenge! This week we’ll walk you through the steps of our DIY garage demolition. 

When thinking of home demolition, flashes of the most popular HGTV shows pop into my head.

These shows make demolition seem like so much fun and so easy to do.

I mean how hard is it to take a sledgehammer to a wall and destroy everything that once was?

While the demolition phase can produce a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, if you are wanting to save money and repurposed materials, these somewhat reckless strategies may not work.

This is where Cully and I were faced with a dilemma. 

We would love to take a sledgehammer to every inch of our garage and not care about repurposing materials.

But reality is the price of building materials is at an all time high and we want to save money in every possible way.

So we took our time during the demolition phase not only in effort to save material, but because we ran into some unexpected surprises.

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Types of Garage Demolition

There are two types of ways to approach your garage demolition. 

Some factors to consider which strategy to take include your budget, your time frame, and how much of the work you are willing to do yourself.

Mechanical Demolition 

A mechanical demolition includes heavy machinery that tears down your garage in no time at all.

Materials are typically not salvageable as everything will end up in a big heaping broken pile.

When working with a tight time frame, mechanical demolition is typically the best way to go. This type of demolition is often cheaper than doing it by hand, if you’ll be hiring out the work. 

Mechanical demolition is often the best choice when there is no way to salvage the materials and/or you just need the building removed.

Demolition By Hand 

To hire out demolition by hand, you will likely be looking at two to three times the cost of a mechanical demolition.

This is largely due to the fact that it will take much more time and more people to help disassemble the garage.

DIY demolition by hand was the route we chose since we are working on a very tight budget.

Types of Garage Demolition

Do you Need a Planning Permit for a Garage Demolition?

During the planning phase, you will want to make sure the proper building permits are pulled for your project.

We will be converting our garage to a master suite that will include a walk-in closet and attached bathroom.

If you are simply demolishing your garage to have it removed, you will still need to pull the appropriate permits.

Check out your local county’s website to learn more about what you need to get a permit approved. 

Garage Demolition Steps

There are 6 main steps to demolition.  These steps apply  when you will be converting the garage to a living space: 

  1. Pull appropriate building permits for your project
  2. Shut off all water, electric, and gas to the house
  3. Remove trim work (ie: baseboards, window and door trim)
  4. Tear down unneeded existing drywall. You can leave up drywall that you will still use once the space is remodeled 
  5. Remove the garage door(s)
  6. Pull out any windows that need to be repositioned or closed off

If you are removing the garage all together, you will need to remove the roofing materials after all the water, gas and electricity has been shut off.

Demolition of a Garage Cost 

According to Home Advisor, the average garage demolition cost is $4 to $8 per square foot for a detached structure or $5 to $15 per square foot for an attached structure.

Attached garage demolition is more expensive due to the fact that more caution needs to be taken to ensure the attached structure is not damaged during the process.

Both of these price estimates assume a full demolition. Materials will not be salvageable and the building would need to be rebuilt, if applicable.

Can I Demolish a Garage Myself? 

Demolishing a garage yourself is absolutely doable. When DIY-ing, the more realistic method is to demolish by hand.  This is because most people don’t have easy access to the heavy machinery available to help with mechanical demolition.

There are two main benefits to demolishing a garage DIY Style. The biggest one being the money savings by not having to hire out the work. And the second biggest benefit is being able to repurpose any salvageable materials.

We were able to repurpose several hundred dollars worth of building materials, including headers for the new windows, 2×4’s for the new walls and plywood sheets to use when we close in the exterior wall.

Garage Building Materials Repurposed
Some of the materials we saved from our garage demolition that will be used for the garage conversion.

Our DIY Garage Demolition Process

Now for the fun part! I’ll walk you through the highlights of our garage demolition so you can get a glimpse of what it is like to deconstruct by hand.

It wasn’t pretty (it never is), but we saved thousands by taking our time and doing the work ourselves.

We originally scheduled 3 days for demolition.  Our remodel workdays can be anywhere from 2-6 hours, so keep that in mind as I mention timeframe.

Because of the unexpected twists, total demolition time took 6 days. 

Remove Existing Flooring 

First means of business was to remove the flooring in the family room that is attached to the garage.

We will be taking part of this unusually long room and turning it into the master bedroom closet and additional storage for the house. 

The family room will not be taken away all together, it will just be a bit smaller but more functional since it won’t be as long.

Carpet removal is usually fairly simple. I just took some pliers and ripped up the existing carpet and carpet pad.

Then I took a hammer and crowbar to remove the tacking strips.

Garage Demolition Steps

Remove the Wall Between the Garage and Cellar 

Little did we know that removing the wall between the garage and cellar would be the biggest task.

Oftentimes, walls are filled with fiberglass insulation or some kind of easy to remove insulation.

wall removal

We should have known that walls full of fiberglass insulation that could be easily removed in minutes would make this project far too easy.  And that’s no fun!

We were quite surprised with how this cellar was insulated.

Any guesses as to what was used as insulation? 

SAWDUST.  That’s right! Pounds and pounds of sawdust.

Here is a video to give an example of just how much sawdust we had to remove.

Remove Cellar Ceiling 

Hoping the one wall full of sawdust was more of a fluke and not what  was used for all the walls, Cully climbed up onto the top of the cellar ceiling only to find….you guess it, MORE SAWDUST! 

What made this part of the project even more interesting is buried within all the sawdust were random artifacts and handmade items from who knows what time frame.

Being the natural vintage collectors that we are,  we hung on to the items that we thought were cool and tossed the ones that were too far gone.

Once all the debris and sawdust was removed, we were able to access the materials that built the ceiling and could remove the entire cellar ceiling.


Remove Cellar Interior Walls

Not much new when it came to the interior walls of the cellar.

Every last inch of every single wall was filled with sawdust.

Just so you can appreciate how much saw dust came out of these walls, we did a quick time lapse the process.  The actual tear down/cleaning took several hours.

When all was said and done, there was enough sawdust to fill three trailer loads using our 4 x 8 trailer.

Our neighbors got wind of all the sawdust we had and we gave it all away to be used on their garden beds. 

Giving it away meant less trips to the dump, no cost to dispose of it and a way to repurposed the materials!  Wins all around.

Lessons Learned from our DIY Garage Demolition 

The demolition took twice as long as we originally thought.  But after running into the sawdust filled walls, it makes perfect sense that additional time was needed.

The demolition itself was not that difficult or tricky. It was just time consuming and Incredibly dusty and dirty.

If you are thinking of DIY-ing your garage demolition, take note of the lessons we learned throughout the process.

Schedule Enough Working Time

The obvious number one factor is to schedule more than enough time for your demolition.

It didn’t feel good to have our project already off track on the timeline coming out of the gate in the demolition phase. 

If it weren’t for the sawdust, we would have easily been within the three days planned for demolition, and possibly even gotten it done in two days.

Have a Plan to Dispose of the Debris

Make sure you have a way to dispose of any materials that are not reusable. These materials can pile up very quickly and become a burden if you do not have a way to dispose of them.

Weed used our open 4 by 8 trailer and managed to only need to go to the dump 2 * to dispose of unusable materials.

If you do not have a trailer or some other way to haul the old materials, look into renting a dumpster in your area.

Expect the Unexpected

Expect the unexpected. Advice I should have taken a little more seriously 🙂

We are grateful we didn’t run into any safety concerns with wiring. or random pipes going who knows where.  All we dealt with was the unexpected sawdust filled walls.

Keep in mind that when you are demoing any property, especially one that is older, you could run into  things you didn’t expect.  These scenarios may require additional demolition and / or fixing (meaning more work) later on.

Cellar walls are removed and demo is done!

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Until next time,




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