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  1. #1
    SBAER is offline Cast Iron
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    Default OT Best way to tear down a house

    A year or so ago I was trolling forum for ideas about how to go about replacing a rubble stone foundation for a brick farmhouse. The result of the research was that repairing the foundation was not justified as the rest of the house had lots of problems as well. I decided to remove the brick, tear the house down and build a new one sided with the original brick.

    After about 100 hours of labour, the bricks are almost all removed cleaned and sitting on pallets. Now its time to get rid of what is left of the house which is a balloon framed 1-1/2 story, 1800sqft, T shaped house, sided from the outside and inside with pine boards. I don't just want to light it on fire as I am pretty sure it would damage the trees around the house so my plan is to get it down on the ground in pieces and burn it piece by piece in the foundation end farthest from the trees.

    I am aware of the quickest, safest and probably smartest way to get it down, hire an excavator, but this will probably cost me $400. I am wondering if others on the forum have taken down a building of a similar size and have any tips. I have a Massey MF-30 industrial tractor with a good loader, a smaller Kubota with forks mounted on the loader, a chainsaw, about 100ft of 3/8 inch steel cable and lots of chain.

    Here is a picture

    Google Docs

  2. #2
    motion guru's Avatar
    motion guru is offline Titanium
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    $400 for an excavator is a good deal - what is your time worth?

    Start taking that house apart with your tractors and you will have a fuel and tire repair bill of $400 before you are done.

  3. #3
    baran3 is offline Aluminum
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    if you find a guy who will bring an excavator out and tear your house down for $400 I wouldn't stand anywhere close to that guy while he is working because he is obviously out of his mind

  4. #4
    RC99's Avatar
    RC99 is online now Titanium
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    A box of matches?

  5. #5
    DocsMachine is online now Stainless
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    Tape over all the windows, leave the natural gas on, then set a timer to light a bulb that you've broken the glass off of.

    Then all you need is a broom and a dustpan.

    Many years ago, I was on a day-labor crew hired to knock down an old building. We did 90% of it by hand, with sledgehammers, crowbars, fire axes and chainsaws. Manual labor, the guy hired about eight or nine of us young, dumb kids and paid a decent wage at the time, about $10 an hour.

    It never occurred to me at the time, but today of course you'd be risking liability, some punk kid'd cut his hand and sue for damages, or something like that. Got any kids or grandkids that like to beat on things with hammers?

    Doc.

  6. #6
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    gregoryd is offline Cast Iron
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    Build a big support column in the center of the house. Cut away some or the load bearing walls. Use your tractor to pull the support column out, hopefully it will fall.

    This may also get you killed.

    $400 is a good deal on your time. The safety of not doing the method I describe above is priceless.

  7. #7
    fkancir is offline Plastic
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    call local fire dept..
    they love to practice burning down houses.
    will not cost you anything

  8. #8
    Tonytn36 is offline Diamond
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    The most favorite implement of destruction......

    The world-famous Milwaukee Sawsall.......

    The chainsaw works wonders too.

  9. #9
    Gary E is offline Diamond
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    Call the boys at MythBusters... they'l think of somthing

  10. #10
    Mud's Avatar
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    Mud is offline Diamond
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    Your tractors aren't big enough to deal with the pieces unless you tear it apart by hand piece by piece and throw it out the windows. I'd rent the excavator.

  11. #11
    JoeE. is offline Stainless
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    Around here, the Amish come to town and tear down houses like that for the lumber!

  12. #12
    Ghost is offline Cast Iron
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    I'll bet you can make a pretty penny selling the lumber, reclaimed lumber is pretty desirable. At the least you should be able to get someone come and tear it down for the lumber.

  13. #13
    jkeyser14 is offline Aluminum
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    Have you actually talked to the local fire department? They would probably love to use it as a training exercise and may be able to burn it down without damaging the trees (hard to tell without talking to them). They also count it as a donation so you get a tax break.

  14. #14
    knudsen's Avatar
    knudsen is offline Stainless
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
    I'll bet you can make a pretty penny selling the lumber, reclaimed lumber is pretty desirable. At the least you should be able to get someone come and tear it down for the lumber.
    So we remember how to build with straight 2 x 4's?

    When I move walls in my 100 year old home, I keep the wood. Have to drill it to drive a nail or drywall screw in it! and a 2 x 4 measures 2" x 4", no "dimensional lumber" gimmicks. I have some lumber from my grandparents old barn too. Brittle and hard, but beautiful fir, and makes great scale lumber for modeling old buildings.

  15. #15
    bhigdog is offline Hot Rolled
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    If you elect to pull it down yourself rather than shell out four hundred bucks and drink a cool one while you watch, you really need to have a nice long talk with yourself...........Bob

  16. #16
    Perry Harrington is offline Titanium
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    When you said "pine inside and out" I immediately thought you were out of your mind to destroy and burn that wood. That pine is worth good money if it's not rotten. It can often be quite quick to dismantle a wooden structure by doing the reverse of building it.

  17. #17
    Limy Sami is offline Diamond
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    A dozen cheapo Chicom lathes & mills make a fairly decent wrecking ball.

    Or 5 Colchesters.

  18. #18
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    KIMFAB is offline Stainless
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    I have done this and will tell you spend the $400 unless you are as crazy as I was then and want to do it just for the laughs.
    This is one of those "Here watch this, hold my beer" , things.

    Anyway if you do decide to do it yourself rent some large containers from the refuse people, the kind you can drive a couple of vehicles into.
    These alone will probably cost the $400. Set them off to the side.

    Here is where it gets fun, analyze the structure of the building and figure how it is held together and supported and which way you want it to fall. You might want to check with an engineer here if unsure.

    Now you have the dangerous job of weakening all the structural members, tying on a long length of chain, and head down the road.
    After the collapse cut the house into decent pieces and drag them up a ramp into the containers. It helps to have at least a half dozen college age kids and plenty of beer. A friend on the ambulance crew is handy to have also.

    A better method would be to rent a BIG backhoe with a thumb attachment on the hoe.

    I would also try to sell the wood first tho.











    Last edited by KIMFAB; 04-25-2010 at 07:40 AM.

  19. #19
    Stuart Caruk is offline Stainless
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    I own a couple of excavators and if someone would move in, tear down a structure and move out for $400, I wouldn't even consider loading up a machine of my own to go to the jobsite. That's a steal for a demo project of any size.

  20. #20
    SBAER is offline Cast Iron
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    The $400 excavator bill was my estimate, it may be way off. There is a guy with a farmyard full of heavy equipment about a mile away but i haven't asked him yet. I figured $200 to transport the machine and a couple of hours at $80/hour to tear it down. I am not asking him to load the wood into dumpsters, it would cost too much to truck everything to the dump where it will just be burned anyway. My father (the guy in the picture) is interested in cutting up the wood into chunks he can burn in his woodstove. He has been heating his house with skids for the last 10 years so he is not afraid of a few nails.

    If I thought I could sell them I'd pry them off the exterior boards at least but who would buy those brittle old pine boards when can buy new 12" wide pine boards for a buck a foot. As to the dimensional lumber not even the Mennonites would bother with anything smaller than a 2X8.

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