Understanding the Different Types of Demolition


Building demolition contracted by Archview Services

Demolition involves disassembling, leveling, wrecking, or destroying part or all of a structure. However, many people don’t realize that there are multiple types of demolition. It’s not a one-size-fits-all process. Interior demolition. Exterior demolition. Selective demolition. Which type do you need to accomplish your goals?

Standard Interior Demolition

Worker with personal protection equipment and demolition hammer breaking in an interior brick wall

An interior demo involves preparing the inside of a structure for remodeling. Common tasks involved in interior demolition include:

  • Removing old-style lathe and plaster or drywall-covered walls
  • Taking out existing ceramic, hardwood, or other flooring
  • Ripping out existing cabinetry and major appliances
  • Gutting plumbing pipes, tubs, sinks, and fixtures
  • Tearing out existing ceilings and insulation

In some cases, interior demolition can be a DIY project. However, even a seemingly simple demo task, like removing a kitchen cabinet, can be dangerous. For most people, it’s better to have a professional do the work.

Manual Demolition

Manual demo involves a lot of human power to remove roofs, exterior walls, and other structural components of buildings. This type of demolition is best suited for smaller projects, like replacing the roof of your home or tearing out an exterior wall to make room for an addition. There’s still a high degree of danger involved with this type of work, so proper safety equipment, knowledge, and experience are vital.

This demolition subdiscipline uses maximum human power with limited mechanical equipment. It’s a hands-on, eco-friendly approach to deconstructing structures and is well-suited for projects demanding delicate precision. Skilled workers use hammers, sledgehammers, circular saws, reciprocating saws, torches, crowbars, prybars, chisels, and other hand tools to deconstruct entire or partial structures.

This style of demo is suitable when you need to salvage reusable materials. It’s a sustainable practice that helps conserve materials, minimize dust and vibration, and accomplish deconstruction with the least disturbance to other people and the environment.

Mechanical Demolition

An excavator uses a crane to demolish an old industrial building.

Mechanical demolition is the orderly deconstruction of big buildings. This type of work involves significant danger and requires specialized equipment and skilled operators. OSHA regulations must be satisfied, and safety must always remain first in this highly hazardous vocation. Personal safety gear, protective nets, traffic barriers, dust control devices, and other equipment are needed to ensure a safe working environment.

This demolition method is commonly used to make room for a new structure or protected land mass and uses heavy machinery like cranes, backhoes, bulldozers, and wrecking balls.

The scrap material is loaded onto dump trucks and hauled away, and the remaining ground is excavated and leveled, leaving the entire worksite in good shape for new construction.

Mechanical demolition reduces human labor costs, improving safety and speeding up the process. It also allows for the fast and efficient removal of large structures like factories, shopping centers, residential developments, and multi-story buildings. Well-planned mechanical demo projects progress smoothly, allowing teams to quickly deconstruct and haul away large volumes of steel, wood, asphalt, concrete, and more.

Selective Demolition

Selective demolition can include interior, exterior, and mechanical demolition, as needed to accomplish project goals. It’s useful when certain components of a structure need to be preserved. Mechanical equipment like hydraulic hammers, shears, and grapples can be used to deconstruct selected areas without disrupting the structural integrity of others.

This type of demolition requires a thorough understanding of the structure being demoed, and skillful craftspeople who understand the importance of precision. Selective demolition is most suitable for building seamless additions to existing structures, protecting historical landmarks, and other projects that require detailed planning to accommodate minimal collateral damage.

Schedule a Project Consultation Today

Understanding which demolition method you need is critical because different contractors have different specialties.

At Archview Services, our specialties include selective interior demolition and commercial exterior demolition. We serve clients throughout the Midwest, including Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.

We take a safety-first approach and are directly involved in planning, executing, and supervising each project. During exterior demolition projects, we take great care to comply with federal and local regulations and minimize environmental impact. During selective interior projects, we can provide efficient asbestos, lead, heavy equipment, and storage tank removal. Our team is API-, ASME-, and STI-certified to ensure safety.

Please contact us today to learn more about our capabilities or to request a project consultation.