Home Demolition: Worth Doing It Yourself?

2 Replies

Purchased a large 4,000 SF fixer upper SFR in Oakland and about ready to submit plans to the City of Oakland. While I am waiting, my thought was to start some of the demolition work myself to save time and money. My kitchen, 4 bathrooms and a bedroom need to be completely gutted.

First Question: If I do the work myself, where can I rent a dumpster and what would the cost be for pickup afterwards?

Second Question: Is it worth the time and effort, or should I just let my contractor handle the work? I'm told the demo work is really not that expensive to hire out. I've also never done this type of work before, but thought it may be worth learning. 

Thanks BP Community!


You are right, demo is not very expensive especially considering you will be gutting bathrooms and kitchens. Your total demo cost could be less than 10 percent of your kitchen budget alone. 

There are numerous dumpster companies, call several and get quotes. They can vary on price, and the amount of time you get to keep the dumpster. In my areas, ive seen prices range from approx $350-$750, and timeline from 14-30 days. Many of them also have weight limits, so if you are filling with concrete or roofing shingles you may have to pay extra. 

Most likely you will not save much money by doing it yourself. I have done several myself, and found it can sometimes cost more. I even found a guy off craigslist to do a demo for minimum wage. The last case definitely cost me more. Most the contractors I use have their own dump trailers, so do not pay dumpster fees. Because of this, they usually only charge labor plus the dumping fee at the landfill. In this most recent case, the contractors quote for demo was less than what I paid the worker plus rental fees for a roll off dumpster. Lesson learned. 

if you want to get hands on, and learn a little while you are doing it, then by all means get started yourself. there isnt much you can mess up and there is little risk of cost escalation whichever way you do it. 

I've rented through DA Services.  Look them up on google, their pricing is super competitive and straight forward.  You can also use Yellowsack.  I bought a 3yd sack from them when I wanted to do some demo, then realized it wasn't worth it Demo is cheap and you might not be saving that much.