Jas is building an external apartment, for rental or long-term occupation, with the help of a class at Yestermorrow Design/Build School. Before they could site the apartment and build foundations, Jas needed to get rid of a shed on the site. Jas elected to demolish the shed piece by piece with the hope of salvaging as much building material as possible.
I helped him plan and execute the first stages of demolition. We quickly discovered the shed was built in two stages. The original building had insulated walls and a chimney, and an uninsulated L-shaped addition was built around it.
We started by removing wall coverings on the addition, which consisted of drywall on the interior and siding panels on the exterior. We made quick work of the drywall with a pry bar (to break the sheets into pieces and pry them from the studs) and a drill (to remove the screws), and then we used a sledge to hammer the siding free. Next we proceeded original building and removed some lovely tongue-and-groove paneling inside and lathe boards outside. Once Jas cleared the shed of everything he values, we proceeded to the roof, unscrewing the corrugated metal panels and tossing them down.
With the walls and roof removed, we did some experimental disassembly of the structural frame. I salvaged most of a rafter by cutting the top and bottom with a sawzall, but I felt uncomfortable removing cross-braces in the roof because it destabilized the remaining rafters. That’s when Jas decided to avoid the danger, and save a WHOLE lot of time, with the help of heavy machinery. He invited over his neighbor Francis, who stretched a ratchet strap around the whole building, attached the ends to his backhoe, and… it came crashing down in seconds.
A few hours of cleanup, nail removal, and sorting followed. We may have lost some salvageable material in the controlled collapse, but it was worth it to avoid many days of labor and peril. Time to break ground on the new construction!