It was a liberating feeling going to the hardware store and purchasing wrecking bars, sledgehammers and Sawzall blades. All of the fine motor skills that would be needed in a few weeks’ time during construction could be disregarded for the moment. The excited anticipation that we had harbored to start whacking away at the existing eyesore was quickly supplanted by a phone call from the dumpster company. Due to the narrow alley way, they were unable to deliver the dumpster next to the garage. Instead, they placed it in front of my house. The distance between the garage and the front of my house you ask? About 40 yards. Therefore, each and every pound of the old garage would need to be carried to the front of the house. With summer temperatures hovering around 90 degrees with 70% humidity in the air, I lost weight in a hurry.
I also have a perception problem. I have this notion that my wife, all 5′-3″ of her, can lift, hold and carry as much as I can without an issue. Regardless of the number of times I am reminded that this is certainly not so, I have selective memory, and spew out a hearty “of course you can lift this.” Suffice it to say that we “bonded” during demolition.
After studying the structural integrity of the garage (poor at best) and to avoid being charged a fine for blocking a city street should the structure collapse into my alley way, I determined that the best method would be to remove the weight of the roof first, and then remove the four walls, one by one. With Sawzall in hand, I made a clean cut around the entire perimeter of the structure through each of the rafters and roof sheathing. It started sagging and making moaning sounds within the last few feet of the cut. With a hefty blow of the sledgehammer, the whole roof collapsed downward into the space.
The process of removing the roof was a long and arduous process, whereby I would use my skillsaw to cut away portions at a time. My wife and I would then carry each section to the front of the house for disposal.
The company we used for the dumpster, Atomic Recycling, is spot on. They process the entire dumpster fill at a sorting facility, separating the construction debris into various material streams for recycling, reuse, etc. Better still, the rates for the service are equal to those companies that simply dump debris into a landfill.
After the roof was removed, I directed the demolition fury to the remaining four walls.