As a demolition contractor I get asked often about how to know when you should completely demolish an old building and when can you repurpose and remodel it for new use. The answer is a bit gray. There are a few main factors that should be considered when trying to decide what to do with a dilapidated or old building on you property. Let’s unpack these…

What’s Its New Use

What will the new building or property be used for? Sometimes a building outlives its original purpose. That does not necessarily mean demolition is the answer. There are a lot of repurposed buildings built over 100 years ago that have been given a second life. If the structure has good bones, it can serve a new purpose. Take a look at old factory buildings for example. They no longer serve their original intended purpose. These buildings have stood the test of time though and now you see them getting a new lease on life as retail and consumer use facilities. With a little creativity and the right team you can turn a dilapidated structure into a thriving new neighborhood and still have a bit of history to go with it.

Roof Integrity

If the roof of the building has been compromised, the structure beneath it is most likely rotted. Moisture causes many issues with interior construction materials. Mold, rot, pests, and structural degradation are just a few examples. Therefore, if the roof is not up to inspection, it may be time to hire a demolition contractor.   

Solid Foundation

A solid foundation is where it all starts. Everything rests on the foundation of the structure. Look for cracks, upheavals, depressions. If the foundation is not solid, everything above it is subject to damage from shifting and settling. Most times it is better to remove everything and start from scratch. If your building or structure has foundation issues, this could mean it’s time to wipe the slate clean, get a demolition team out, and start fresh.

Structural framework

Look for cracks in the walls, doors and windows that will not close, walls that are not flat, smooth, and straight. These are all signs of poor framing. Look for signs of fire in the attic. Check for termite damage. If anything like this is found, it is likely that the structure is not worth remodeling and you should be looking for a good demolition contractor nearby.

In being a demolition contractor for almost three decades, I have seen just how costly it is to remodel old, dilapidated buildings. You can almost be certain there are hidden challenges lurking once selective demolition begins. Remodel requires interior demolition to be done by hand which is very costly. Therefore if any of the above issues arise, from roof to foundation, I will recommend to my clients that they demolish the entire structure and foundation to start new. Although this sounds drastic, it almost always saves you money and frustration in the end.