New Orleans Homeowner’s Guide to Demolishing an Old House

Excavator Demolishing an Old House
Caveman Demolition is your one-stop New Orleans contractor for everything from initial inspection and securing necessary permits to demolition and post-demolition cleanup.

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Demolishing a house may seem like an overwhelming and intimidating project. But it doesn't have to be. Especially if you take some simple and effective steps before the day of demolition. Some of these steps, like getting the necessary inspections and permits, are required. Others will simply make things easier for you and your neighbors. If you find an experienced, transparent, and reliable demolition contractor in New Orleans who will walk you through the process, stay with you all the way, and help you take care of some of the preliminary tasks, your part of the job is already half-done.

Why Demolish a House?

House demolition is the most common type of demolition service in the greater New Orleans area. (We also perform commercial demolitions.) People have many reasons for demolishing a house, including extensive termite or fire damage, the age and condition of the house, and a desire to redevelop the property or build their dream home.

In addition to demolishing the house, a demolition job may also include demolishing outlying installations like sheds, garages, pools, and gazebos.

Proceeding with a demolition typically involves the following steps.

1. Decide what kind of demolition is right for your New Orleans property.
Demolition may be done mechanically, manually, or by using explosives. Caveman Demolition specializes in mechanical demolition, which is the most common method. Mechanical demolition entails the use of heavy machinery to tear down a house and is the safest and most efficient means of demolishing a small or mid-sized structure.

2. Hire a licensed and insured contractor.
Finding a demolition expert is a crucial step. To get the lay of the land and give you an idea of what will happen, the contractor will meet with you at the site to review your options. You'll need someone experienced and willing to help you perform some of the tasks that are typically your primary responsibility. For example, Caveman Demolition can help you navigate the somewhat confusing world of permits and pull permits on your behalf. Before you sign on with a contractor, be sure to request an estimate up front so that there are no surprises down the road.

3. Get the house inspected by a professional.
Your contractor will be up to date on state requirements. But in general, buildings in the New Orleans area must be inspected for the presence of mold, lead, asbestos, wood rot, and other hazardous materials prior to demolition. This is generally completed by a specialized inspector trained to detect these hazards, but your demolition contractor should be able to help you with referrals for reputable inspectors.

4. Obtain all necessary permits.
Which permits you need depends on the laws and regulations of your parish and the state of Louisiana. They may include regulations about notifications, hours of demolition, noise, and removal of debris. Your contractor can help you; but if you do want his help with permits, be sure to make this clear up front so that this assistance can be reflected in the quote for the project.

5. Give advance notice to your neighbors.
Well before the mess and noise arrive, be sure to give your neighbors a heads up. If they know in advance what to expect and when, they will probably be a lot more patient about the disruption. And they'll appreciate the courtesy. Caveman Demolition will provide you with all of the details that your neighbors need to know to be as comfortable as possible with the process: how long we expect the job to take, what our working hours will be, and when large machinery will be coming into and out of the area.

6. Secure the area.
Signage indicating where the demolition will take place and temporary fencing may be necessary to protect adjacent properties and keep neighbors informed. At Caveman Demolition, we'll handle all aspects of securing the area to ensure the safety of our team and the safety of your neighbors.

7. Disconnect utilities.
Make sure that all utilities have been disconnected by the day of the demolition: gas, electricity, water, sewage. It's especially dangerous for gas and electricity to be functioning during a demolition. Utility companies need up to two weeks to accommodate you, so it's a good idea to submit your disconnection requests two or more weeks in advance of the demolition date.

8. Ready for demolition?
Once you are ready for the big day, it's a good idea to double-check everything on your to-do list: that the property is secured, utilities are disconnected, your neighbors are up to speed, and you and your contractor have reviewed any last-minute details. After the demolition, any construction debris or yard waste will need to be hauled away; you and your contractor should have a clear plan for doing that as well.

Need to hire an experienced house demolition expert in the greater New Orleans metro area?

Caveman Demolition offers full-service house demolition in the metro New Orleans area, including 'Metairie, Kenner, Slidell, Mandeville, Lake Charles, and Sulphur. Our other property treatment services include trash and debris hauling, concrete slab and foundation removal, sand and gravel delivery, and tree services.

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