Cost of demolishing attached garage

robinson622March 11, 2008

We are looking into having our home raised up and putting a basement under the entire home. We have an attached garage which looks like demolishing is the smartest way. You see, the garage is made from cinder block. It probably was used as a some type of shop or something years ago. Right now it has workout equipment and many other things that can't fit in our small 1600 sq ft home, hence the basement.

I've asked many questions about the house raising, damage to windows, sheetrock, etc. Apparently things are much more technological than I thought. I was told to leave pictures on walls, lamps on tables, dishes in cabinets. So, I'm not panicing about it as much as I was, but...I still can't imagine my home 5 ft. in the air or higher.

Moving really isn't an option. We're in a great location and any place else we move would be a downgrade. We live in a neighborhood with tree covered streets, every home is different than the other, and our street travels along the river with beautiful views. When the weather is nice we take a walk down to the river, where our neighborhood has a private beach for us with barbecue pits and picnic tables. The kids love to skip stones, put on their wet shoes and swim, play with their remote control boats, kayak or just have a nice picnic. I'd hate to leave all that. Plus my neighbors are awesome.

Tear down and rebuild is way out of our price range. My mortgage isn't even close to being payed off.

I'm sorry this post is so long, but I figured I'd cover all the questions I've been getting from friends, etc. because they're all legitimate questions, and I'm sure some of you would be wondering the same.

So, can anyone give me an idea of the cost to demolish and remove the debris? The garage is 21 x 21. I'm in very southern New Jersey. I'll be calling some demolition businesses tomorrow, but I figured I'd see what I can get out of you guys. Thanks, Lori

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I'd expect some big numbers.

You've got a lot of things working against you. First, disposing of the demolished material. Cinderblocks weigh a lot, and knowing that dumping fees are pretty high down south, I can't imagine how much you'll pay in NJ. I'd bet you'll get close to $10,000 just for dumping expenses. Second, you want your home to not be damaged. That means a very good equipment operator, or lots of workers being careful as they use sledge hammers and saws. That can't be cheap either.

You didn't mention if you had land? Why not an addition instead of basement? Is it a ranch or two story? You could also build up.

I'd hire an architect to look at all possibilities to achieve your space goals.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 7:09AM
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You defintely should get your plans in place before doing any demo. It's pretty hard to say what the costs are, but disposal will be an issue for sure. That said, the labor for demo work is about as cheap as it gets--it's not skilled craftsmen doing it. And since the whole thing is going, they can just bang away with hammers. For labor, I doubt you're looking at more than $2000 or so--a couple or 3 guys for a day or two. For comparison, we had a detached garage in terrible shape that was removed as part of our renovation. They had the whole thing into a pile of rubble within about three hours. It was wood frame, but still.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 9:46AM
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going back to the "leave pictures on walls, dishes in cabinets" i would be leary of that. anything of value that can be broken AND NOT REPLACED should be removed. if you have your grandmother's wedding china in a cabinet, take it out of the house during the raising. yes, they generally go very smooth, but on occassion something happens and a jack fails and then you get a drop. even if the house only settles gently towards one side, it can be enough that things fall. for general plates and pictures, i would not worry, but any valuable stuff, even if only valuable for a memento, should be removed from the house completely.

CHECK, RECHECK, AND HAVE YOUR ATTORNEY CHECK their license, insurance, and bonding before you hire this company. nothing worse could happen than if they jack it up, the house splits, and then they bail on you and close up business. get PLENTY of references and actually visit them. ask those references if they remember any other references they were given when their work was done. this is not something to just jump into, do your research and do it well.

as to the tear down, can you do it yourself? a few friends with sledge hammers can take it down in a couple hours. debris dispoasl is the biggest cost, that is why in my area many people will use the blocks for fill or even erosion control. i know a few folks who have filled in old swimming pools with debris before covering with dirt. you want to ahul off the wood scraps, but the blocks can be busted up and used for fill. some juristictions may not allow this, so check first before you decide to do it.

our local county road dept will take concrete blocks and other concrete debris for free. they grind it up and use it on gravel roads. saves the county a ton of money each year. of course, you have to pay someone to take it to them still, at an average of 100.00 a truck load. but then a garage of that size would only be 1-2 dumptruck loads if loaded properly.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 10:24AM
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I removed an attached 2 car garage plus a sunroom that was on the back of it 2 years ago to make room for an addition that included rebuilding in the same area with a new garage on the end.

I seperated the house from the garage/sunroom so that the demolition people could pull it down and remove. I also moved the gas lines and electric utilities. The cost of removing the garage and sunroom plus excavating for the addition (25x36 9' deep) and garage (26x36 6' deep for footings) was ~$6k. All of the dirt stayed on-site and we built a berm.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 12:19PM
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"Cinderblocks weigh a lot...I'd bet you'll get close to $10,000 just for dumping expenses."

Actually, Cinderblocks aka CMUs are made of concrete and concrete is recyclable.
I removed a concrete patio myself. Cost = Jackhammer rental fee ($40 or so).
In Dallas, there is a concrete recycler that accepts concrete rubble (and cinderblocks) without charging. I'd look up where the nearest concrete recycler in your area is.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 3:33PM
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Thank you for your responses. I'm definitely very skeptical about the lift. I don't have any expensive dishes or anything like that, but I really don't want to replace all of my everyday dishes either.

You've given me so many things to think about. Thanks jrldh for the tidbit on the recycling. I called one business. Unfortunately the one place I called charges $1250 per load. I'm assuming that's $1,250 - not $12.50. Gosh, should I even call back and double check? How embarrassing!!! I'm planning on calling several other companies.

I've put a call into 2 more house raisers that were recommended to me by my neighbor. I gave him a call to find out if he knew anyone that did demolition. He says, "I'll do it for you." I had no idea that he did that work. I'm not sure why. He does everything else.

Anyway, my husband needs to use the computer, so I'll post the rest of my message later.

I'll definitely post pictures if I do the house raising.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 5:45PM
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Well, I'm embarrassed and yet happy to say, I called the concrete recycling company back and it is $12.50 a truckload. I consider myself mildly knowledgeable when it comes to this house stuff (because of this site), but I obviously need a lot of work.

We're still getting bids for the house raising and basement. Hopefully we'll have a plan in the next month or so.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 10:09PM
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This is quite interesting. Please keep us updated.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 12:38PM
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Well, it was full speed ahead, and now the brakes are on. DH isn't sure it's sensible to spend, when all is said and done, 50K for a basement. I don't see it that way. I see it as 1600 sf of MUCH NEEDED SPACE. Can you tell I'm at my wits end? We're busting at the seams. We're definitely putting on some type of addition, and we have a budget. He doesn't want to take 50K off the budget just for the basement. That is totally understandable, but many/most of our needs won't be solved without a basement.

Anyway, after 12 years of marriage, I know how to handle this. Over the years there have been several moments like this.

For example, we discussed having 3 children when we were dating. After being married and having 2 boys, he felt we should stop. I wanted to try for a third, secretly hoping for that little girl. After many months/years of no's...our little (daddy's) girl will be 4 in July, and yes he had agreed, no tricking.

He was hesitant to move to our current home, it was a big jump, but you couldn't beat the neighborhood or location. I worked my magic and this is our 6th year in the house. Mind you it needs much work and updating to be what we'd like it to be, but like I always tell my kids, good things come to those who wait.

There have been many other situations like these.

He said no kids love having their friends over to swim and zip down our slide.

He said we're driving to South Carolina...the flight was a bit bumpy, but much faster and quieter than a car ride with a 3, 6, and 9 year old.

He just needs a little time to warm-up to all of it. And I totally respect that. He sees friends struggling to make ends meet because they are living above their means, and it scares him...well both of us.

I'm shooting for September to start this project. I'm still weighing our options. I will update this post and hopefully it will say:

He didn't want a kids love our large open basement where they can have fun together, be as loud as they want, and do their thing without tripping over each other.

Keep your fingers crossed.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 8:10PM
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To tear down a 21 x 21 Garage and leave nothing, but dirt in its place. That is only 441 Sq/Ft that should be a 1 day deal or less for demolition after you get a Asbestos survey and Lead base paint survey and your demolition permit is pulled with SC DHEC and your local gov't if necessary. That job if "no" asbestos is found and no lead based paint is found there. Shouldn't cost you more than $3000.00 if it does you are being ripped off, Buts it is hard to tell sight unseen. I'm out of Augusta,Ga and I own Chaplin and Sons Clearing and Demoltion you can check us out at if your close to Augusta,Ga give me a call I'll give you a quote and have your job back on track!!!!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 6:33PM
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Thanks for the response chaplinandsons. I actually live in southern New Jersey. Your estimate sounds reasonable. I'll keep that in mind if someone tries to pull one over on us. ;o)

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 11:39PM
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Lori, I've found this an interesting thread! Where I live (MN) everyone I know of has a basement. However, my cousins lake cabin didn't and she added one a few years ago. I only saw her cabin for the first time a year ago and it was gorgeous. I couldn't believe it when her daughter explained how they lifted the cabin and added the basement walk-out, doubling their square footage. They are quite happy with that decision, no doubt.

I hear you when you say that hubby has cold feet at the moment and may need to warm to the idea. I have been married 27 years. I recall many a "discussion" when we're had opposite views. I learned not to push but to walk away and give him a little time to think it over. Sometimes he even believes it's his own idea a week or two later!

I'm sorry I don't have any advice for you, but I will keep my fingers crossed. And I was quite happy that you called the hauler back and found out that it was 12.50 a load; that must have made your day!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 4:37PM
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neesie - I'm so glad to hear about your cousin's positive experience. I can only hope and pray ours will be the same. Some of these stories scare the bejebus out of me. I believe just about all of my neighbors have basements. Even the ones that have riverfront property.

Unfortunately we're still on hold. We're getting finances in order. The basement won't be the only thing changing. After the sudden death of my dear mother last April, my father would like to live with us as well as with my oldest brother. So, we'll share my dad. He doesn't like being alone...who would? So we not only need room for our family of 5, we need space for him too.

You probably say moving might be a better option. We've thought about it, but keep deciding against it since a home to fit our needs would be in the 400K range. If we add on/remodel we would have what we want and pay the same as we would if we moved or still less and keep our pool, large back yard and open field behind us. If I mention selling our house, people's ears perk up, and I get several people interested. It's one of the most desirable neighborhoods in our town. That's why we're here. Fast forward 8 years and what was once comfortable is now bursting at the seams.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 1:27AM
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Cutting your home free of its foundation and lifting it into the air is not the only way to create a basement.

Here is a link that might be useful: Basement Created under existing Home.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 10:13AM
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Instead of demolishing the garage, why not consider the possibility of converting it to living space?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 10:17AM
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I'm sorry to hear about your mom's death; you are really a family in transition now! Worthy, that link you posted was amazing! Maybe she could keep the garage AND get a basement too!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 3:08AM
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worthy - I bookmarked that awesome link!!! Thanks so much! There are always obstacles with this house. We live on a crawlspace, but it is very low in the ground, and the dirt is built up, so you can barely get in there. It would be great if we didn't have to lift the whole house and disconnect everything.

Actually the garage would be living space. Since we can only add to the back of the house or go up, I was planning on knocking down the garage and making that our master bedroom. I would keep the garage and transform it if it wasn't all cinder block.

We don't keep our cars in the garage now because 1.) we have no basement so the fusball table and espn football games are in there for the boys, as well as our workout machines 2.) the door to the garage is too small for the cars/trucks to get through.

The garage is 21x21 so I'm hoping that's enough room for our bedroom, bath and closet. If not, there's room to expand behind the garage. I figured we could make a nice shed out back for snowblowers, kayaks, etc.

Things may start moving soon. A builder/friend we spoke with isn't getting any business. Things have really slowed down in our area (Jersey Shore) and money is very, very tight for them. He's giving us a great price, so we may take him up on the offer before he changes his mind.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 4:25PM
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Dad has 1 stall garage w poor roof.sis lived
W dad since 06.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 12:10AM
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