Austin Demolition: What’s the Difference between Demolition and Deconstruction?

Posted: March 28, 2014 in Austin Demolition Services
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ImageWhile you’re researching demolition contractors to do your home renovation job, you’ll probably come across the term “deconstruction.” So what’s the difference between demolition and deconstruction?

Demolition is a catch all term that encompasses deconstruction. Hence, all deconstruction jobs are demolition jobs, but not all demolition jobs are deconstruction jobs.

Demolition is used to describe any dismantling of a building, home or specific room. There are two main types of demolition: selective and explosive. Explosive demolition is the kind you usually see in the news – the kind where demolition contractors bring down huge buildings using dynamite. They always make the evening news because they’re pretty awesome, but they actually account for only about 2% of all demolition jobs.

The other 98% of demolition jobs are selective demolition jobs – mainly residential ones. Most of the time the term selective demolition is used to include any home remodeling jobs that will include taking anything apart such as tearing down a wall, removing cabinets, ripping up some tile, etc.

Deconstruction, on the other hand, is a term used to describe taking apart a home or building in a way that salvages as many materials for reuse as possible.

According to Green Building Advisor, “Deconstruction is “unbuilding”—taking a building apart, often reversing the order of the construction of the building. There are two general categories of deconstruction. Selective deconstruction is going in before demolition and removing easy, high-value materials such as solid, paneled interior doors; lighting fixtures; “wavy” glass windows; or maybe even hardwood flooring. Whole-house deconstruction includes soft-stripping but goes further to take apart and salvage the structure: framing lumber, sheathing, even bricks.” (You can read more about their stance on deconstruction here)

Deconstruction is considered the more environmentally-friendly option since it reduces the amount of waste sent to the landfill. From old carpet to fixtures such as cabinets, bath tubs, toilets, tile, shutters, etc., many items from a deconstruction site can be donated to charities such as the Habitat for Humanity Restore. The rest of the items such as left over wood, drywall, metal, etc. can all be recycled.

As we mentioned above, deconstruction usually refers to jobs where the old building materials are taken about in a way that allows most of them to be donated. However, many demolition companies now recycle up to 90% of all demolition waste. So while deconstruction has long been considered the more environmentally-friendly option, demolition contractors are working to bridge that gap.

If you’re in need of Austin demolition and/or deconstruction services, you can find Dirty Work on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ or call us at 512-328-3698.

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