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How to Tear Down a Shed

How to Tear Down a Shed

No shed will last forever, and unfortunately, when yours has deteriorated beyond repair, it’s time to tear it down.

Your shed may be run-down, too large, or too small for the yard. Or you might want to remove a shed from your garden or yard altogether. Perhaps the location is earmarked for something like a new garden makeover, and that old shed is now in the way.

Fortunately, removing a shed is one task a homeowner can do themselves. The process for taking down a small, dilapidated shed is pretty straightforward. Even a more oversized shed is feasible to do yourself, provided you have the right tools and know-how.

Planning how to do the work will avoid unnecessary delays and keep your costs to a minimum. Keep reading to learn how to tear down a shed while keeping yourself, your property, and everyone around you safe.

How Do You Tear Down a Shed by Hand?

Before you get active with a sledgehammer, you need to get organized and make a plan.

1. Create an Action Plan

Clearing your old shed can take a surprisingly long time if you do it all yourself, so first, you need to set a timeline.

Decide the final date by which you want the shed cleared out and plan backward from there. A generally reasonable timeframe is three weeks, which will give you plenty of time to inquire about permits, clear out the shed, tear down the structure, and dispose of junk.

2. Find Out If You Need a Permit

It’s easy to overlook this. After all, it’s just an old garden shed, and you are not demolishing a building. However, a permit can be required to change, demolish or rebuild a structure, so check this out before starting work.

There is no standardization across the USA about permits. Each state and city are different. Doing the work without a permit can result in a hefty fine, usually in the region of $2,000.

3. Empty the Shed Contents

Removing your shed is an excellent opportunity to have a good clear-out. Sheds can acquire a lot of junk—out of sight, out of mind—and quickly become an overspill from the house.

Plan where you will put stuff you want to keep, especially if you don’t intend to replace your shed with a new model.

Divide the contents into different groups, sell, dump, recycle and donate to charity. Any potentially hazardous waste may need specialist disposal.

Your city government will be able to advise you, and many run hazardous waste collection events. Typical hazardous waste includes propane gas tanks and pesticides. You can’t take these to your regular waste disposal facility.

4. Plan How You Will Dispose of the Garbage

Knocking down an old shed will leave you with a big heap of mixed materials to toss. Materials will include metal sheets, wood planks and beams and nails, and other metalwork.

A junk removal company can clear this waste for you. Junk removal companies are different from simply hiring a dumpster as they will actually aid in the heavy lifting. It is a much more accessible option. They can give you advice on certain materials and items that they can take and others that may need more specialist treatment.

The alternative is to hire a dumpster or take the waste to the dump yourself, which can be far more labour intensive.

5. Gather the Tools and Equipment You Will Need

Most of the equipment you need you may already have to hand. You’ll need:

  • Ladder
  • Screwdrivers
  • Sledgehammer
  • Hammer
  • Crowbar
  • Chisels
  • Pliers
  • Roofing shovel
  • Masking tape

Don’t forget personal safety and protection. A hard hat is a must, as are goggles to protect your eyes from dust and flying debris. Equip yourself with a pair of heavy-duty or industrial gloves and boots with steel toe caps.

Always cover your arms and legs. You don’t need to wear overalls (although this is a good idea) but avoid a T-shirt and shorts. Wear pants and a shirt with long sleeves.

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6. Disconnect the Services

Some sheds have electricity, which you need to disconnect. You may also have water connected and gas.

It’s best to leave this part to professionals. Mistakes with electrical lines and gas can be deadly.

Whether cutting these services is permanent will depend upon whether you intend to build a new shed. You can have them capped temporarily, awaiting reconnection until you’ve built a new structure.

7. Remove the Windows and Doors

Take the door off its hinges and remove the windows. It makes it much safer when you come to dismantle the walls.

Clear any trim or caulking around the window area using a hammer and chisel. Next, pry out the nails or screws, and the window will come away.

To avoid dangerous breakages, use masking tape on both sides so if the pane breaks as you remove it, the glass will remain intact.

This step is also an excellent opportunity to take out any internal shelving or storage so that the only thing you have left is the basic structure of four walls and the roof.

8. Remove the Roof

As you dismantle the shed, it will become increasingly unstable. If you work from the top down, you will minimize accidents.

It is worth taking time to understand the safety rules or working at height from a ladder, even if your shed roof is relatively low. Falls are one of the most common causes of injuries and even death in household accidents.

Work from the outside in, removing the roofing sheets, the securing nails, and then the framework beneath.

9. Dismantle the Walls

Start with the wall at the front that had the door, as this is the most structurally unstable. Make sure the area around the shed is clear of objects and obstructions. You also want to clear space for the walls to fall.

Remove the fixings connecting the two walls to each other and the floor. Then gently push over each wall.

Lever up any plank flooring. Pile the wood walls and floor in a neat heap for safety. Your shed may be sitting on a concrete slab that will also need removal unless you plan to build a new shed.

How Much Does It Cost to Tear Down an Old Shed?

The cost of shed removal will depend upon several different factors, the most important of which is whether you are hiring a contractor to do the removal or doing it yourself.

Doing it yourself is cheaper and will cost a few hundred dollars, but it will usually take much longer than hiring a demolition firm.

A specialist will get the job done more quickly, but the average cost for this service is higher, usually around $1,500.

Here are some of the factors which will influence the final cost.

Location of the Shed

Unfortunately, sheds are often tucked away in hard-to-access corners of the yard or garden. Difficult site access means the job will take longer and increase labor charges if you hire a contractor.

Waste Disposal Materials

Sheds can consist of different materials, including stone, wood, and metal. They often include a variety of parts as well. Most sheds are made from wood and sit on a concrete or stone slab. The roofing is usually sheet metal.

The greater the mix of materials, the longer the shed will take to tear down. Heavier materials will incur higher disposal fees.

The Condition of the Shed

If your shed is old and falling apart, it won’t take much effort to knock it down.

But what if you have moved to a new house and just don’t want the shed? A newer structure will take more work to dismantle.

Also, bear in mind that if a shed poses a potential danger during destruction, then your contractor may charge more for the work. This issue is more common with older, decayed sheds.

Services to the Shed

Most sheds will have electricity, which you’ll need to have an electrician disconnected. Some sheds also have gas and water, so hiring contractors to disconnect these all adds to the cost.


With research, care and planning, it is possible for most householders to tear down a garden shed. A plan will help you dispose of waste and unwanted materials while keeping you safe.

Nixxit Junk Removal can help you clear out and dispose of your dismantled shed parts. Our expert and professional team can haul scrap metal, junk, and so much more at a time convenient to you, all for a reasonable cost.

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nixxitjunk · Jul 15