I get calls in which someone has a sofa or just a few pieces of furniture and just doesn’t have the money to pay someone to pick it up, so I tell them where they can take the items. I know I would appreciate it if I was in that position.
Just a little extra help
Once in a while I get a call from someone who is moving and in a jam. They just need help getting their things from their house, apartment or condo into the truck. It may just be a couch, bed, table or even enough to fill the truck.
I get a lot of hoarding jobs where I literally can’t walk through the house, apartment, condo or garage. On these jobs I have to pull out chairs, boxes, sofas, clothes and TV’S as I go. Often the items have been accumulated over 50 years and more and there is no telling what I will run into and have rescued dogs and cats which have been abandoned. On some of the more extreme hoarding situations the only way to enter the house is entering through a small kitchen window. On these jobs it looks as though a tornado hit the place, with sofas, tables and mattresses tossed all over the place. These are usually multiple load jobs and very little can be donated to a thrift store, The Salvation Army or Goodwill.
Fire Damage Jobs
I’ve cleaned out houses, apartments and condos have burned severely. On one job in Burbank a water heater had exploded and the garage and house had caught on fire. I filled three 40 yard bins in two days with wood, metal, chairs, tables, sofas, beds, toys and clothes.
I do a lot of jobs involving demolition of kitchens, bathrooms, free standing structures, such as rooms and garages, decks and gazeebos. Awnings are another of the more common things to be removed. I did a job that required cleaning out a two-story house with a basement in Alhambra which had a full-size garage to be demolished. The house was full of all kinds of furniture such as wardrobes, night stands, end tables, cabinets, beds, couches, boxes of clothing and more. The basement was full of machinery, tools, metal lockers and cabinets, more boxes, a refrigerator and work benches. The garage was 15’ x 20’ and had caught on fire which needed to be torn down and removed. I had to put up wood supports to hold it in place while cutting in areas that would allow me to pull it down safely. The roof came down first and then the sides. I demolished the entire garage and paced it in my truck in 1 day.
Kitchen and Bathroom Demolition
I provide kitchen and bathroom demolition service; sometime it’s just taking out a sink, vanity and toilet, other times I will tear out a shower enclosure which often entails taking out the tile, drywall or plywood, going down to the studs. This usually includes taking out the bath tub which can be a lot of work if it’s cast iron. Doing it alone requires breaking the tube into pieces with a sledge hammer and often the tile floor needs to be removed as well.
When doing kitchen tear outs, generally the top and bottom cabinets go, as well as the stove, wall oven, dish washer, sink and garbage disposal. Sometimes there is a drop-ceiling which must come down and often the flooring, which can be tile or linoleum. If it’s on a second floor or if there are lots of stairs it can take a lot of time, filling the trash can and going the extra distance.
Storage Shed Removal
I am often asked to remove storage sheds which are either metal or wood. Some require me to cut them apart with my sawsall, others can be pulled and beaten apart with my hammer and wedge bar.
Jacuzzi removal requires cutting the spa apart into sections and can take quite a bit of time, depending on the type of spa. They are generally 6’ – 7’ square and come in two basic types: one has only the tub inside the wood skirt paneling that wraps around the perimeter and little else to deal with, the other has a fiberglass insulation that forms a solid cube square forming around the tub and takes hours of cutting to get apart into sections that can be carried.
Free Standing Structure Demolition
I also tear down free standing structures such as rooms. I did one in Northridge that was about 75’ long and about 12’ wide. It had a pitched shingle roof with a main room and bathroom. The shingles had to come off first, then the roof cut in sections and after that, II cut the walls into sections I could carry. It was in the back of the house on a big lot and was about 75 yards to my truck.
Taking a deck apart can be simple and quick or time consuming and a lot of work, depending on a number of factors. Sometimes the wood is rotten due to Termites, fire, or just old and has to be carefully handled, especially if it is in the support system. If the deck is built on a hillside it can take a lot more time with the terrain and grade to climb and work on. If the cement footings need to go that adds to the work in a big way. Sometimes there is plywood and other material involved in the structure which again adds to the complexity of the demolition process.
I’ve removed awnings of all sizes, from 10’ x 10’ to 20’ wide and 60’ long. Some have corrugated metal or fiberglass on top of the wood beams. Usually it’s a straightforward process of taking off the sheeting, cutting the top beams, followed by the upright pieces. Depending on the size it is necessary to cut the beams into manageable lengths. Occasionally plywood or sheet metal is used on the roof which adds greatly to the work.
Gazeebos come in a number of sizes and generally range from 8’ x 8’ to 20’ x 20’. Usually they are constructed of wood or plastic lattice over a wood structure and a wood deck. Sometimes the deck is raised above the ground. I n taking the Gazebo apart I start with the lattice, cutting it into sections or pulling it apart. The next step is removing the beams that form an apex or run flat. The upright beams are cut and then the decking is deconstructed.
Concrete and Patio Demolition
When removing a concrete slab, I try to start by running a crack from an end with a sledge hammer. Then I hit the crack several times to break enough to get a long wedge bar into it in order to pry up enough pieces to get a new crack going. If there is no end to start from then it’s necessary to begin wherever I have room to swing the hammer and break open a space to work from. The thickness of the concrete is usually from 3’’ – 4’’, but I’ve seen it as much as 6’’.
When breaking up an asphalt driveway it is really best to have a jack hammer because the material is much softer than concrete and is not as brittle, so it doesn’t crack as easily. I cut it into sections that I can lift, then as with concrete, use the long pry bar to pull it up. I tore out an asphalt driveway in La Crescenta that was about 10’ wide and about 60’ long and had another area 15’ x 15’ . The weight ended up being about 27,000 Lbs. By the time I had loaded and unloaded it I had done over 54, 000 Lbs.’ in two days.
Block and Brick Walls
I’ve taken down block and brick walls that were easy, and hard. If a concrete block wall has no rebar running through it with cement inside the block, it breaks apart easily. Brick walls are often weak from trees having fallen into them or Earthquake damage, and come down fairly quickly. It can be dangerous however and great care must be used. The real work is in tearing out the concrete footing which is generally 6’’-12’’ deep and 6’’ wide.
Wood and Chain Link Fences
Taking out a wood fence can be relatively easy unless vines and shrubs have grown through it. If this is the case it can be a real project. Chain link fences can be pretty straightforward. Using my sawsal I cut the connections at the posts, then roll the chain up. I then cut the posts at the base where they run into the footings. Again the real work is in getting out the concrete footings.