Q: What is the safest way to demolish a free-standing garage?

— Keith, Yardley, Pennsylvania

A: Tom Silva replies: As far as I'm concerned, the smartest option is to hire a company that specializes in that kind of job to do it for you.

If you really want to demolish it yourself, the best and safest way is just to think about how it was built and then unbuild it in reverse. For example, if the last thing that went on was the roof shingles, the roof shingles should be the first thing you take off. The next thing would probably be the roof sheathing. Then you get in and you remove each rafter, one at a time.

In almost every case, you're basically dismantling from the top down. The worst thing that you can do is go in and break the bottom leg of the door off in the hope that the whole thing will just collapse.

So in a word: take your time and unbuild the building.
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