How to Tear Down a Shed

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Things You'll Need

  • Work gloves

  • Safety glasses

  • Long-sleeve shirt

  • Denim jeans

  • Hard-toe work boots

  • Dumpster

  • Ladder

  • Claw-hammer

  • 3-foot pry-bar

  • Rope

  • Flathead screwdriver

  • Hex-head screwdriver

  • Electric screwdriver

  • Hacksaw

  • Reciprocating Saw

  • Wire cutters

  • Sledgehammer

  • Jackhammer

  • Earplugs

  • Shovel

  • Garden rake


Contact your local municipality before beginning demolition to see if a permit is required. Have a lead test performed on painted surfaces before work begins. Have an asbestos test performed before tearing down the shed. Wear appropriate respiration and follow OSHA approved guidelines when working with these hazardous materials.

A hardhat and a sledgehammer go hand-in-hand with demolition work.

Tearing down a shed is called demolition work. If you're planning on keeping any of the building materials that the shed is made of or even if you're not, tear the shed down in phases. A shed is built from the ground up and torn down from the roof down. Some sheds are free-standing and others have fixed foundations such as cement floors or footing. Use the materials for other building projects or give them away.


Step 1

Remove everything from inside or outside the shed that you want to keep.

Step 2

Turn off all water, gas and electrical supply lines to the shed. Doing this will ensure no leaks are sprung and no electrocution happens while tearing down the shed. If you're not sure how to do this, hire a plumber, gas company or an electrician to do the job.

Step 3

Put on a pair of work gloves, safety glasses, a long-sleeve shirt, denim jeans and hard-toe work boots.


Step 4

Set up a large garbage dumpster six feet away from the shed.

Step 5

Set up a ladder and lean it up against the roof of the shed. Climb up on top of the roof with a claw-hammer.

Step 6

Pull off the roofing materials by pulling the nails out with the claws of the hammer, grabbing the material with your hands and then tossing the roofing down into the nearby garbage dumpster. The roof may be made of asphalt or wood shingles or tin. There may be multiple layers of shingles. Pull them all off until you get down to the sub-roof.


Step 7

Slip a 3-foot pry-bar down in the crack between two of the sub-roof boards. Pound it in with the hammer, if needed, and pull the pry-bar toward your body in a downward direction until the edge of one of the boards lifts up. This process lifts the nails up out of the trusses beneath the boards. Remove all sub-roof boards in this manner and throw them into the dumpster.

Step 8

Pull all insulation out from between the trusses. Kick the ceiling of the shed down onto the shed floor. Hold onto the trusses, keeping one foot on a truss while doing this. The ceiling is usually attached to the trusses with drywall screws, so kick hard or pound down with the hammer.


Step 9

Get on the ladder leaning against the wall of the shed and pull the nails out of the brackets holding the trusses to the tops of the shed walls with the pry-bar and the claw-hammer. Let the trusses lean against one another until they're all detached.

Step 10

Tie a rope to one truss at a time and yank it off the shed walls. Toss each truss into the dumpster.

Step 11

Pull all of the trim-work around doors, windows and walls off of the shed with the pry-bar and the hammer. Toss it in the dumpster.


Step 12

Remove all electrical outlet and light-switch covers from the inner and outer walls of the shed with a screwdriver. Remove all light-fixtures and hardware. Remove the doors by unscrewing the hinges from the door casings. Toss everything in the dumpster that you don't want to keep.

Step 13

Pry out all windows from the shed using the pry-bar. Toss them in the dumpster if you're not going to keep them. Be careful to not break the glass.

Step 14

Tear the siding off the shed with the pry-bar and the hammer, working from top to bottom. Use the ladder if needed. If the shed walls are made of brick or block then use a sledge hammer to knock them down from top to bottom. Pull the inside wall coverings down with the pry-bar and hammer. It may be drywall or plywood. Toss everything in the dumpster.


Step 15

Pull the insulation out of the walls and cut out the electrical wires and plumbing pipes. Use a hacksaw if the wires are running through metal conduits. Use the hacksaw to cut through the plumbing if the pipes are metal. A reciprocating saw can also speed up this process. Use a pair of wire cutters to snip the wires.

Step 16

Pull the brackets off the corners holding the frames together using the claw hammer. Tie a rope to the tops of the frames and pull the walls down off the shed's foundation.

Step 17

Rip up the flooring and sub-flooring with the pry-bar and claw hammer. Pry the floor-joists out of the brackets holding them to the foundation. Cut out all electrical wiring and plumbing.


Step 18

Break the floor into manageable size pieces with a jackhammer if the floor is made of concrete. This is a slow process. Wear ear plugs for this task. Jackhammer the foundation if it is also concrete. Toss all of the concrete into the dumpster. Pull out all plumbing drains and pipe.

Step 19

Level out the soil where the shed stood using a shovel and garden rake.


Cody Sorensen

Cody Sorensen has been writing professionally since 2009. His online articles focus on his experience with painting, horticulture, construction, plumbing, home improvement and agriculture. Sorensen is a licensed truck driver, certified forklift operator and a journeyman painter. He studied organizational communications at Brigham Young University.