Going Green At A House Flip Demolition

Ever watch those house flipping episodes as they completely gut a home with sledge hammers, then fill giant waste containers with the demolition waste? It can be both fascinating and horrifying when you consider how much the landfill will increase by the time the home is sold. If you are flipping a home but want to do it without throwing everything away, consider going green. You can salvage a large portion of what others consider rubbish by reusing or recycling it. Here's what material from a flip can be reused or recycled.


A lot of the demolition done by sledge hammer is for removing unwanted framed walls made of 2 x 4s. Unstable floors get taken out, resulting in large pieces of plywood and other wood flooring. This includes any wood molding along the floor. Older homes might have other valuable ornamental pieces that can be reused, like wooden fixtures, casings, and sashes.  All this wood can be reused in other projects if the pieces are long enough. Shorter, unpainted pieces that cannot be reused can be recycled instead. Only discard wood that is pressure-treated, painted, or obviously rotting. When you are removing old wood and lumber, be careful when handling any containing lead paint; it's especially dangerous if it is visibly bubbling, chipping or flaking.

Plaster and Gypsum Sheetrock

You can salvage large pieces of sheetrock for reuse if you remove them with care; it's just a matter or unscrewing the screws attaching them to the frame. If the pieces were nailed, it is more difficult and the wallboard can crack and break. Smaller cracks in used sheetrock can be repaired with a skim coat. Unpainted wallboard can be recycled into new gypsum wallboard, fertilizer, and composting. Just as in salvaging lumber, watch out for painted wallboard that contains lead paint.


Kitchen and bathroom cabinets are another item that's fun to demo using a sledge hammer. But if they're still in good shape, instead of destroying them, unscrew cabinets from their position against the wall and reuse them somewhere else. You can donate them to second hand home improvement stores. If the cabinets are trashed already but the hardware still looks great, remove those handles and hinges and let someone else put them to use. If the cabinets are constructed of interior-grade plywood or particle board, there is the possibility they contain formaldehyde and should not be reused.


Your flipping project may need a newer style of window, which warrants removing whole, unbroken older windows. These can be donated or reused somewhere else. If they are single pane older windows, the new owner would only need to add storm windows to make them more energy efficient. If the window glass is broken, the wood frames might be salvageable.  Even broken glass is someone else's treasure for creating works of art, or recycled into fiberglass or tile flooring. Those old rusty screens and frames can be recycled along with other metal at a recycling center.

Concrete Driveways

Many homes that qualify as a flip project have an old, cracked, or pitted concrete driveway that needs to be replaced. Tackling that expanse of concrete may seem daunting, but the hard part comes when it's time to figure out what to do with all those chunks.  Hauling the concrete to the landfill costs money to dump it. Many flippers don't realize or care that concrete can be recycled into other projects. When ground up into the appropriate size, concrete is used as road base aggregate, walkways, and even combined with new aggregate to produce new concrete. While there is no monetary value in recycling concrete like copper and brass, salvaging it still helps the environment by increasing the life of landfills and using fewer natural resources.

Talk to a professional, like Alliance Demolition Services Inc, for more ideas and information.