The Differences between Demolishing and Dismantling

If you have an upcoming project you have been thinking you would like to have removed, then chances are you have already done quite a bit of research.  Throughout your research, you have heard and become familiar with many new terms.  You have also undoubtedly heard old terms that have taken on new meanings. In…

If you have an upcoming project you have been thinking you would like to have removed, then chances are you have already done quite a bit of research.  Throughout your research, you have heard and become familiar with many new terms.  You have also undoubtedly heard old terms that have taken on new meanings.

In construction, and especially in deconstruction, we hear the words dismantling and demolishing tossed around a lot.  These terms are similar in their end result, but the processes they represent are actually quite different.

We want to take some time in this post to discuss the differences between demolishing and dismantling so that when you decide you are ready to move forward with your next removal project, you know exactly what you need to do.

First, let us get a firm definition of these words:

[1]demolish verb

de·​mol·​ish | \ di-ˈmä-lish  \

demolished; demolishing; demolishes

Definition of demolish

transitive verb


demolish a building

b: to break to pieces : SMASH

His car was demolished in the accident.

2a: to do away with : DESTROY

a filibuster which would effectively demolish the issue

— Current Biography

… a performance so awkward and apathetic it instantly appeared to demolish any chance of restoring her declining career …

— Dave Itzkoff

b: to strip of any pretense of merit or credence

demolished her debate opponents

demolish a stereotype

[2]dismantle verb

dis·​man·​tle | \ (ˌ)dis-ˈman-tᵊl  \

dismantled; dismantling\ (ˌ)dis-​ˈmant-​liŋ  , -​ˈman-​tᵊl-​ \

Definition of dismantle

transitive verb

1: to disconnect the pieces of

will have to dismantle the engine

also : to destroy the integrity or functioning of

The program was later dismantled due to a lack of funding.

2: to strip of dress or covering : DIVEST

3: to strip of furniture and equipment

dismantled the ship before scrapping it

Same, but Different

We often use the words demolish and dismantle interchangeably, but upon a deeper look, we see these are two substantially different actions with similar but varying results which ultimately serve the same purpose – a deconstruction.

The Difference between Demolishing and Dismantling at Alpine

At Alpine Demolition Services, LLC., we are demolition experts, and our business is to dismantle or demolish your most daunting projects.

So, above we shared the dictionary definitions which outline the key differences between dismantling and demolishing.  When we look at these in practice, what are the differences between a project which requires dismantling and one that needs to be demolished?

We have provided this post to help you decide if your project needs to be demolished or dismantled, and what the differences are between the two processes.

Projects Needing To Be Demolished

In our line of work, demolition “implies breaking up. The work may comprise of dismantling/demolishing whole or part of work including all relevant items consisting of but not limited to stone work, brick work, concrete floorings, roofing, and iron work as specified.”[3]

At Alpine, our team is made up of some of the most experienced, knowledgeable, and professional demolition experts in the deconstruction industry. No matter what your project is, we are here and ready to guide you step by step through the demolition process.  We go the extra mile by conducting all the planning and paying close attention to the intricate details of your demolition project and what this type requires. Our team, along with you, will tackle the most difficult commercial demolition projects, and we will do it safely.  There’s no other deconstruction team better than Alpine Demolition.

Demolishing may require blasting, large backhoes and bulldozers, wrecking balls and jackhammers.

Your project will need to be demolished if it cannot be deconstructed in parts.  Examples of structures that are likely to require demolishing rather than dismantling are homes, buildings, old factories, and sometimes bridges or overpasses.

Check out some of our incredible demolish projects here: portions of Wrigley Field,  demolition of a multistory building but notice the dismantling of the outer columns, and a multistory building in a congested area, more photos of active demolition.

Projects Needing To Be Dismantled

We can see above that to dismantle means things are being taken apart, piece by piece.  But what does this mean when it comes to buildings, water towers, stadiums, or parking garages?  Structures are not like a model airplane that can be deconstructed piece by piece, or can they?

In construction, dismantling “means to carefully take apart one or more parts of a building or structure without damaging the other parts.[4]

Dismantling requires cranes, excavators, a bucket truck (cherry pickers), and other machines that permit our teams to grasp pieces and remove them, most likely to load them into a dump truck where they can be repurposed or carefully disposed of. 

Examples of projects that are likely to require dismantling rather than demolishing would be a water tower, stadium bleachers, bridges and overpasses are also likely to be dismantled. Dismantling is also commonly used if the project manager or board would like to salvage existing parts and repurpose them.  Several of our projects at Alpine Demolition require a combination of dismantling and demolishing.  First, we will dismantle a room, tower, bridge, etc.  Then, after the salvageable parts are removed, if the demolition is still the goal, we will move forward with the breaking down of the site.

To see some of our dismantling projects, check out some photos of our complete projects including the dismantling of an active plant and escalator.

Do you have a project that needs to be demolished or dismantled?

At Alpine Demolition, we are a full-service demolition contractor team. Yes, we demolish towers, buildings, infrastructure, stadiums, railroads, interior, and provide specialty demolitions.

We have taken a few moments today to discuss the key differences between a demolition project and a dismantling project.  If you have any questions about your upcoming project, and you would like more information on what that project will entail, click here to submit a question.

If you are ready to move forward with your next project, click here and scroll down to our Bid Request Form to begin the process of having your structure removed.

For any questions, comments, or concerns, or to speak with our knowledgeable staff, call us at 630- 761-0700.





From our Clients

  • Spoke with Marie Portis, District 1, who wanted to pass on they were very pleased with the performance of your staff. They raved about the professionalism and quality of service received.

    Patrick Kelleher - IDOT
  • It was nice working with Alpine again. Your crew did awesome. The University was very happy.

    Dave Haas - Pepper Construction
  • “Your crew did a great job! Thanks to you and all your people for helping us get that old house on its way.”

    Kevin Morrissey
  • “Your performance and quick responses to work request is exceptional! I will not forget it, and will recommend you to my many PM friends around Chicagoland.”

    Ron C. Tamason, P.E. - The Missner Group
  • "I just wanted to send you a quick note and say thank you. The guys did a great job. I was very pleased with the way everything worked out."

    Richard Porter - Porter & Company, Masonry
  • "I just wanted to commend you for the very safe and talented group of employees you have onsite here at Midway. Your crews are top-notch."

    Neil Barkowski - F.H. Paschen, Civil
  • "Great work today with picking the beams! We got a lot of positive comments about the professionalism, and how clean the job site is."

    C Lawler - F.H. Paschen