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The All-Time Most Useful Hand Tools for Demolition

If you're getting ready to do some remodeling or start work on an addition, you'll likely need some demolition tools. Here are some of the all-time most useful hand tools for demolition.

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Woman with Sledgehammer Hand Tools for DemolitionLolostock/Shutterstock


When you’re ready to do a major tear-down, grab the sledgehammer. Whether you’re busting up concrete or taking out a wall, a sledgehammer is a must-have tool for DIY demolition.

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crowbarRobo of Rawmarsh/Shutterstock


Sometimes called a prybar or wrecking bar, a crowbar can be used to remove nails or as a lever to force apart objects, such as when you’re rebuilding a deck. Look for one with an ergonomic grip for easier handling.

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pliersAlena PI/Shutterstock


Pliers are a must-have hand tool for any DIYer. You’ll likely need a pair of pliers for demolition projects such as removing carpet or loosening nuts, bolts and screws.

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Nail PullerLarich/Shutterstock

Nail Puller

A nail puller will help you remove any stubborn, stuck nails while also working to minimize any damage to the material the nail is stuck in. A nail puller is a helpful tool for those who refinish old furniture or need to remove nails from wood trim.

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tin snipsFamily Handyman


If you’re looking to cut through sheet metal, grab a pair of snips. Snips will come in handy if you’re working on replacing old HVAC ducts.

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A hammer is sometimes your best option for removing tile or tearing out drywall. There are several hammer styles to choose from. To minimize damage to surrounding materials, keep your eye on where you want to strike, not the on the hammer.

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Demo Fork

When it comes to demolition, it doesn’t get much better than a demo fork. This demo fork from Honey Badger has fangs at the end that you can slide underneath old flooring or roof shingles. Then use the long handle as a lever to pry the materials apart.

Photo: Courtesy of Honey Badger Demo Forks

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Wonder Bar

When it’s time to rip out drywall, the Wonder Bar from Stanley Tools will help you take it apart and then help you hang new drywall like a pro. The arched center will also help with nail pulling.

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screwdriverAndrey Solovev/Shutterstock


Not all demolition work is large in scale. A screwdriver can help with delicate demolition work, such as removing and fixing electrical outlets or removing a damaged floor board.

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safety gearAlex Kosev/Shutterstock

Safety Gear

Before you even get started with demolition, you need a pair of safety glasses and a hard hat. If you’re doing work that creates dust, use a dust mask or consider a respirator with an exhalation valve. Use gloves to protect your hands.

Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.