Posts in Demolition
Which Excavator Is Best For My Project? (Mini, 200, or 300 series)
Mini, 200, and 300 excavator line up

Mini, 200, and 300 excavator line up

When it comes to getting a complete demolition project done right, there is only one machine for the job, the excavator. The excavator is the workhorse of most medium to large-scale demolition projects.

Excavators are the preferred tool when it comes to the removal of structures, slabs, concrete footers, and debris. Despite the countless models, the separating factor is the excavator’s weight, load capacity, max reach, and compatible attachments. Out of the dozens of the machines, three classes are relevant when performing demolition.

These classes are the mini-excavators, 200 series, and 300 series. To help you identify which is best for your project, we will be sharing the advantages and disadvantages of each in this blog.


These small but mighty machines are the go-to when on a project that has size restrictions. For transportation, these machines only need a standard or gooseneck trailer. This only adds to their tool-belt of versatility.


Due to their low profile, they are useful in warehouses and other spaces with low rooflines. The excavator's low weight and short stature make it irreplaceable when working in tight quarters or on slabs with weight limits. Though this is the smallest class of excavators, they use the same attachments as the larger excavator classes. These attachments include a hammer-breaker, shear, and bucket. However, these attachments are not identical to those found on the larger excavators. They are all much smaller and have lower work capacity, but they still have their place on a job site.


Mini-excavators are not without their flaws. Excavators in this class are not meant to perform any heavy-duty tasks. This includes structural demolition or moving large quantities of debris. To negate this drawback, along with mini-excavators most projects have a skid-steer on-site to aid in debris removal and material sorting.

200-Series Excavator

The 200-series is the most common excavator class used on demolition wrecking projects. These 20+ ton machines have larger buckets (30-42" cu.yrd.), wider stance, higher lifting capacity and reach.


Due to its 30 foot-plus reach, this excavator class is excellent at demolishing of all structures. The excavator uses larger attachments to help expedite the entire demolition process. This includes bringing a building to the ground, debris sorting, and load-out for disposal. High performance of each of these steps makes this machine self-sufficient and independent. This independence means you can perform a demolition project with only this excavator. Though this class of excavators is mighty capable, they are not ideal when the project includes a turnkey scope of work and are difficult to transport.


Transportation of these larger machines is more complicated than a mini-excavator. For transit this series needs a semi-truck with a lowboy trailer. When using a lowboy trailer, the route that the truck takes is of great importance. The road is important because not all streets and traffic patterns support the turn radius for the semi-truck to arrive at the job site. Also, the 200-series machines struggle whenever asked to perform the more burdensome duties on a job site. These tasks include pulling and breaking (6" +) slab, removing building footers, and moving heavy material. Scope of work such as this demands an excavator of the 300-series being onsite.

300 Excavators

The next series in excavators our competitors and we use is the 300-series excavator. We deploy this excavator when we encounter a project that has a turnkey scope.

300 Excavator

300 Excavator


These machines are capable of accomplishing every task that the 200 series can and then some. This excavator is ideal for digging up building footers, hammering pesky concrete slabs, and processing materials. This machine can complete these tasks because of their 12.5+ ton lifting capacity, 200+ horsepower, 54 cu yd bucket, and operating weight of over 60,000 lbs. Transportation of these massive machines is identical to that of the 200-series excavators. Once loaded on the lowboy trailer, the semi-truck takes a planned route to the job site. Despite all of the advantages, these massive excavators do have some significant disadvantages.


The weakness of this excavator class is precisely what makes it so valuable, its size. That's right, the drawback from using the 300-series excavator is its 12.5+ ton lifting capacity, 200+ horsepower, 54 cu. Yd. bucket, and operating weight of over 60,000 lbs.

All of that muscle is not vital on every project, and it certainly cannot fit on every job site. Most demolition projects are defined by the limited space available to the contractor and how that company will adapt and then complete the scope of work quickly and safely. The other way that size is this machines biggest enemy is its price tag. To rent one of these excavators, you will pay around 35% more than you would if you were to rent a 200-series excavator.

None of these machines are perfect, they each have flaws, and they each have their strengths. What is important to remember is that it is not the biggest machine that will do the best job, but instead it is the machine that fits the situation best.

Hopefully, we have helped you decipher the complicated world of excavators. We hope you feel confident in choosing the best machine for your project!

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How Much Does A Demolition Project Cost? (Rates & Factors)

One of the most common questions that we get at Green Circle Demolition is “How much will it cost to tear down my building?”. This simple question requires much more than a generalized number based on the square footage of the space; therefore we are going to supply you with some rough numbers you can use as guidelines.

The demolition costs for a project fall into two categories: pre-demolition and on-site demolition costs.


Pre-demolition is essentially the steps mandated by your local legislature to remove any structure(s).

Pre-Demolition Costs ($2,500 - $50,000)

Pre-demolition costs are associated with the steps the responsible party takes in getting the structure legally ready for demolition.  The responsible parties are usually general contractors, owners, or demolition contractors. These costs vary by the location and the mandates set forth by the local municipality, but it can cost anywhere from $2,500-$50,000.  This cost of is made up of several steps that make up the pre-demolition step but are ultimately dependent on a few factors.

Factors That Determine Pre-Demolition Costs:

There are three primary factors that will contribute to pre-demolition costs:

  • Location

  • Mandates set forth by the local municipality

  • Hauling

For example, if you have a large multistory building in any major city, you could easily expect to spend over $10,000 on just the demolition permit.  This permit does not include an engineer getting on board, the plans for the project, environmental testing, and a rodent letter among many other reports.

“Demolition is 10% knocking it down and 90% cleaning it up and hauling it off.” GIF

“Demolition is 10% knocking it down and 90% cleaning it up and hauling it off.” GIF


The other half of the cost equation is the actual demolition of the building.  The phrase that we repeat to customer after customer is “demolition is 10% knocking it down and 90% cleaning it up and hauling it off.”

Demolition Costs ($2/SF-$7/SF+)

There are a variety of factors that contribute to actual demolition costs but you can expect the costs to range from $2/SF to $7/SF.  No two projects are alike however but this range is a great starting point. In an ideal situation of $2/SF you would be tearing down a metal structure that is easy to tear down and has low disposal costs. Brick buildings would be the worst case scenario costing at least $7/SF due to lack of disposal options and overall scope of the building. To go further in depth on these costs we have broken down the factors that dictate where exactly your project may fall.

Factors That Determine Demolition Costs

What influences the demolition, cleanup, and haul-off are the structural materials that were used while constructing the building. These materials include metal, wood, and masonry.  Each of these materials will have a direct reflection on the cost of your demolition, see below:  

  • Metal structures-$2/SF+

Metal structures are thought to be the most favorable to encounter because of how cost-effective they are to demolish. Often times, metal buildings are a series of I-beams that are bolted or welded together with a cosmetic skin enclosing it.  This cosmetic skin is usually simple to dispose of with minimal effort. Once the metal is exposed, the structure can be brought down with an excavator or torched to manageable pieces.

The major advantage of demolishing this class of buildings is the recyclability.  The ability to recycle the metal structural components greatly cuts down on the disposal cost and will actually put money back in the contractor’s pocket. We have not found any substantial drawbacks or difficulties when it comes to dealing with these structures.  

Torching Metal Beam GIF

Torching Metal Beam GIF

  • Wood Structures-$4/SF-$7/SF+

Excavator house demo.image

Excavator house demo.image

Most residential homes and apartment complexes are “stick built” or wooden structures.  These wood buildings are fairly straightforward to demolish with the right sized excavator (link to excavator blog), but the disadvantage lies in the disposal of debris. Unlike the metal structures, there is no recycling value to be found with these structures.

Since wood is a decomposable organic material, landfills classify it as construction debris. Construction debris is the most common and also the most expensive load to be disposed of.  Because of this, when this structure is demolished the contractor will not see any reason to sort through the debris and instead dispose of it all as a mixed material. This makes compacting the material much harder than with other building materials.  When materials cannot be compacted, it means that it will take more dumpsters and therefore more money to complete the project.

  • Brick Structures-$4/SF-$7/SF+

Excavator CMU demo.image

Excavator CMU demo.image

Brick buildings are a double-edged sword much like wooden structures.  Schools, hospitals, and older buildings are the structures this material can be found. There are two different kinds of masonry structures that you may come across.  The first and easiest to deal with is a CMU (cinder block) building. The hollow gray colored blocks can be found in 4, 8, 10, and 12-inch sizes. Much like metal and wood, bringing down CMU structures is straightforward with the correct machinery.

Once the building is brought to the ground, debris is sorted, and then hauled off to be recycled. This kind of masonry material can be recycled because once crushed and returned to aggregate, it can be used to make any concrete product in the future.

However, if a masonry building happens to be brick, it is a story much like their wooden structure counterparts.  As of late, it is very challenging to find a facility that will recycle brick, so in most cases, it is treated as construction debris loads. This load of brick debris will be over twice the price of the wood due to the massive difference in weight between the two substances.

There are a lot of factors that can impact the total cost of your demolition. Keep in mind that the disposal costs will dictate if the project ends up being a budget buster or a resounding success. If you have more questions about demolition costs you can contact us and speak to an estimator.