HydroDemolition vs. Standard Demolition: Choosing the Right Approach for Your Project

December 22, 2023

Demolition is a critical phase in construction and renovation projects, and the method chosen can have a very significant impact on the efficiency, safety, and even the environmental stability of the process and on the project overall. There are many different styles, techniques, and aspects of demolition, with the two most common being HydroDemolition and standard demolition. But which approach is right for your project? What are the differences and benefits?  

Hydrodemolition: Stability and Precision  

Hydrodemolition, which is also known as water jetting or even hydro blasting, involves using high-pressure water jets to remove deteriorated, damaged, or unwanted concrete and materials. This process is highly controlled and precise, which makes it an ideal choice for just about any project, but especially those where preserving the integrity of the surrounding structures is crucial.  

When it comes to concrete demolition equipment, our HydroDemolition equipment is the finest on the market. We utilize an intelligent system of machinery that allows for precise, accurate, and safe hydro cutting of concrete, with less time spent and less risk. Our equipment is even able to be operated by just one worker, cutting down on the congestion and cost of a large crew. Utilizing a precision cutting head, and an easy to operate track, our equipment handles exact shapes, and is more precise and cuts perfectly.  


Precision and Selectivity:  

  • HydroDemolition, or hydro demo, selectively removes targeted areas without damaging adjacent structures. Your rebar is also left completely undamaged.  
  • Ideal for delicate projects where precision is essential, such as bridge repairs or even restoration work.  
  • The concrete will be removed without damaging rebar. Further, no damage is done to the surrounding substrate!  
  • Removes concrete to the depth you desire in a way that’s faster and safer than you’ve ever seen before!  
  • Reduce crew congestion and increase safety!  
  • Reduced Vibrations and Dust  
  •  With hydrodemolition, there are minimal vibrations compared to traditional methods, this reduces the risk of structural damage. Not only is there less damage, but the process creates an outstanding surface for new bonding.  

 Virtually dust-free, improving the air quality and minimizing the need for extensive cleanup. This style of demolition produces little to no silica dust, making it a safer, more environmentally friendly option. Standard demolition often releases hidden materials such as lead, asbestos, silica and other chemicals or heavy metals, HydroDemolition virtually eliminates this very serious problem.   The process involved with HydroDemolition exceeds the standards set in place by OSHA for silica safety. This means that HydroDemolition is safer than OSHA standards, making it arguably the safest method of demolition available. 

Environmentally Sustainable 

Water is the primary medium when it comes to hydro demo, which makes it an environmentally friendly option. This is especially true when the water used in the process is collected, treated, and re-used.  

Decreases the amount of waste generated when compared to traditional methods. Because HydroDemolition uses less materials, less equipment, and even less crew, there’s less used and less to clean up. Sites are left cleaner than when we found them!  

Saves Time and Money  

Standard concrete demolition equipment requires a lot more to operate, including more crew, and more time, and even sometimes more money. With our state-of-the-art HydroDemolition equipment, the job is often completed in the same day, with less resources used, and less stress.  

Our equipment requires just one operator, meaning many jobs will take just two people to complete. This saves money and time, providing accurate, clean results without all of the extra machinery, time, or congestion.  

Less Invasive  

Our hydro demo equipment is versatile and can fit into smaller spaces. We’re also experienced with more volatile zones and industries, such as the petrochemical industry. We’re able to easily, and effectively go where other construction and demolition crews can’t.  

  • Because of the low-impact nature of hydrodemolition, there’s not only less pollution in terms of debris and silica dust, but it’s also much quieter than standard demolition methods. This makes HydroDemolition a much more friendly option for everywhere. 

Traditional Power and Versatility: Standard Demolition  

Standard demolition often involves the use of mechanical tools such various jackhammers. These are used to effectively break down structures and are often versatile in the way that the concrete demolition equipment can handle a wide range of materials and project sizes. This machinery is often loud, dangerous, hard to maneuver, and pollutes the zone it’s in.  


This style of demolition is well-suited for large-scale projects involving diverse materials, such as concrete, steel, wood, and masonry. Sometimes, a lot of diverse machinery is needed for a diverse job.  

Jackhammers are efficient at demolishing entire structures. However, this also means that there’s an increased risk of damaging surrounding structures and other infrastructure.  


Wrecking balls and jackhammers are often fast, requiring a strong and well-equipped crew. This means that jobs get completed quickly, usually within a few days or less depending on the scale of the project.  

Cost Effectiveness 

Standard demolition methods may be exceptionally cost effective, or not, for certain types of projects, especially those that require extensive demolition.  For very large projects, with a lot of moving parts, standard demolition may be the right choice.    

Debris Removal  

While standard demolition creates more debris, the crew is also well-equipped to efficiently remove the debris from the site in most cases. However, plenty of the time, small screws and other hard to see components may be left behind. Standard demolition also often releases dangerous chemicals, metals, and other pollutants into the environment.  

Choosing the Correct Method 

Project Scope: 

When trying to choose which method of demolition would work best for your project, it’s wise to consider the scale of your project. Hydrodemolition is capable of handling both large and small jobs where the concrete needs to be removed and repaired.  

Structural Integrity  

If preserving the structural integrity of adjacent buildings, while also minimizing risk of damage to the infrastructure you’re working on is crucial, HydroDemolition may be the preferred option for you. Hydro demo is precise and efficient, minimizing damage risk, while also providing an excellent surface for bonding.   The surface left behind by HydroDemolition is 50% stronger than that of traditional methods (such as a chipping hammer).  That, in combination with the saving of the rebar, the lack of microcracks in the substrate (because of the lack of vibrations in the removal process), helps to create a repair that last three times as long!   

Environmental Impact 

When trying to decide on a construction or demolition approach, consider the environmental impact and sustainability goals of your project and your community. If you value keeping your environmental impact low, HydroDemolition is generally the eco-friendlier method.  Lack of silica dust, reducing embodied carbon and even the ability to recycle the water utilized are a few points to consider.   

Budget and Timeframe 

Your budget and your timeframe are two very important aspects of any demolition or restoration project. Both methods of demolition can complete projects with speed. However, depending on the scale, the situation, your budget, and other factors, one style or the other may be the better option. Consider your individual needs and compare them to what is usual for each style. For more information on our HydroDemolition services and what your project could look like, contact us to learn more.  

Ultimately, the choice between HydroDemolition and standard demolition depends on the unique circumstances and needs of the project at hand. Both methods certainly have their merits, and understanding the nuances of each type may help empower your decision. If you’re seeking efficiency, precision, low environmental impact, low risk, and exceptional results, then HydroDemolition is likely for you. Aggregate Technology is a leading provider of HydroDemolition and other demolition services in the United States and is equipped to handle projects of all scales and all types. From high hazard to your standard restoration, we’re here to make sure your project is completed safely and smoothly.  Contact us today to hear more about our services and how we can best serve your project today! 

Contact us when you need a contractor with a record of safety and success for your concrete cutting and hydrodemolition needs.

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