How Much Does it Cost to Demolish a House?

If a house is in a spot and a new developer buys the land and wants to put another structure there, they could demolish it. Additionally, if a house has too much damage to fix and it’s not structurally sound, you could start wondering about the cost to demolish a house to get rid of it. On average, your costs will be right around $18,000 for a 1,500 square foot house. However, the price can fluctuate from $3,000 up to $25,000. 

There are many factors that go into your final cost to demolish a house price tag, but it’s still extremely important for you to plan ahead to ensure it’s as cost-efficient as possible. Going through the estimation process is also a great way to ensure that the contractors is ready and organized enough to do the job correctly, in a timely manner, and safely. 

You also have to consider if you want to do a full or partial demolition, or a deconstruction because these costs can fluctuate from $10,000 up over $70,000. Since the cost to demolish a house is so fluid, we’re going to outline everything you need to know about this process. This way, you’ll get a more accurate measurement around your cost to demolish a house quote, and this can help you plan for this larger-scale project. 

1 Demoing a House
Understanding what factors determine your cost to demolish a house allows you to get an accurate estimate for your own project, and this can help you avoid nasty surprises halfway through.
Demolition by Steve Johnson / CC BY 2.0

Using Square Footage to Figure Out Your Cost to Demolish a House

Using square footage, the cost to demolish a house starts at $2.00 and goes up to $17.00. The national average ranges between $4.00 and $15.00 per square foot. A total teardown project ranges from $3,000 to $18,000. The $3,000 is for homes in rural areas while the $18,000 is for homes in densely populated areas. If you want a complete demolition, the cost to demolish the house with the foundation or basement ranges right around $25,000. 

The structure’s size, required permits, inspections, whether or not it has additions, waste clearing, and the presence of toxic components like asbestos will all add into your cost to demolish a house. The removal cost for this project will also vary, depending on where you are and your labor costs. Per square foot to bulldoze the house, the cost to demolish a house could work out to $4.00 to $15.00, and this brings your total up to between $4,500 and  $18,000 for a 1,500 square foot house. 

You want to get an accurate property measurement before you start your project because this will give you a good jumping off point for figuring out your cost to demolish a house. Whether or not you need heavy equipment will also play into the price because it can be more expensive to rent the equipment than it can be to do it manually. 

You can find out the square footage of your home relatively easily. Start by drawing a rough sketch of your home’s interior, and you want to label all of the rooms. Include any hallways or closets. Measure each room’s length and width, and multiply the length by the width to get that room’s size in square feet. Fill in the total for each room and space on your drawing. When you get everything measured, you can add all of the square footage measurements together to get a rough total. 

How Demolition Type Influences Price

Generally speaking, there are three types of demolition you can have when it comes to your home or a building. You can opt for total demolition, partial demolition, or deconstruction. Each one has a unique price range and factors that will add into your final cost to demolish a house. 

Deconstruction 

First up in deconstruction, and this is a very involved process that requires the company to carefully deconstruct a building piece by piece so you can use the raw materials in another building or recycle them. On average, the cost to demolish a house using this method starts at $24,000. You can get a nice tax break for donating the debris. However, it’s important to note that deconstructions are anywhere from 25% to 50% more expensive than total demolitions because of the sheer time they take to complete. 

Partial Demolition

Maybe you want to keep some of your existing structure and turn it into a storage shed for your gardening supplies or tools. If so, you’ll want to know the cost to demolish a house if it’s a partial demolition process. A lot of people choose to do a partial demolition if they want to keep structures like a garage or porch but get rid of the rest of the house. 

This can be a very complex process to ensure the contractors don’t accidentally damage the structures you want to keep, so this can increase your cost to demolish a house price tag. Very minor partial demolition projects start around $1,000. However, they can easily reach upwards of $70,000. This will depend on the access, structure size, and how many special techniques the contractor has to use. The cost will range by structure, and they include: 

  • Additions – $50.00 to $100.00 per hour
  • Barn or Shed – $50.00 to $100.00 per hour
  • Chimney – $4,000 to $10,000
  • Deck  –  $30.00 to $50.00 per square foot
  • Driveway – $1,500 to $5,000
  • Foundation – $1,000 to $5,000
  • Garage – $2,000 to $9,000
  • Interior Walls – $1,200 to $5,000
  • Roof – $4.00 to $5.00 per square foot
  • Swimming Pool – $2,700 to $19,000

2 Partial Demoltion
Partial demolitions are usually much slower than total demolition projects because you have to be very careful you don’t damage the surround structures, and this can drive your cost to demolish a house up very quickly.
Lunch Break by chaim zvi / CC BY-NC 2.0

Total Demolition

First up is total demolition, and this means that you get rid of the house and the foundation or basement at the same time. The goal is to completely remove the structure from the area so you can start clean. The average cost to demolish a 1,500 square foot home is right around $14,000 from start to finish. You’ll typically bring in heavy machinery to tear through the house. 

Cost to Prepare a Site for Demolition 

Before you start the demolition process, it’s essential that you take steps to ensure that electricity, gas, and water lines are off. Your contractor will also have to deal with HVAC units, plumbing pipes, and electrical outlets and wiring before you start the demolition process, and this can increase your cost to demolish a house. If you plan to bulldoze the entire house and tear out the foundation, you want to disconnect the water, electric, and gas lines ahead of time. 

If you plan to knock down a few walls and do a parietal demolition, your contractor will still have to shut off the utilities before they start to allow your contractor a way to safely reroute, remove, or replace any HVAC lines, pipes, or electrical wiring. To hire an electrician to help you through this process, you’ll spend between $50 and $100 per hour. However, many permits require a licensed professional to work on these lines, so it can help you avoid headaches and expensive fines down the road. 

You’ll also have to invest in safety gear before you tear down your house. You’ll want tools to help you clearly and safely mark off your construction area. It’s also a good idea to light up the area with floodlights or motion sensor lights when dusk falls. If you plan to help, invest in protective clothing, work boots, gloves, a hardhat, and goggles. If you’re tasked with working on the roof, buy fall protection harnesses and gear. 

It’s also a good idea to ask any company that you hire if they will supply and install site preparation materials like masks or cardboard to line your walkways. This can help everyone tell what is and isn’t safe to walk on. If they’re going to supply it, ask how much it increases their costs or if they include it in the initial estimate. 

Average Demo Cost by Structure Type

The cost to demolish a house will also depend on the structure type. Maybe you don’t want to do a full demolition of your house, but you have unstable structures littering your property. You can choose to have them safely taken down, but you should factor into your plan that the cost to demolish a house will fluctuate depending on many factors. 

3 Structure Types
Certain structure types will cost a lot more to demolish than others, and the size of the project will also play a critical role.
Damage to Wythenshawe Hall by Ian Betley / CC BY 2.0

Addition Demolition

You’ll typically expect to pay between $50 and $100 in labor costs to demolish an addition to your existing home. Many people choose to get a partial demolition because they have a poorly built extension or addition on their home. If your home is solid and doesn’t have any huge problems, you can lower your cost to demolish a house by only razing sections or a failing section while leaving the majority of it standing. 

Barn or Shed

Depending on the ease of site access, the structure’s size, and the amount of debris removal needed, the cost to tear down a barn or shed on your property will range between $50.00 an hour and $100.00 an hour. This could be a slightly easier project than tackling a whole house, but the building material may mean that your contractors bring in a lot of heavy equipment. They’ll have to dismantle the structure and haul the pieces away to dispose of them or set them aside to sell. 

Ceilings or Interior Walls

Maybe you’re going to remodel your kitchen or unused space, or you have mold-ridden walls that aren’t safe to be around anymore. Whatever the reason, the cost to remove a few interior walls and ceilings runs between $1,200 and $5,000 to complete. The cost to demolish a house will go up when you consider electrical work and plumbing issues. 

Chimney

A chimney removal has a high price tag attached to it, and it ranges from $4,000 up to $10,000. Whether or not your chimney goes all of the way to the basement and whether it’s built into or bolted to your home will be the two biggest cost factors. This is an important factor to consider when you think of the cost to demolish a house because it can cause roof damage that you have to worry about fixing if you don’t plan on taking the entire structure down at the same time. 

Decks

If you notice that your deck is failing and it’s not safe to walk across anymore, removing it and building a new one is a good choice. The deck’s design is the biggest factor cost-wise, and it usually has a price tag of around $30.00 per square foot. If you have an elevated deck, be prepared to pay more for the excess materials. You’ll spend between $40 and $50 per square foot to remove an elevated deck. 

Driveway

A driveway usually isn’t extremely expensive to remove, and a concrete driveway will run between $1.00 and $2.00 per square foot to rip up and dispose of. However, this is a multi-step process. The company will come in and break up your driveway’s medium, haul away the debris, and level the site. If you want a driveway put back in, you’ll have to factor these costs in too. 

Foundation

The cost to demolish a house and completely remove a foundation runs between $1,000 and $5,000 to complete the project. However, this can seem relatively inexpensive when you consider that your average cost to repair your foundation can be upwards of $7,000. If you want to rebuild on the area, you’ll need to flatten out the area with a grader. This process costs between $500 and $8,000, so removing and putting in a new foundation has an average price tag of $8,500. 

Garage

It’s not uncommon for garages to have plumbing and electrical work in them, but this makes removing them difficult. To get rid of your garage fully or partially, you’ll pay between $2.00 and $5.00 per square foot, and this typically works out to $2,000 to $9,000. 

Roof

To demolish and reconstruct a roof on your home, you’ll pay an average of $50 an hour in labor and between $4.00 and $5.00 per square foot. If you want to take the entire roof off and replace it with a new one instead of doing a partial deconstruction, your prices will fluctuate. Additionally, ultra-steep roof lines or rooftops that are hard to access will cost more. 

Swimming Pool

Swimming pools are generally complex projects in both the build and removal process. On average, you’ll spend around $6,000 to remove your pool. However, it has a wide price range that starts at $2,500 and goes up to almost $20,000. 

Additional Project Price Considerations 

There are additional price considerations to keep in mind when you’re trying to come up with an estimate for your cost to demolish a house. We’ve listed the biggest considerations below, and you can see which ones apply to your situation. 

4 Deck Demo
There are many price considerations that will go into your cost to demolish a house, and getting a running list of them will help ensure you don’t forget anything.
Old deck ready for demo by moccasinlanding / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Building Size and Type

It’s not uncommon for a building contractor to charge based on your building’s square footage. Additionally, the type of materials used in your home or building will impact the price. For example, the cost to demolish a house made of full brick can cost around three times more than a house built from more traditional wooden and metal materials. 

Debris Removal

Debris removal is one thing that usually gets included in the original cost to demolish a house estimate, but you should double-check with your contractor. The fee for debris removal usually falls between $500 and $1,800. Some contractors also hire professional hauling services. If it’s your responsibility, you’ll spend between $400 and $800 for every truckload of waste material they take away. 

Location

If your demolition crew can’t get their heavy machinery and equipment up to the house because you have a tight access point or if you have large maple trees in the way, this can make the whole process more complicated. You might have to arrange to reroute traffic, close roads, or build temporary work structures, and this can cause your budget for the cost to demolish a house to skyrocket. 

Permits

Prior to the demolition process, your county, city, or state may require you to get the necessary permits. For demolition permits, the average cost ranges around $200 to $250. However, this cost usually gets included in the demolition service cost estimate. Permit prices will vary depending on your location. For example, you could spend upwards of $10,000 on permits to demolish and rebuild on the same plot of land, and you may need several permits. For more rural areas, the cost could be much lower. 

Utilities

By law, you might have to notify your utility companies that you plan to demolish the structure before you do it. A utility service representative or two might have to come to your property and remove or disconnect every utility connection so the contractors can work safely. The contractors will usually arrange this service for you, and they’ll include it in the original estimate for your cost to demolish a house. 

Cost to Demolish a Mobile Home

Maybe you have a mobile home on your property that isn’t safe and you want it out of your space. The materials, size, and method of removal will all factor into your cost to demolish a house of this type. However, it boils down to around $4.00 for every square foot. Most contractors can typically tear them down and haul them away using their chassis in one day to help reduce your labor costs. You do want to check and see which type of mobile home you have, but it’s best to hire a company to make sure they do everything correctly, quickly, and safely. 

Commercial Demolition Prices

5 Office Demolition
Demolishing a commercial building or structure is going to cost more than demolishing a house, but it’s easy to budget for it and get an approximate estimate.
Junk It by Erica Minton / CC BY-NC 2.0

Commercial demolition falls into one of two categories. The first is commercial or economic units, and it includes restaurants, office buildings, and other places of business like smaller general stores. The second category is living quarters. The average cost per square foot will go up as the project gets bigger, but you’ll pay between $4.00 and $8.00 per square foot on average. 

If you compare demoing a small 1,000 square foot restaurant to a smaller 1,000 square foot house, you’d see a price difference. The restaurant would cost between $1,400 and $1,800 to complete, and the house would cost between $2,000 to $7,000. If  you go slightly larger at 10,000 square feet, you’ll pay between $40,000 and $80,000 to get rid of a commercial space. This will not include the cleanup and disposal prices, and the permit price is also extra. 

The types of materials, project size, whether or not hazardous materials exist, rental costs for heavy machinery, and labor costs all factor into the final price tag. You should budget for trucking debris to the landfill, and don’t forget about dumping fees. 

Cost to Rebuild on the Demolished Site

To rebuild your home on the site where you tore down a previous one, you’ll pay anywhere from $170,000 to $485,000. What you plan to rebuild will influence your cost to demolish a house too. You can save both money and time by working with an architect before the demo process if you plan to rebuild. A local architect can work alongside your demolition contractor to decide if any wiring, plumbing, parts of the structure, or ventilation can be saved. To enlist the help of an architect, you’ll add around $5,000 to your budget costs. 

Cost to Demolish a House with Asbestos

To get rid of asbestos safely, you’ll spend an average of $2,000. If your home has it, this can really impact your cleanup costs. A lot of older structures have asbestos in them, and there are special fees to consider with removing and disposing of it. You’re not allowed to tear down a house with asbestos without handling it properly so it doesn’t become airborne. The contractor has to remove all of the asbestos from your property before they begin the teardown process, and this can increase your cost to demolish a house. The EPA sets very rigid guidelines, and there are federal, state, and local codes to work with. This is why you need a professional’s help with this project. 

Where to Find Demolition Contractors

Frequently Asked Questions

6 House Demo Complete
One big cost factor when you demolish a house is the cost to get rid of all of the debris safety and effectively, and this is especially true if there is asbestos involved.
House Demolition in Progress by Michael Coghlan / CC BY-SA 2.0

1. What heavy equipment do you need to demolish a house?

It can take several days to perform a house demolition, and one of the most valuable pieces of heavy equipment you’ll use is a hydraulic excavator. It can tear down the house and place the debris in the back of trucks or dumpsters to haul it away. 

2. How long does a house demolition take?

Although the general estimate is a few days, you want to realistically give in 30 to 60 days from start to finish. This includes the initial inspections, teardown, and debris cleanup. 

3. Can you demolish a house yourself?

Technically, you can. However, it’s always a good idea to enlist the help of a licensed demolition team and contractor. They have the experience and connections needed to help the project go smoothly from start to finish. 

4. What tools will you need for a house demolition?

You’ll need heavy machinery, but you’ll also need power hammers, drills, concrete chisels, mallets, safety gear, and personal protective equipment. This is especially critical if the house has asbestos in it because it can go airborne and get in your lungs. 

Bottom Line

The cost to demolish a house will vary depending on several different factors. However, you can get a fairly accurate estimate if you follow this guide and apply it to your situation. Knowing the cost to demolish a house allows you to work out a budget and complete the project while keeping your finances in order, and it’ll give you a realistic timeline for when you can complete it. 

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