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How Much Does It Cost To Demolish A House?

Typical Range: $3,000 - $25,000

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Cost to Demolish a House

Demolishing a house costs an average of $18,000, though the price can be as low as $3,000 or as high as $25,000, varying based on many different factors. It's important to plan ahead of time not only for cost efficiency, but also to ensure your contractor is prepared and organized to do the job correctly, safely, and in a timely matter.

Cost to Demolish a House Per Square Foot

The cost to demolish a house per square foot ranges anywhere from $2 to $17 per square foot, with an average between $4 and $15. For a complete teardown of a 1,500 square foot home, rates can range from $3,000 in a rural area to $18,000 in a densely-populated city. A complete demo of a house and its foundation or basement can cost much as $25,000. The price is based on several factors including the size of the space, structural additions on the property, required permits and waste material clearing.
graphic with the average square foot cost to demolish a house between $2 and $17.
The cost of removal can vary based on the area lived in and the typical wages in the region. Some estimates put a price tag of $18,000 on bulldozing a 1,500 square-foot house, while others show that the average estimate is around $4 to $15 per square foot. For example, a 1,200 square-foot home could be between $4,800 and $18,000.
Since most demolition projects are charged by square foot, obtaining an accurate measurement of the property can give homeowners an idea of the overall expense. Whether the process is manual or mechanical can also impact your final project budget.
Average Cost to Demolish a House by Size
House Size Per Square FootCost Per Square Foot
1,200$4,800-$18,000
1,500$6,000-$22,500
2,000$8,000-$30,000
2,500$10,000-$37,500
3,000$12,000-$45,000

Site Preparation

It's critical to ensure that gas, water, and electricity are shut off prior to starting. Additionally, plumbing pipes, HVAC units, and electrical wiring and outlets need to be addressed by professionals. If you're bulldozing an entire property, it's important to disconnect gas, water, and electricity lines. If you're only knocking down a few walls, you'll still need to shut off these utilities, but you'll also be wise to hire a contractor to remove, reroute, or replace any wires, pipes, or HVAC lines running through them. The cost to hire an electrician is well worth the investment for safety's sake.
There are also safety gear investments that will need to be made when tearing down a home. All construction areas should be taped off and clearly marked, and any outdoor areas should be well-lit with floodlights during evening work hours. If you're assisting in any part of the process, it's important to wear protective clothing, gloves, work boots, goggles, and a hardhat. To protect those who will be onsite at any period during or after the teardown, masks should be provided and fabric mats or cardboard should line walkways, so it's easy to distinguish between safe and hazardous paths. When hiring professionals for the job, be sure to ask if they intend to supply and install site preparation materials.
the average cost to demo a 1,500 square foot house is $3,000 in rural areas and $18,000 in urban

Rebuilding on Site

Rebuilding a house costs most homeowners in the US between $150,500 to $445,000. What you plan to place on your land after demolition will impact the cost of the teardown.
Working with an architect before the house is torn down can be a huge time and money saver. A local architect can work with your demolition contractor to decide if any parts of the structure, plumbing, wiring, or ventilation should be spared, whether it remains standing on the lot or is set aside to be reused. The national average rate for an architect is about $5,000.

Tearing Down a House with Asbestos

The national average cost to eliminate asbestos is about $200-$700 per hour. Hazardous waste can greatly impact the cost of clearing debris. Many older homes contain asbestos, and there are special fees and considerations associated with its removal and disposal. As it ages, its texture becomes flaky, making it susceptible to becoming an airborne toxin that poses risks to human and environmental health. For this reason, a house contaminated with asbestos cannot be torn down without proper handling.
It's crucial that all asbestos is removed prior to a demolition project of any size. This will require it not only being extracted from the home, but also disposed of properly. Since there are rigid guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and local, state, and federal codes in place for working with this toxin, it's imperative that you enlist a professional contractor.
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Average Partial Demolition Prices

Expect to pay an upwards of $24,000 for a partial demolition. A partial demolition is often necessary for homeowners who are doing major home remodels, such as tearing down an outside wall to expand a room or breaking down non-load bearing beams. Check with your hired professional as this expense is often eligible for a tax write-off.
Partial Demolition Costs By Structure
TypeAverage Cost
Garage$3,000-$9,000
Swimming Pool$2,700-$19,000
Deck$30-$50 per sqft
Chimney$4,000-$10,000
Shed or Barn$50-$100 per hour
Roof$4-$5 per sqft
Driveway$1,500-$5,000
Foundation$1,000-$5,000
Interior Walls$1,200-$5,000
Additions$50-$100 per hour

Attached or Detached Garage

Many garages have electrical and plumbing considerations, so the cost can vary from $2 to $6 per square foot, or roughly $3,000 to $9,000. A partial demolition might entail:
  • Tearing down drywall from one or more garage walls, but keeping the inner frames intact.
  • Removing one or more walls in their entirety, but maintaining at least part of the original structure.
  • Cutting into the walls or ceiling in order to install or access internal wiring.

Swimming Pool

Swimming pools can be a complex building project in both installation and removal. The average cost to remove a pool falls around $6,500, or between $2,700 and $19,000. There are many different methods you can take to getting rid of a swimming pool, such as filling it in fully or partially, or using an engineered or non-engineered backfill.
swimming pool under demolition

Deck Removal Costs

If a house has an unsound ground floor deck, a partial demolition and rebuild may be the safest option. Depending on the deck design, a partial deconstruction will run about $30 per square foot. An elevated deck may result in additional fees due to height and any added materials it requires to keep it above ground, averaging about $45-$50 per square foot to eliminate.

Chimney

The price of chimney removal falls within the $4,000 and $10,000 range. The final project cost depends upon several factors, including whether it extends into the basement, or is bolted onto or built into the structure. Be prepared to pay additional fees to repair any roof damage that may occur.

Shed/Barn

The estimated cost of tearing down a shed or barn vary between $50 and $100 per hour depending on building size, ease of access to the site, and the amount of debris that needs to be cleared. While this may seem like an easy job, the building material may require extensive equipment for demolition. The structure will need to be dismantled, and the pieces will need to be hauled away for disposal or set aside to be reused or sold. See the below "disposal and cleanup" section for more information.

Roof - $4-$5 per square foot

The roof is quite possibly one of the priciest and most important demo projects. From enhancement to rebuilding, the rate for demolishing and reconstructing a roof can be between $4 and $5 per square foot or $45+ per hour for labor.
tearing down a roof

Driveway

The national average cost to demolish a concrete driveway is $1,500, but the rate can be as much as $5,000 in some cases. Extracting a driveway is a multi-step process, which requires breaking the concrete or asphalt, hauling away the debris, and leveling out the site.

Foundation

The average cost for a complete foundation removal runs between $1,000 and $5,000. This may sound like a bargain considering that the average foundation repair runs $5,000 to $7,000, but if you plan to rebuild, you'll need to grade the site (flatten out the land) before laying another foundation. Site grading averages $1,000 to $2,000 per 1,000 square feet, and a new foundation has a price tag of $7,800 on average.

Interior Walls or Ceilings

Partial interior demolition costs can range from addressing dangerous situations like getting rid of molded kitchens to remodeling unnecessary spaces like walk-in closets. The average price of bulldozing interior spaces ranges between $1,200 and $5,000.

Additions

Demoing a home addition falls between $50 and $100 per hour in labor costs. A poorly constructed addition or extension is another very common reason for a partial demolition. Razing just a section of the house may be required if it has not been well-kept, though other areas are solid and strong.
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Cost of Knocking Down a Mobile Home

The cost of teardown a mobile home depends on the size, materials and method of removal, but most experts estimate around $4 per square foot.. These homes are modular, and therefore much easier to demolish. With proper training, they can often be torn down in as little as one day. Of course, you'll want to be sure you are well-educated on the type of mobile home you are working with. This is a job best left to the professionals to ensure the project is done properly and safely.

Commercial Demolition Costs

Commercial demolitions distinguish between economic enterprises and living quarters. Examples of economic or commercial units would be office buildings, restaurants, and other businesses like general stores. The average cost per square foot for a commercial demolition decreases as the square footage of the project rises, but the general national average is $4 to $8 per square foot. The national average price for the demolition of a small restaurant of 1,000 square feet is $1,400 to $1,700. A medium sized project of a 10,000 square feet building, expect to pay between $40,000 and $80,000. This is higher than that of residential which falls between $2 to $7 per square foot, or $20,000 to $70,000 for a 10,000 square foot structure. These costs do not include the cost of disposal and cleanup of the demolished materials, nor does it include the price of permits needed to begin the project.
The factors which affect residential demolition prices also affect commercial demolitions. Some of the most common influences include the project size, the type of materials which need to be deconstructed, whether or not there are any hazardous materials, and bulldozing any leftover waste products like the concrete foundation.

Permits

Before or during the estimation process, it is important to know what permits and inspections are required for the project. Most building permits cost $50 to $100. Different ordinances in major cities and counties could require permits for both partial and full demolitions of any structure, from a house to a barn or shed. A licensed, reputable contractor will get all of the required permits for your project, but you should find out what they are and how many you'll need so you can budget accordingly.

Demolition vs. Deconstruction

  • Demolition means removing the entirety of the house as safely and efficiently as possible, often with a variety of machinery like forklifts and sledgehammers.
  • Deconstruction crews will salvage reusable materials and structural elements of the home prior to leveling it; often, the foundation is left intact.
    • Benefits include being able to keep these materials for a rebuild, selling them for a profit, or recycling them. This can help mitigate the negative impact dismantling a home can have on the environment.
    • Usually results in a tax write-off, with some cases allowing for as much as $30,000-$45,000.

Disposal and Cleanup

Your contractor will let you know if disposal and cleanup are part of their services. If so, this fee should be listed in your contract by typically falls in the $300 to $1,800 range. Alternatively, some contractors opt to hire professional hauling services, or let you know that it's your responsibility to hire a cleanup crew. The average rate to hire a debris removal service is about $250.
Get a Quote from a Demolition Expert
"You're not going to save a lot of money by trying to remove things yourself. We base our pricing off of square footage and we assume that a certain amount of debris is associated with every square foot. So it's not going to save you money to go in there and tear the floors out or knock some of the walls down, leave that to us to do it. It's already factored into the price. If you want to get it done right, call the pros." Ron Strobo, Owner. Demolition Pros, LLC., Pensacola, FL

Hiring a Pro

The best way to get an idea of the price tag is to hire a demolition professional to conduct an estimate for you. A pre-project audit will provide an idea of the building materials used in the house and the charges for their removal and/or recycling. In addition, it's important to know what your homowner's insurance company will cover in any situations that may arise during and after the job. Consider hiring a professional who has liability insurance if your current plan doesn't cover enough.
When opting for demolition, there are dozens of options that will impact cost and budget. There's no one bottom-line rate for bulldozing a house, just like there is no one central reason to tear one down. Before talking to a pro to get a quote, be sure you know the following:
  • Your home's square footage
  • The materials from which it's made
  • What you plan to do on the land after
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