How Much Does It Cost to Demolish a House?

Scott Dylan Westerlund
Updated October 5, 2021
Exterior shot of a bungalow type of house on a sunny day
Photo: EyeWolf/Moment/Getty Images

The cost to demolish a house under 2,000 square feet ranges from $6,000 to $22,500

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Square footage is the biggest factor in determining the cost to demolish a home, with prices ranging from $4 to $15 per square foot. Access and location are also major factors because bringing heavy equipment on difficult terrain is costlier. Lastly, materials matter because, as the Big Bad Wolf knows, it's a lot easier to tear down a wooden home than it is to topple brick.

How Much Does It Cost to Demolish a House by Square Foot?

Prices to demolish a home range from $4 to $15 per square foot. Here's how much you can expect to pay based on home size:

SizeCost
1,200 square feet$4,800 – $18,000
1,500 square feet$6,000 – $22,500
2,000 square feet$8,000 – $30,000
2,500 square feet$10,000 – $37,500
3,000 square feet$12,000 – $45,000

How Much Does It Cost to Demolish a Home Near You?

The biggest cost factor to a demo job is not the house—it's the neighbors. All those swinging sledgehammers need elbow room, and the more crowded the workspace, the more time it takes.

Rural vs. Urban

Costs to demolish homes grow as population density grows. Tearing down a 1,500 square foot home in a rural area can cost as little as $3,000. That same home could cost up to $18,000 to demolish in a crowded urban setting.

How Much of My Home Can I Tear Down on My Budget?

The cost to demo a home’s interior is much cheaper than razing your entire house.

Ask demolition contractors about a partial demolition if most of your home is usable. This lets you redo your home without starting at the foundation.

$1,200 to $5,000

Choosing just to remove some interior walls to open up space in your home is a very cost-effective alternative to a full demolition. You can get the open layout of your dreams without changing your home's exterior look.

$2,000 to $9,000

If you'd like to keep a demolition project under $10,000, consider just tearing down a garage that is making your home outdated. This can also protect your home from any rot in a deteriorating garage.

$22,500 or more

If you're ready to spend $22,000 or more, you're in the wheelhouse of a full demolition. From here, you'll have a clean slate for a rebuild. While pricey, it can be much cheaper than purchasing a new plot of land to build on.

How Much Does It Cost to Demolish a House Yourself?

Demolishing a home without the help of demolition contractors isn't your average DIY project. First, equipment rentals for demolition trucks, forklifts, and sledgehammers can range from $450 to $3,000 per day.

You'll also need to know which demolition permits to pull. However, doing a home demolition on your own is hazardous because you're destabilizing a heavy structure. Homeowners need to be aware of things like oil hookups, gas lines, electrical connections, load-bearing walls, and much more. Contractors also have insurance that protects your project. There are also some rules and regulations regarding asbestos removal, especially for houses built in the 1970s or earlier.

While demolishing walls to open up a space may be possible on a DIY basis, home demolition is a very serious project that requires the expertise of contractors and engineers to avoid injuries.

House Demolition Cost Breakdown

Exterior shot of a cottage house at dusk
Photo: Jon Lovette/Stone/GettyImages

Demolition Permits

Demolition permits often cost $100 to $500 or more a pop. Keep in mind that you may need several to be compliant with city and county ordinances.

Foundation

The cost to demolish a foundation is usually between $1,000 and $5,000. Add anywhere from $500 to $7,700 more if you need the area graded to put down a new foundation as prep for a rebuild.

Deck

Demolishing a deck usually adds between $5 and $15 per square foot to the project cost, plus hauling and dumping fees.

Driveway

If you're getting rid of a driveway as part of a big redo, add $1 to $2 per square foot.

Cleanup

While some demolition companies include cleaning up and hauling away your debris in the total cost, you'll probably see it itemized on your contract. The average cost ranges from $300 to $1,800.

Depending on the contractor, you may be responsible for hiring a third-party cleaning company or arranging a dumpster rental to take care of debris.

“If you rent a large dumpster, schedule it for the day of demolition and get it hauled away as soon as possible,” says Bob Tschudi, Angi Expert Review Board member and general contractor in Raleigh, NC. “We’ve found that an open dumpster often inspires neighbors to get rid of unwanted items after the crews are gone for the day. We’ve had dumpsters filled overnight with everything from furniture to concrete to tree stumps.” 

How Much Does It Cost to Demolish a Structure by Type?

Traditional Home

While the average cost of a full demolition on a house ranges from $4,800 to over $40,000, other structures are much cheaper to bring down.

Mobile Home

The cost to demolish a mobile home averages $4 per square foot.

Shed or Barn

Dismantling a shed or barn will come with an hourly rate between $50 and $100.

FAQs About Demolishing a House

Should I demolish my house myself or pay a professional?

Trying to demolish your house yourself isn't recommended. If you're not an experienced contractor, you can quickly get into trouble with an uncontrolled structural collapse.

How do I find a home demolition company?

While general contractors sometimes handle demolition, you can also look specifically for local demolition contractors. Demolition experts need to understand structural integrity, the equipment needed for safe demolition, and the permits required for demolition.

Why should I pick a partial demolition over a full demolition?

If your home has good bones, you can save a lot of money by doing a partial demolition that opens up walls or removes a rotting addition. A full demolition is typically only done when a house is a "tear down" property with less value than the land underneath it.

What should I consider when trying to save money on a house demolition?

A house demolition entails removing the structure of your home using demolition equipment. This leaves most of the materials practically unusable. You can reduce project costs and harvest building materials by choosing deconstruction instead.

“One homeowner we worked with listed their kitchen cabinets on a for-sale site at a very low price, on the condition that the buyer removed the cabinets,” says Tschudi. “The homeowner not only saved the cabinet removal and disposal costs, but they also made a little money.”

Deconstruction involves salvaging as many reusable materials and structural pieces from the home as possible. The foundation is typically left intact.

What other projects should I do at the same time?

When demolishing any part of your home, consider having the same crew demolish and rebuild your deck or driveway. You may be able to save on cleanup costs by having everything hauled away at the same time.

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