How Much Does It Cost to Demolish a House?

Jenna Jonaitis
Written by Jenna Jonaitis
Reviewed by Robert Tschudi
Updated January 24, 2023
Exterior shot of a bungalow type of house on a sunny day
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The cost to demolish a house under 2,000 square feet ranges from $6,000 to $25,500

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Square footage is the biggest factor in determining the cost to demolish a home, with prices ranging from $4 to $17per 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 $17 per square foot. A professional home demolition service near you will be able to give you a quote, but here's how much you can expect to pay based on home size:

1,200 square feet$4,800 – $20,400
1,500 square feet$6,000 – $25,500
2,000 square feet$8,000 – $34,000
2,500 square feet$10,000 – $32,500
3,000 square feet$12,000 – $51,000

House Demolition Cost Factors

The cost to demolish a house depends on how big the house is, where it’s located, and the labor prices in your area. Here are the main factors to consider as you plan your project. 

Home Size

The more square footage, the higher the cost of the demolition. Larger homes require more time and tools, and there are more materials to dispose of. The median cost of demolishing a 1,500-square-foot home is $15,570, whereas the median cost for a 2,500-square-foot house is $21,250.


Tearing down a home in the city is far more expensive than in a rural area. Demolishing a 1,500-square-foot home can run from $6,000 in rural areas to $25,500 in densely populated cities. It’s easier to access a rural home, whereas a dense urban setting requires careful setup and cleanup.


The cost of labor differs dramatically based on your area and the cost of living. Contractor rates range from $50 to $100 per hour depending on where you live and what your demo involves, although most projects are priced per square foot. In general, large metropolitan areas tend to have higher wages than rural locations. Busy construction seasons can also raise labor prices. 

Cleaning and Disposal

Most contractors include cleanup and disposal in their quote, but be sure to check your contract before signing. If your home has asbestos, you might have to pay an added cost to dispose of the asbestos properly, which averages about $2,000.  

Machinery Costs

Depending on how you demo the house, your contractor might use machinery such as forklifts and sledgehammers. The cost of the machinery and skilled labor to operate it can impact the project’s cost. Equipment rental costs around $100 to $250 per hour with an operator, but most contractors factor in machinery costs when setting their price per square foot.

Demolition vs. Deconstruction

A demolition removes the structure altogether and often involves the cost of machinery. Deconstruction focuses on salvaging reusable materials. Machinery isn’t usually needed but the project costs much more in labor due to the extra time involved. Your deconstruction cost might be on the higher end of the price per square foot in your area. You may be able to qualify for a tax write-off if you deconstruct instead of demolish.

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 more affordable 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 full demolition. You can get the open layout of your dreams without changing your home's exterior look.

$2,000 to $10,000

If you'd like to keep a demolition project under $10,000, consider just tearing down a garage that is making your home outdated. The cost to demolish a garage ranges from $2,000 to $10,000 for most homeowners. 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 safety 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 (and sometimes dangerous) project that requires the expertise of contractors and engineers to avoid injuries.

House Demolition Cost Breakdown

Exterior shot of a cottage house at dusk
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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.


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.


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


If you're hiring a local concrete demolition company to get rid of a driveway as part of a big redo, add $1 to $2 per square foot


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.” 

5 cost factors for house demolition, with demolition permits ranging from $100 to $500 or more

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 less expensive 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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, leading to injuries and costly repairs.

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