How Much Does it Cost to Tear Down a House

Tearing down a house is not a cheap task. The cost of tearing down a house varies depending on numerous factors such as the condition, what is included in the demolition process and how much work needs to be done. The most expensive part of any project is usually labor; a few others are the type of home, the materials used in construction, and the distance between the home and the landfill or recycling center.

Reasons to Tear Down a House

There are many reasons that homeowners may want to demolish their homes. Age, damage, or the need to make way for a larger structure are all common reasons. When a home is no longer wanted or needed, the owner has three options: sell it as-is, remodel it, or tear it down and rebuild. If the house is in bad condition, the owner may not be able to sell it. It may also not be worth putting money into remodeling an older home when the property’s value would not increase enough to make the investment worthwhile. In these cases, demolition and rebuilding may be the best option.

Other reasons for wanting to demolish a house include:

Expensive Repairs and Cost Efficiencies

When a house is damaged or allowed to fall into ruins, most people think repairs are the best solution. However, repair work may be more expensive than demolishing and rebuilding the structure. Even if the damage isn’t severe, it’s vital to remember that the structure must be brought up to code when repairs are done. This means that often, repairing a home can be more than the cost of demolishing and rebuilding it from scratch.

See also: How to Get Discounted or Free Home Repairs

In certain properties, the higher costs involved in upgrading the electrical and plumbing supplies, removing or eliminating asbestos, and re-configuring structural supports may outweigh the benefits of starting from the bottom. The repairs might even exceed the home’s worth, in which case razing and rebuilding it correctly is an obvious choice to preserve land value.


If a property has been condemned or deemed unsalvageable, a savvy house-buyer can get a fantastic bargain on the home and land. However, living in such a location is dangerous, and it may even be illegal. Similarly, banks may sell houses that have been damaged for an extremely low price. Repairs on properties sold at this level may not be cost-effective, and a potential buyer should always check with local authorities to see if the house is safe to occupy. When it comes time to decide what to do with an unwanted or unsafe property, demolition and rebuilding may be the best option.

Customized Construction

It may not be easy to locate a suitable piece of property for the planned construction for those already in the process of building a bespoke house. The existing home can be torn down, and the perfect property will be left for the development of the planned construction. There could be restrictions on new constructions in some coastal regions while the reconstruction is permitted. If this is the case, purchasing a lovely piece of land with an abandoned home on it might be just what the construction company needs.

Infestation by insects or animals

Some form of insect infestation affects nearly every household at least once. An expert exterminator can take care of some infestations. Insect or rodent infestation might get so severe that it cannot be dealt with by standard extermination if a home has been unoccupied for long periods. If insects or other pests have taken control of the property, it might be necessary to demolish and rebuild.

Related: How Much Does Pest Control Cost?

House Demolition Cost

Homes made of brick, stone, or concrete materials are more expensive to demolish than homes constructed with cheaper materials like wood. If the home has a basement, the cost of demolition will be higher because the crew will have to remove the foundation. If there is a garage or other buildings on the property, those structures will also need to be demolished and removed.

The cost of demolition also varies depending on the distance between the home and the landfill or recycling center. If the home is located in a rural area, it may cost more to transport the debris to the landfill.

Some homeowners choose to demolish their homes themselves to save money, but this is not recommended. Demolition is a dangerous job and should only be done by trained professionals. Hiring a professional crew to demolish your home will ensure that the job is done safely and correctly.

Factors Determining the Cost of House Demolition

Several factors determine the cost of house demolition. The following are some of the most common reasons for house demolition pricing are:

Home Size

The cost of a house demolition project is largely determined by the size of the home you’re razing. Larger properties have more systems to deconstruct and more matter to divide and dispose of, necessitating more time and effort. A 1,200-square-foot home will cost between $4,800 and $18,000 to demolish, while a 2,500-square-foot home can run as high as $42,000.

State of the Home

The condition of the home also impacts demolition costs. If a home is in good condition and doesn’t require much effort to take down, the cost will be lower than if the home is falling apart and needs to be pulled down piece by piece.


You’ll need to check with your local authorities to see what permits are required for your project. Some cities provide broad permissions, while others demand numerous permits and inspections for various aspects of the job. Before demolition may occur, many jurisdictions will want the water, sewage, and gas pipes to be capped off, necessitating hiring a specialist plumber. Other permits may need the disposal of materials and compliance with safety requirements. The demolition may have to be delayed, so it’s vital to plan ahead of time. Permits cost an average of $50 and $100 each.

See also: Beginner’s Guide to Remodeling Permits


The most significant factor in the cost of tearing down a house is labor. The size and condition of the property will play a role in how long it takes to tear the house down. The more complex the job, the higher the price will be. You can expect to pay between $75 and $200 per hour for labor.

If you’re demolishing the house yourself, you’ll need to factor in the cost of renting or buying the equipment you’ll need. This includes a dumpster, sledgehammers, crowbars, and other tools. You’ll also need to consider the cost of disposing of the debris, ranging from $100 to $300.


The type of materials used in the construction of the house will also affect demolition costs. Homes made of brick, stone, or concrete are more expensive to tear down than those constructed with cheaper materials like wood.

The cost of demolishing a home can range from $4,800 to $42,000, depending on several factors. It’s important to plan and factor these costs into your budget before beginning a demolition project.

Cleaning and Disposal

Whatever trash is generated during a teardown has to be disposed of. Cleaning may require a lot of time and effort, depending on how demolition was completed. Local pricing structures determine dumping costs, but hauling and disposal expenses must also be considered. Extra burial costs might apply if there are hazardous items on your property. The typical cost of cleanup and disposal ranges from $300 to $1,800. In some cases, you’ll need to hire a hauling crew separately, which can double the price of each truckload of waste.

Additional Expenses

There are a few other expenses you may incur when demolishing a home. There may be an additional demolition fee if the home is located in a historic district. The cost of hiring an environmental consultant to assess any hazardous materials on the property can also add several thousand dollars to your bill. A few other additional expenses are:

Rebuilding On-Site

Unless you intend to sell the bare ground, you’ll need to rebuild your site. The typical cost of constructing a house ranges from $170,000 to $485,000, with several factors playing a role in determining the range. Suppose you’re going to demolish an existing building. In that case, however, an architect can tell you whether any of the current structure, wiring, or plumbing should be preserved to incorporate into the new construction. A new construction planner will cost around $5,300.

Cost to Eliminate Asbestos

If the structure you’re demolishing was constructed before 1990, there’s a good chance that asbestos is present in your insulation, flooring, or paneling. Asbestos is safe when it’s solid and left alone (which is why it was so popular as an insulation material), but it becomes powdery when it ages and is disturbed. When flakes of asbestos are breathed in, it can cause cancer. If you’re tearing down your house and don’t want to take any chances, you’ll need to hire a professional abatement team. This usually costs around $1,500 to $2000, but the price can go up significantly if the team needs to remove large amounts of asbestos.

Before any demolition, a reputable contractor will screen your property for asbestos. You’ll need to budget around $2,000 to have the asbestos removed and disposed of safely if it’s there. This isn’t a DIY project: The EPA has strict rules concerning handling materials that contain asbestos. To protect people and the environment, these methods must be followed precisely.

Types Of Demolition

The type of demolition you choose will affect the cost of the project. There are two types of demolition: partial and complete. Partial demolition involves removing only certain elements of the structure, while complete demolition entails leveling the entire building.

Partial Demolition

Partial demolition is usually less expensive than complete demolition because it involves removing only certain parts of the structure. This is a good option if you want to keep the house’s framing or if there are valuable materials that can be recycled and reused. Partial demolition can also be a good choice if you’re not quite ready to demolish the entire structure but need to make some changes, such as removing an addition. A few examples are:

  • A swimming pool in the ground must withstand a lot of pressure from within and without; therefore, it is a complicated reinforced structure that requires attention and care during removal. The average cost to remove a pool is $6,500, but it can reach as much as $19,000 for very big or multi-leveled pools. This may be a cost you want to consider if you’re undecided about removing your pool.
  • The cost of removing a damaged section of a roof or the entire roof deck varies from $4 to $5 per square foot, depending on size and complexity. If you have an extremely large, steep, or difficult-to-access roof, the expense might go up.
  • Basement foundation removal rings in the $1,000 to $5,000 range. Given that a foundation repair generally costs between $5,000 and $7,000, this may appear like a great bargain, but you’ll have to fill and grade the area after it’s rebuilt.
  • If you choose to demolish the inside walls and structures carefully, you may transform your house entirely. This will require some assistance because supporting walls must be shored up to prevent the structure from collapsing, and it costs anywhere from $1,200 to $5,000 to do this properly.

Complete Demolition

Complete demolition is the more expensive option, but it’s the only way to remove a structure from your property completely. If you’re starting from scratch, complete demolition is the way to go. If you want to sell the property with the structure still standing, partial demolition is a better choice.

The cost of demolishing a home, both the interior and exterior, varies between $2 and $17 per square foot depending on labor, permits, and the complexity of the property, as well as features. The time it takes to deconstruct an entire house is usually shorter than that for total demolition. It requires special expertise and equipment.

Things to Consider Before Demolishing a House

Before you demolish your house, it’s important to consider all of the costs involved. In addition to the cost of demolition itself, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of disposing of the debris, which can be significant. You may also need to pay for a dumpster or container to hold all of the debris. In addition to this, the property should be examined to see if there is any hazardous material, such as asbestos, mold, or lead paint. The cost will increase by an average of $200-$700 per hour if there is asbestos or lead. Because of asbestos or other dangerous materials, special abatement and demolition experts in that field will be required.

Do It Yourself Demolition

If you’re feeling brave, you may choose to do the demolition work yourself. This can be a great way to save money, but it’s important to be aware of its risks. If you’re not familiar with safe demolition practices, it’s easy to injure yourself or damage the property. In addition, improper demolition can result in a messy cleanup job and costly repairs.

If you choose to demolish the property yourself, get the proper permits from your city or town. You’ll also need to rent or purchase the necessary equipment, such as a dumpster, Bobcat, sledgehammer, and pry bars. Be sure to follow all safety precautions when using this equipment.

How to Save Money on Tearing Down a House

Although many homeowners lack the necessary heavy equipment to demolish a whole home on their own, it does not indicate that there are no methods to reduce the project’s overall cost. The following are a few tips for saving money on home demolition:

  • It is advisable to do as much work as you are physically capable of completing on your own, such as deconstructing the interior—demolishing cabinets, light fixtures, doors, and other objects that are simple to remove—to save money.
  • If your property is a single-family residence, you may use friends or family to assist with deconstruction; they might want to utilize some of the materials and help defray disposal expenses by transporting reusable stuff to salvage sites.
  • Check with your local fire department to see if they require a building for fire training. It may appear strange, but many fire departments utilize actual structures during burning activities; if they choose to use your home, you can write it off as a charitable donation.
  • Research your town or city hall to see if there are any ordinances or regulations that can expedite the demolition process and save you some cash.

Questions to Ask About Home Demolition

Before hiring a demolition contractor, be sure to ask them the following questions:

  • How much experience do you have with demolishing residential homes?
  • What type of equipment will you be using?
  • Are you insured and licensed?
  • Can you provide me with references?
  • Do you have any special safety procedures in place?
  • How much will your services cost?
  • What type of warranty or guarantee do you offer?

What to ask Yourself?

  • Why do you want to demolish the house?
  • Are you ready to bear the expenses to tear down a house?
  • Can you do the demolition work yourself safely without causing too much damage?
  • Can you reuse any of the materials from the home after it’s demolished?


If you’re considering demolishing your house, it’s important to be aware of all of the costs involved. Demolition is a complicated and dangerous process, so factor in permits, equipment rental, disposal fees, and abatement costs. It’s also important to consider the risks involved in doing the work yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to demolish a house?

The cost of demolishing a house, both the interior and exterior, varies between $2 and $17 per square foot depending on labor, permits, and the complexity of the property, as well as features. The time it takes to deconstruct an entire house is usually shorter than that for total demolition. It requires special expertise and equipment.

Can I demolish my own house?

If you’re feeling brave, you may choose to do the demolition work yourself. This can be a great way to save money, but it’s important to be aware of its risks. If you’re not familiar with safe demolition practices, it’s easy to injure yourself or damage the property. In addition, improper demolition can result in a messy clean-up job and costly repairs.

What are the dangers of demolishing my own house?

If you’re unfamiliar with the safe demolition practices and are doing it for the first time, it’s easy to injure yourself or damage the property. In addition, improper demolition can result in a messy clean-up job and costly repairs.

Written by

Rostislav Shetman is the founder of 9Kilo Moving. He has been in the moving and relocation industry for more than 25 years, making him an expert in his field. Rostislav started as a helper, dispatcher and driver and has worked his way up to owning his own company. He takes great pride in his work and enjoys helping people relocate across the United States of America. When he's not working, Rostislav enjoys spending time with his family and friends. They are the light of his life and bring him happiness every day.