How Much Does it Cost to Demolish a House?

Typical Range:

$3,000 - $25,000

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated June 10, 2022

Reviewed by Cati O'Keefe, Expert Home Building & Sustainability Contributor.

Written by HomeAdvisor.

The cost to demolish a house per square foot ranges from $2 to $17 per square foot, with an average between $4 and $15 per square foot. For a complete teardown of a 1,500-square-foot home, rates can run from $3,000 in rural areas to $18,000 in densely-populated cities. A complete demo of a house and its foundation or basement can cost much as $25,000

The project price accounts for several factors, including the structure's size and whether it has additions, required permits and inspections, and waste-material clearing.

Average cost to demolish a house ranges from $2 to $17 per square foot

Cost Factors to Demolish a House

When mapping out the budget for demolishing a house, consider size, space features, location, and demo methods as impactful cost factors.


Size is usually the biggest factor when it comes to demolishing a house. The larger the home, the more expensive it will be to knock it down.

House Size in Square FeetCost
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


The cost to demo a house differs dramatically based on whether you are in a rural location or in the heart of a city. The average cost to demolish a 1,500-square-foot home is just $3,000 in rural areas compared to $18,000 in urban areas. This price variance is because homes in rural areas generally are easier to access, don't require as much cleanup, and have fewer levels.

Rural area locations and urban cities costs compared to demolish a 1,500 square foot house


Most demolition building permits cost $50 to $100; however, municipalities may vary on permit requirements for partial and full demolitions from a house to an outbuilding like a barn or a shed. You can find out more by contacting your municipal building department. 

A licensed, reputable contractor typically acquires the permits for your project, but you should determine how many you'll need to budget accordingly.

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 but typically falls in the $300 to $1,800 range. Alternatively, some contractors 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 $400 to $800 per truckload of waste material.


The national average cost to eliminate asbestos is about $2,000. 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, the material’s texture becomes flaky, making it susceptible to becoming an airborne toxin that poses risks to human and environmental health. For this reason, a house with asbestos cannot be torn down without proper handling.

Hazardous Materials

In addition to asbestos, there are other hazardous materials to check for before demolition moves forward. Demolition may damage or destroy fluorescent light bulbs, mercury thermostats, and other things that have chemical components. Consult with a hazmat professional to ensure safe disposal of this debris.

Rebuilding on Site

Rebuilding a house costs most U.S. homeowners between $125,000 to $452,000 in addition to the demolition charges. What you plan to build on your land after demolition will impact the cost and considerations of the teardown.

Working with an architect to plan the post-demo phase can often save you time and money. 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 salvaged for reuse. The national average rate for an architect is about $5,300.

Site Prep

"Many municipalities require you to disconnect from the sanitary sewer and water systems for house demolitions. This means a professional has to cap off the pipes. Check with your local building department to find out cost and inspection requirements for this step as it needs to be factored into your project schedule and budget."

Cati O'Keefe, Expert Home Building & Sustainability Contributor.

Your pro will need to address plumbing pipes, HVAC units, and electrical wiring and outlets. If you're bulldozing an entire structure, 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 so your contractor can remove, reroute, or replace any wires, pipes, or HVAC lines. The cost to hire an electrician at $50 to $100 per hour is well worth the investment for safety's sake and may be required by code.

Demolition vs. Deconstruction

Demolition means removing the structure as safely and efficiently as possible, often with a variety of machinery like forklifts and sledgehammers. Deconstruction entails crews salvaging the home's reusable materials and structural elements prior to leveling it. Often these pros leave the foundation intact because it can’t be reused, and you will be responsible for getting rid of it.

Deconstruction may result in a tax write-off, with some cases allowing for as much as $30,000 to $45,000.

Average Partial Demolition Prices

5 structure types compared by demolition costs, with foundations ranging from $1,000 to $5,000
Photo: Vesnaandjic / E+ / Getty Images

Attached or Detached Garage

Many garages have electrical and plumbing considerations, so that the cost can vary from $2 to $6 per square foot or roughly $2,000 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 the 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 $5,000, or between $2,700 and $19,000. You can use many different methods to remove a swimming pool, such as filling it in fully or partially or using an engineered or non-engineered backfill.

Deck Removal Costs

If a house has an unsound ground-floor deck, your safest option is typically a partial demolition and rebuild. A partial deconstruction will run about $30 per square foot, depending on the deck design. 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 to $50 per square foot to eliminate.


The price of chimney removal falls within the $4,000 and $10,000 range. The final project cost depends on 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 during the chimney's removal.

Shed or Barn

The estimated cost of tearing down a shed or barn varies between $50 and $100 per hour. The cost depends on the building size, the site's accessibility, and the amount of debris for clearing. While this may seem like an easy job, the building material may require extensive equipment for demolition. The structure will need to be dismantled with pieces hauled away for disposal or set aside to be reused or sold. 


The rate for demolishing and reconstructing a roof can be between $4 and $5 per square foot or $45 per hour or more for labor. The price varies based on whether you are demolishing the entire roof deck or just failed parts of the roof. Hard-to-access rooftops and complicated or ultra-steep rooflines can cost more.


The cost to demolish a concrete driveway is $1 to $2 per square foot. Extracting a driveway is a multi-step process that requires breaking the concrete or asphalt, hauling away the debris, and leveling the site.


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 from $5,000 to $7,000, but if you plan to rebuild, the site will need to be graded (i.e., leveled out) before laying another foundation. Site grading costs $500 to $7,700, and a new foundation has a price tag of $8,500 on average.

Interior Walls or Ceilings

Partial interior demolition costs can range from addressing situations like remediating mold-ridden kitchens to remodeling unused spaces like oddly shaped closets or small rooms. The average price of razing interior spaces ranges between $1,200 and $5,000.


Demolishing a home addition costs between $50 and $100 per hour in labor costs. A poorly constructed addition or extension is another common reason for partial demolition. If you have a generally solid house, it might be cost-effective to raze just the section (or sections) that are failing.


The cost to demolish a basement is between $300 and $4,000. You'll pay on the lower end if your basement is unfinished, but a finished basement will require more demolition work.

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Mobile Home Demolition Costs

The cost to tear down a mobile home depends on the size, materials, and removal method; however, the average cost is around $4 per square foot. Mobile homes can often be torn down or hauled away using their chassis in as little as one day. In addition to being 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.

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 or recycling. In addition, review your homeowner's insurance to assess any potential situations that may arise during and after the job. Consider hiring a professional who has liability insurance for additional project coverage.


How do you prepare a house for demolition?

  • Tape off and clearly mark all construction areas. 

  • Make sure outdoor areas are lit with floodlights during evening work hours. 

If you're assisting in any part of the process, wear protective clothing, gloves, work boots, goggles, and a hardhat; if you are working on the roof, use fall protection gear.

To protect those who will be onsite at any period during or after the teardown, provide masks and fabric mats or cardboard to line walkways so workers can distinguish between safe and hazardous paths. When hiring professionals for the job, ask if they intend to supply and install site preparation materials.

Is it less expensive to demolish or remodel a house?

If a house is in bad shape, you are better off demolishing the home rather than attempting a remodel. Besides being less expensive, it's also a safer route, as homes in poor condition have an increased risk of collapse or bad wiring that could be dangerous during a remodel. Have a professional inspect the home to help decide between a remodel or a demolition and new build.

How much does commercial demolition cost?

The average cost per square foot for a commercial demolition decreases as the project's square footage rises, but the general national average is $4 to $8 per square foot. The national average price for demolishing a small restaurant of 1,000 square feet is $1,400 to $1,700. This is a higher cost than residential, which falls between $2 to $7 per square foot or $2,000 to $7,000 to get rid of a 1,000-square-foot house.

For a medium-sized project, such as a 10,000-square-foot building, expect to pay between $40,000 and $80,000. These costs do not include the cost of disposal and cleanup of the demolished materials, nor do they include the price of permits needed to begin the project.

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