How Much Does it Cost to Demolish a House?

By: ROS Team September 25, 2021

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If you own a home in a great location, but you are not satisfied with its design, it may be worth exploring the idea of rebuilding a new home on your current lot. But before you can break ground on new construction, you will have to knock down your current house, and you can’t do that for free. Indeed, there is a cost to demolishing a house, but it gives you a chance to build a new home customized to your liking.  In this article, we’ll look at how much it costs to demolish a house so that you can plan how to budget for the project.

What Does It Mean to Demolish a House?

Demolishing a house means knocking down an existing home. This most always requires the use of heavy equipment like excavators, cranes, and bulldozers. You would typically also need a demolition permit and a licensed demolition contractor to get the job done.

mean to demolish a house

The Cost of Demolishing a House Depends on Several Factors, Including:

  • House Size: Contractors usually charge by square foot; the more significant the house, the more it will cost to demolish a house. But this is not the sole factor that influences the average cost of demolishing a house.
  • Building Composition: The material a house is made of will also impact the demolition cost. For instance, it may be more expensive to demolish a concrete house than a brick house or one that’s made of wood.  Anytime the current structure is made of heavy building materials, contractors will need special machinery, increasing the cost. However, the average cost of demolishing a house will decrease if the material can be recycled and reused after demolition, like timber.
  • House Accessibility: Accessibility is key to a demolition project given the heavy machinery needed. If there’s difficulty getting the demolition equipment to the homesite, the cost to demolish a house is likely to go up.
  • Hazardous Materials: If you live in an older house (one built before 1990), there’s a good chance that asbestos was used during construction. . This is because before demolishing a house, it is essential to remove Asbestos which requires specialists to do the job safely.What makes it even more expensive is that it is a very tedious job and consumes a lot of time. After removing and other hazardous materials, it needs to be taken to a specialized site and disposed of, making the whole process expensive.  The same applies if your house has a mold problem — special demolition professionals are more expensive, and the cost of acquiring them will be passed on to you.

More Factors to Consider:

Additional factors that can impact home demolition costs are: 

  • Trees that must be cleared to make room for the new house;
  • Removal of swimming pools or other home fixtures that won’t be included on the newly-constructed homesite; and
  • The distance of the construction site to the nearest recycling or garbage disposal center.

Generally, you can expect to spend anywhere between $10,000 to $40,000 on housing demolition costs. If your home is relatively small and is easily accessible for workers and equipment, you can expect to pay an average cost of $15,000 to $20,000.

Types of Demolition:

  • Total Demolition

When the property is completely torn down, the process is called total demolition. It is done by demolition specialists who use heavy machinery to tear the house down. The average cost of a complete demolition can vary regardless of the property size. But it usually ranges between $3 to $15 per square foot.  The cost may or may not factor in labor costs, but you’ll need to check with your contractor to confirm.

  • Partial Demolition

In a partial demolition, only selected parts of the interior or exterior of the home are being demolished. People often do a partial demolition when completing home improvements or renovations. Sometimes people want to change the exterior of their houses while keeping the interior intact or vice versa.

partial demolition

For partial demolitions, the average cost ranges between $400 and $10,000, depending on the structure.  For instance, demolishing an unattached garage may cost between $500 and $12,000. While removing an in-ground swimming pool could cost between $3,000 to $15,000.

How Long Does it Take to Demolish a House?

The process of knocking down your existing house happens relatively quickly. In most cases, it takes a day. But the whole process of getting permits and hiring contractors beforehand could take as long as 2 months. With that in mind, you should factor in at least two months for the demolition portion of your building project plan.

Don’t Forget the Permit

Before you can tear down your home, make sure you’ve completed and submitted the proper paperwork. Having a contractor will make this step easier; just keep in mind that people are working behind the scenes to get the required paperwork filed and processed before work can begin on your home demolition.

Final Words

Before you demolish your house, be it partial or total, get the property inspected to rule out the presence of hazardous material like mold or asbestos. In the event either is present, you’ll have to notify your contractor. So that special measures can be taken to protect the demolition crew.

In addition, decide whether the property is worth repairing as opposed to demolishing it. Total demolition of the house is generally the cheapest and quickest option. But think about your unique circumstances when deciding which option works best.