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How Much Does It Cost to Demolish a House?

Low
$2,000
Average Cost
$18,000
High
$35,000
(demolition of a 1,500 sq.ft. house plus permits, grading, debris & foundation removal)

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How Much Does It Cost to Demolish a House?

Low
$2,000
Average Cost
$18,000
High
$35,000
(demolition of a 1,500 sq.ft. house plus permits, grading, debris & foundation removal)

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When a house has incurred enough damage or occupies a desired spot for a new building, sometimes your best option is house demolition. In this cost guide, we'll examine the average costs of demolishing a 1500 sq.ft. house, which is $18,000 on average.

There are different types of demolitions and methods, some of which may suit your needs and property better than others.

Total Demolition

A total demolition entails the complete removal of a structure. For a 1500 sq.ft. home to be totally demolished, the average base cost is $14,250.

Partial Demolition

If you would like to keep some of the existing structure but demolish the rest, you will need a partial demolition. Many homeowners do partial demolitions when they want to keep structures like a porch or a garage. This type of demolition can be more complex, and sometimes more expensive, than total demolitions because contractors will need to be more careful and employ special techniques to keep the remaining structure intact. Minor demolitions can start at $1000, but larger projects can exceed $70,000.

Deconstruction

This process involves the careful deconstruction of a building so that its raw materials can be recycled or reused in another building project. Average deconstruction costs start around $24,000, but donating the debris can give you tax benefits of $10,000 or more. In general, deconstructions are 25%-50% more expensive than total demolitions.

Type of Building and Size

Many demolition contractors charge based on the square footage of the building being demolished. This charge ranges from $4-$15 per square foot. Building materials have an influence on price as well, demolishing a home built out of full brick can cost three times as much as demolition of a house built from standard materials.

Location

If the property can't be easily accessed by the heavy machinery used in the demolition process, it could make the demolition process more complicated. You may need to arrange road closures, traffic rerouting, and the construction of temporary work structures.

Permits

Your state, city, or county may require you to obtain permits prior to demolition. The average cost for required demolition permits is $200, and is usually included in the price of your demolition service. Keep in mind that permit prices are dependent on your location and can vary greatly in some areas. In Chicago, for instance, demolition permits can cost as much as $10,000.

If you are planning to build new structures after the demolition, you may need other permits to proceed.

Utilities

You may be required by law to notify utility companies that provide services to the property you are demolishing. Utility service representatives will need to come to the property and disconnect/remove all utility connections so that the demolition can be done safely. This is usually included in the price of demolition and arranged by the contractors.

Debris Removal

Debris removal is usually included in the price for your demolition service. However, if your contractor doesn't include this service in their package, average landfill fees and debris hauling add up to $500 total.

Updated:

House Demolition Cost by Project Range

Low
$2,000
Minor partial demolition plus permits and debris removal
Average Cost
$18,000
Demolition of a 1,500 sq.ft. house plus permits, grading, debris & foundation removal
High
$35,000
Deconstruction plus extras & asbestos removal

Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Foundation Removal

If you are planning to reuse the old foundation, you will likely need to repair it. Foundation repairs typically cost $5000-$7000. Total foundation removal costs $1000-$5000 on average. It will usually need to be followed by site grading if you plan to rebuild.

Site grading 1

Site grading 1 gives the land a flat, even surface. If you want your land to be levelled post-demolition, expect to pay $1000-$2000 per 1000 sq.ft.

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Grading: The process of evening out the ground's surface, making it either flat or sloped.
2 Asbestos: A group of fire-resistant silicate minerals found in construction materials including paint, particularly in older homes. When the asbestos deteriorates, particles can become airborne and this is a serious health hazard.
glossary term picture Lead 3 Lead: A naturally occurring heavy metal that is highly toxic to humans, and has been used in paint, gasoline, piping, and other applications

Cost to demolish a house varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Updated:
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.
Single-family house being demolished
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Cost to demolish a house varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.