How much does it cost to demolish a house interior?
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Interior Demolition Cost Guide
Updated: 30 Jun 2021
Updated: Jul 29, 2021
Reviewed by Adam Graham remodeling expert. Written by Fixr.com.
If you plan on a major renovation of any area in your home, you may need to start with an interior demolition. While the words sound extreme, demolition doesn’t mean the complete teardown of a home. Demolition of an interior can be anything from removing a wall or floor to removing all surfaces down to the studs. This results in a wide range of associated costs.
The national average cost for interior demolition is between $1,000 and $5,000 for interior demolition, with most people paying around $2,500 for a 500 sq.ft. demolition of space. At the low end, removing one interior nonbearing wall with no reconstruction can run you about $300. On the high end, complete demolition of the interior of a 1,500 sq.ft. home could cost $20,000.
Cost to Demo Interior of a House
|Interior Demolition Cost|
|National average cost||$2,500|
Interior Demolition Cost per Square Foot
The cost per sq.ft. to demo the interior of a home ranges between $2 and $10, which primarily accounts for the cost of removing walls in the home that are not load-bearing. The costs fluctuate up or down depending on the complexity of the project. If other areas of the house besides the wall need to be removed, this could drive up the costs. For instance, if tile, floors, kitchen cabinets, or tubs need to be removed, the labor and haul away will increase the costs. Costs increase even more if a contractor has to be very careful with the demolition process due to pipes or wires located behind the walls.
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Interior Demolition Cost by Location
The cost to have an interior demolition costs from $0.30 to $6.40 per sq.ft. or $400 to $25,000 per room, depending on the location. When getting an interior demolition by location, you will most likely get a specific area of the house gutted. In this case, demolition teams only focus on one or two particular areas of the house, like the kitchen or the bathroom, while ensuring that adjacent areas are protected. In most cases, these areas will be complete gut jobs. Therefore, costs vary widely if fixtures, walls, flooring, and other items within these contained areas need to be removed.
|Location||Demolition Cost (Labor Included)|
|Interior Wall||$0.30 - $6.40/sq.ft.|
|Room||$4 - $6/sq.ft.|
|Ceiling||$4 - $6/sq.ft.|
|Floor||$400 - $1,100/room|
|Kitchen||$500 - $3,000/room|
|Bathroom||$550 - $1,500/room|
|Basement||$5,000 - $25,000/basement|
Interior Wall Demolition
If you want to open up space in your home, the most common demolition is to knock down a wall which ranges from $0.30 to $6.40 per sq.ft. In most cases, wall removal costs a few hundred dollars. However, if the wall is load-bearing, its removal costs in the thousands. Also, if the wall has piping or electrical behind it, this drives up labor costs because contractors have to remove the wall surrounding these things delicately. The type of material that the wall is made of affects the final costs.
Demo a Room
If you want to have a demolition done in a particular room of your home, expect to pay $4 to $6 per sq.ft. The cost to demo a room ranges widely because it depends on the type of room and whether fixtures and floors need to be removed. Demoing a bathroom or kitchen will likely be pricier than a simple bedroom or living room. However, the cost of bedrooms and living rooms increases if the walls, fireplaces, or flooring need to be removed, requiring the laborers to proceed slowly with the demolition. If lead paint or asbestos is discovered, experts must remove these items before proceeding with the demolition.
The cost to demo a ceiling runs from $4 to $6 per sq.ft. Sometimes a ceiling demolition involves removing entire ceilings to make a room bigger, particularly if the area above the ceiling is an attic. A ceiling demolition may involve removing ceiling popcorn. Popcorn ceiling removal is relatively quick and easy, with most contractors using a drywall knife to remove the popcorn ceilings to make them smooth. However, the costs may increase if asbestos is discovered, and the paint is lead-based.
The cost to demolish a floor of a room costs $400 to $1,100 per room. Floor demolition involves removing the entire subfloor, particularly if it is severely rotting or squeaking. Or it may need to be demolished if a staircase needs to be added. If an entire subfloor has to be removed, this will be very costly in terms of labor and waste removal. However, in most cases, contractors try to salvage the subfloor, only replacing the damaged portions.
If you want your kitchen totally or partially demolished, it costs $500 to $3,000 for a smaller-sized home. A kitchen demolition cost varies depending mainly on the size of the kitchen and what is being done in the kitchen. For instance, if the floor is being resurfaced and countertops replaced, this will be substantially less than a kitchen that needs to be gutted and piping and rewiring rerouted to change the entire layout. Kitchen cabinets, if they are still in good condition, can be sold or donated. Fixture removal, pipe removal, and tile removal drive up the demolition costs due to the expenses to dump these items, mainly if pipes are made of lead.
The average cost to demo a bathroom ranges from $550 to $1,500. Just like with kitchen demolition, bathroom demolition relies heavily on the extent of the renovation. A complete gut job requires lots of fixtures in the bathroom to be removed, including toilets, sinks, bathtubs, tile, showers, and piping, thus driving up costs. Some of these bathroom items, like tubs, can be recycled or sold to scrap yards which can help offset costs. Additional costs may arise from inspectors making sure that these areas are safe and free from lead or asbestos.
If you want your basement demolished, expect to pay between $5,000 and $25,000. Basement demolition costs increase if the concrete flooring has to be removed and replaced. Fixing structural damage issues with the basement drives up the cost, particularly if the basement needs to be leveled. Sewage issues and mold can also drive up prices because inspectors must evaluate the safety of such things. Fixtures may have to be removed, such as the HVAC. These items must be disposed of in an environmentally responsible way which may drive up costs or help you save if they are recycled.
Cost to Demo Interior of House by Material
Interior demolition costs between $0.30 and $120 per sq.ft., depending on the material being demolished. Unless the house is getting a complete gut job, you probably won’t need to have all of these materials removed in your home. Therefore, your costs will be limited to what you need to have removed. Unfortunately, some removal costs increase exponentially based on the labor the demolition team must invest in the removal process or if asbestos is discovered.
|Material||Demolition Cost per Sq.Ft. (Labor Included)|
|Drywall||$0.30 - $0.45|
|Tile||$2 - $5|
|Concrete||$2 - $6|
|Linoleum||$3 - $12|
|Asbestos||$3 - $120|
|Hardwood||$4 - $6|
The cost to demolish drywalls throughout the house ranges from $0.30 to $0.45 per sq.ft. One of the most critical steps in removing drywall is to turn off the power. After the room is prepped and molding is removed, the team usually makes holes in the wall with a regular hammer or a sledgehammer. Demolition teams must be careful removing drywall near windows, doors, and structural beams. Some portions of the drywall have to be removed carefully, which drives up labor costs.
Tile demolition costs between $2 and $5 per sq.ft. To remove tile, demo teams usually start by chiseling out the grout, followed by pulling up the tile pieces. This is followed by removing as much mortar as possible. If the subfloor is in good shape, this is perfect for relaying new tile. Otherwise, if contractors must install a new subfloor or portions of it have to be replaced, this could increase the demolition costs.
The cost to remove an old concrete foundation ranges from $2 to $6 per foundation. Concrete can be removed using various tools. If it is a thick slab 3” deep or more, then a jackhammer is used. However, other tools, including the sledgehammer, digging bar, or rotary hammer, may be used. After breaking it up, the chunks are removed using special equipment to lift them. The pieces are placed in a dumpster designated for concrete which may also factor into the final price.
The cost to remove linoleum flooring ranges from $3 to $12 per sq.ft. Removing linoleum is a very meticulous process. It involves cutting 6” to 12” inch strips, making sure not to damage the floor underneath it. Once the top layer is removed, the contractors remove the adhesive layer that the linoleum leaves behind. The length of time and precision of this task drives up the costs.
If asbestos is discovered in your home during the demolition, the cost to remove it ranges from $3 to $120 per sq.ft. Regular demolition teams are not responsible for asbestos removal. Instead, a special team, known as an abatement team, must come in and remove the hazardous material. It must be disposed of very carefully using specialized equipment. Several additional charges are associated with asbestos removal, including the inspection, test, and removal, which drives up the costs several thousands of dollars.
If you want your old hardwood floors demolished, the average cost to demolish them is $4 to $6 per sq.ft. Demolition teams must remove hardwood floors very carefully not to damage the subfloor. After the room to be demolished is clear of furniture, the demo team covers everything else with a tarp, including light fixtures, and removes baseboards and heat vents. The hardwood may be nailed or glued to the subfloor, so contractors typically cut small sections of the wood floor and pry it up. If the hardwood must be salvaged, the contractors remove it without cutting it into sections.
Interior Demolition Cost by Part
If you want to have an interior demolition by part, then expect to pay between $0.50 and $8 per sq.ft. or $50 to $6,000 per part, depending on the part being removed. One great thing about interior demolition by part is that many of the parts or fixtures are sometimes easy to remove. However, the drawback is that if the part is considered hazardous material or something cumbersome, this may increase the costs related to waste removal. Also, some tasks require careful removal, which increases labor costs. Salvaging and reusing these parts helps to lower costs.
|Part Removed||Costs (Labor Included)|
|Carpet Removal||$0.50 - $3.10/sq.ft.|
|Floor Removal||$2 - $5 /sq.ft.|
|Pipe Demolition||$6 - $8/sq.ft.|
|Window Removal||$50 - $100/window|
|Fixture Removal||$50 - $300/fixture|
|Appliance Removal||$75 - $150/appliance|
|Cabinet Removal||$300 - $500/cabinet|
|Staircase Removal||$300 - $4,000/staircase|
|Fireplace Removal||$500 - $6,000/fireplace|
The cost of carpet removal ranges from $0.50 to $3.10 per sq.ft. Removing carpet is relatively easy, particularly if it isn’t affixed to the floor by an adhesive. However, the costs add up if a contractor has to remove glued-down carpet or carpet-covered areas like hardwood or concrete. Since carpet isn’t regular waste, it must be disposed of in a waste removal container. You may be able to recoup costs on carpet removal if your city has a green building initiative that allows you to recycle your carpet.
To have the floor removed in your house ranges from $2 to $5 per sq.ft. The total cost varies widely depending on the type of floor you remove. The costs of tile, linoleum, concrete, and carpet have different price ranges that fluctuate based on the difficulty involved in removing them. For example, teams may have to work slowly to remove certain floors to maintain the subfloor. This drives up labor and waste removal costs.
If you need pipes removed in your home, the cost to remove them ranges between $6 to $8 per sq.ft. Sewer and water lines must be turned off before demolition teams can remove pipes. A contractor will ensure that there are no issues that may affect the environment before the demolition process begins, which will be added to the costs. If you have lead pipes, you cannot discard them with regular items. You can recycle these pipes but at an additional fee to standard waste disposal.
If you need to have windows removed, the cost ranges between $50 and $100 per window, and this cost is typically included in the window replacement cost. Demolition teams usually remove windows and discard them as waste. You can recycle your windows to save money. However, if you are replacing your windows, you can donate the old ones and receive a tax write-off if they are in good shape. You can sell your windows online to recoup costs.
If you are looking to have a fixture removed, expect to pay between $50 and $300 per fixture. This removal involves removing things like doors, sinks, toilets, HVACS, and tubs. If these items are removed and hauled away without salvaging them, then you can expect to pay a haul away charge in addition to the removal charge. If a fixture presents a hazardous waste issue, as with an air-conditioning unit, the price of haul away and disposal may increase even more. However, you may be able to save if you recycle some of the fixtures.
Appliance removal costs $75 to $150 per appliance. Junk hauling companies typically remove old appliances. However, certain appliances may be removed by an appliance retailer for minimal or no cost if you have purchased new products through them. Appliances that junk haulers or appliance retailers can’t remove will have to be disposed of in dumpsters. If they are considered hazardous waste products because they include refrigerants, this increases the price of disposal.
The cost to remove cabinets ranges from $300 to $500. Tearing out kitchen cabinets and hauling them away is significantly cheaper than removing them. This item may be salvaged if the cabinets are in good shape, saving some money on the overall renovation. If they are not used in the renovation, carefully removed cabinets in good condition qualify for a small tax break. However, the costs to carefully remove the structures without damaging them increases labor costs.
If you want your staircase removed, the cost to remove it ranges from $300 to $4,000. Staircase demolition varies in price based on what type of material the staircase is made of and how much labor is required to remove it. Metal staircases usually are removed with tools, while wood staircases can be demolished piece by piece to keep from destroying parts of the house. If there is carpet on wood stairs, this increases the cost depending on if it's tacked or glued to the stairs. If a wood staircase has carpet on it that’s glued down, this labor-intensive removal increases costs substantially.
To have a fireplace removed from your home, expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $6,000. The cost to remove a fireplace fluctuates because removing the fireplace itself is not the only expense involved. Removal of an item such as this may require someone from the city to inspect it first, making chimney removal cost higher. The inspection tacks on a few hundred dollars. Another inspector may have to come and ensure that it is safe to demolish a fireplace, mainly if it is a gas fireplace, which involves additional costs.
Residential Interior Demolition Labor Cost
The cost of residential interior demolition for 500 sq.ft. ranges from $700 to $3,500 for labor alone. Materials cost between $300 and $1,500 making the total average range for interior demolition $1,000 to $5,000. It usually takes one to seven days to complete the interior demolition of a house, with time increasing based on the complexity of the demo or the size of the house. Labor costs include things like removing the materials and debris and the use of any necessary equipment. Sometimes the labor costs fluctuate depending on if a company charges by the sq.ft. or by the hour. Jobs that need quick completion require more workers, raising costs.
Many factors affect the cost of your interior demolition, such as size, schedule, and scope of the job. Large, complete projects may be cheaper per sq.ft. because there is no need to take care of surrounding areas or minimize damage. If you are demoing a wall with wires or pipes, they need to be rerouted for an additional fee. Laborers must take extra time and be very careful not to damage these areas. Jobs containing mold, lead, or asbestos results in increased costs because special crews have to remove these environmental contaminants.
The demolition process looks different for each area, but a few steps are consistent. After identifying the area, any nearby unimpacted spaces are taped off, usually with plastic sheeting. Older homes are checked for asbestos and lead. If the results are positive, an abatement team is called in to do the work. Otherwise, the electricity and plumbing to the area are turned off, and the tear-out begins. After completing the demolition, any rerouting of existing pipes or electrical wires or repair work happens before the renovation begins.
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Cost to Gut a House to the Studs
The cost of gutting a house to the studs ranges from $2,000 to $20,000 for an average-sized home. Most homeowners want specific parts of their home renovated, which only requires a partial interior demolition. Usually, one or two specific rooms are being gutted and remodeled. Gutting a house to the studs involves full-scale renovation in which more than two rooms are being remodeled, and the entire layout of the house may be altered. It involves much more work than a partial interior demolition like fixture removal, inspections, and labor, which increases costs to hundreds of thousands. For the most accurate estimation, it’s recommended to contact a demolition professional to assess the property you plan to gut.
Demolition vs Deconstruction
Both demolition and deconstruction prepare your interior for renovation, but the two processes are very different. Demolition is tearing everything out, with little thought to salvage. Deconstruction is done more thoughtfully, attempting to save entire sections and materials for reuse. In larger areas and buildings where the existing materials are in poor condition is usually where demolition occurs. Deconstruction is more likely in smaller projects and historic buildings where the current materials may be used again, either in the same building or in a different building. The deconstruction costs vary widely based on what's being dismantled and how it's being salvaged, but your costs can be offset if the contractor reuses the materials.
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Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Demolition Clean Up
Demolitions can be messy. Cleaning up after demolition ranges from $360 to $550 for things like renting a dumpster or hiring a cleaning crew. If demoing before a renovation, most contractors take care of the clean-up as part of the job. In some cases, however, you may be responsible. Also, keep in mind that some of your items may be junk, requiring you to have a junk removal company pick up and haul away such items.
The price for a recycling service can be higher, depending on the provider, but most start at $6 to $8 per sq.ft. The good news is that you can recycle many materials from demolition. Choose a company willing to separate and remove different materials rather than piling everything in a dumpster. It is exceptionally critical that you make sure that a demolition team does this because you can be fined if hazardous waste ends up in the recycling dumpster. Also, make sure that you know HOA restrictions regarding these dumpsters before renting them.
Dumpster Rental Rates
The cost to rent dumpsters ranges from $200 to $550 per week. When renting dumpsters, the price fluctuates up or down based on the type of dumpster rental. For interior home renovations, the dumpster that contractors use could be a construction dumpster or a heavy debris dumpster. These vary by size, typically ranging from 10 yards to 40 yards. Demolition teams must dispose of hazardous waste like refrigerants and asbestos in a dumpster designated for hazardous waste, affecting rental costs.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Permits. All demolitions require permits. Contact your local town or city authority to find out which permit your job requires.
- DIY. To save on demolition costs, you can do some of the work yourself. However, demolitions are very dangerous. Many risks are involved, so you have to be careful. Always shut off all utilities before opening walls and protect adjacent areas with plastic sheeting to keep the dust and debris to a minimum.
- Estimates. You should always try to get at least three estimates from three different contractors on the demo work that should be done. Make sure you compare and contrast the three estimates and ask questions about cost variances.
- Licenses. Licensing requirements vary state to state and also by the cost of the job. The licensing board in each state can provide you with information on whether a demolition team requires licensing.
- Insurance. Contractors demolishing your home should have demolition coverage. Before proceeding with work, you should request that contractors present a physical copy of insurance directly from their broker.
- Lead-based paint. When it comes to removing lead-based paint, your state may have stringent disposal regulations. Make sure your contractors comply as you may be held liable.
- Asbestos removal. If the insulation in your home contains asbestos, there are specific federal and state requirements for disposal by an abatement team. You should make sure that your contractors follow these requirements, or you may be held liable.
- Utilities. When a residential demolition is in progress, contractors should ensure that all utilities are turned off for safety reasons. This includes electrical, gas, water, and sewer connections.
- Check rules and regulations. Make sure that you know the federal and state rules and regulations associated with demolitions. If the contractor you hire doesn’t comply, you still may be held responsible for things like noise, notifying neighbors, hours of demolition, debris disposal, etc.
- Pre-demolition inspections. Two to five pre-demolition inspections may be required before contractors start work on any project, depending on local code requirements. Pre-demolition inspectors uncover any asbestos, lead paint, safety issues, or structural issues and may even have to inspect utilities before demolition starts.
- How is demolition cost calculated?
Demolition costs are calculated by the sq.ft. On average, it's about $2 to $10 per sq.ft. to demo a home.
- How much should I charge to demo a bathroom?
The costs to demo a bathroom ranges from $550 to $1,500. The price fluctuates up or down based on salvaging items or if additional steps must be taken, such as asbestos removal.
- How long does it take to demo the inside of a house?
Interior demolition of a house takes one to seven days. The timeframe may be shorter or longer depending on the complexity of the demo.
- How much does it cost to demolish the inside of a house?
Total costs for interior demolition, including labor and debris removal, are $2 to $10 per sq.ft.
- Do you need a permit for interior demolition?
Yes, you need a permit for any demolition. Permits vary based on the type of work.
- How much does it cost to demolish a room?
Total costs vary depending on the size of the room, but most average $2 to $10 per sq.ft., including labor and debris removal.
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