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Interior Demolition Cost

Interior Demolition Cost

National average
$2,500
(complete demolition of a 500-square foot dining room and kitchen)
Low: $700

(removal of one interior wall with no reconstruction)

High: $10,000

(complete demolition of the interior of a 2,000-square-foot home)

Cost to demolish an interior varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from excavation contractors in your city.

The average cost of demolishing an interior is $2,500.

In this guide

Types of interior demolition
Demolition process
Cost factors
Labor costs
Demolition vs deconstruction
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to demolish an interior?

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 of an interior can be anything from removing a wall or floor to the removal of all surfaces down to the studs. This results in a wide range of associated costs. Most homeowners pay around $5 a square foot for interior demolition, so for the demolition of a 500-square-foot dining room and kitchen, expect to pay around $2,500.

Types of interior demolition

Different types of demolition can occur within a home. In most cases, demolition is the first step in a renovation. But sometimes demolition happens for other reasons, such as demoing a linoleum 1 floor to uncover hardwoods or removing a wall to create an open floor plan. The type of demolition varies depending on the area, material, and what you plan on doing. Complete tear outs are sometimes easier and less expensive than small, more careful demos because a tear out does not require rerouting wires or pipes or being cautious about harming nearby items.

Interior demolition projects are considered non-structural. This means the cost does not include projects like removing load-bearing walls 2 or other structures that support the building.

The cost of demolition may vary by area if you have just one material or section removed. For example, removing only a floor is less expensive than a complete tear out.

A partial list of demolition areas include:

  • Drywall 3 removal - $1 - $3/sq.ft.
  • Floor removal - $2 - $5/sq.ft.
  • Tile removal - $2 - $5/sq.ft.
  • Room demolition - $4 - $6/sq.ft.
  • Wall removal - $4 - $6/sq.ft.
  • Ceiling removal - $4 - $6/sq.ft.
  • Cabinet removal - $4 - $6/sq.ft.
  • Pipe removal - $6 - $8/sq.ft.
  • Appliance removal - $50/appliance

Demolition process

The demolition process looks different for each area, but a few steps are fairly consistent. After identifying the area, any nearby unimpacted spaces are taped off, usually with plastic sheeting.

If the home is old, the walls, ceiling, and some types of flooring are usually tested for asbestos 4 and lead paint. If the results are positive, then an abatement team is called in to do the work.

Otherwise, the electric and plumbing to the area are turned off, and the tear out begins. This may involve a variety of tools, from sledgehammers and pry bars to machines that pull up old flooring. As the material is broken up and taken down, it is periodically taken to a nearby dumpster for disposal.

Many items can be recycled or salvaged. If the company you are working with provides this service, they will have separate containers and bins for the various items, such as concrete, old stone, wood, and fixtures.

After completing the demolition, any rerouting of existing pipes or electrical wires or repair work happens before the next phase of the project.

Cost factors

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 square foot because there is no need to take care of surrounding areas or minimize damage. Jobs containing mold, lead, or asbestos add to the costs. If you are demoing a wall with wires or pipes, then they need to be rerouted, for an additional fee.

The speed at which the demolition is done is also a factor. Jobs that need quick completion require more workers, raising costs. How things are disposed of and who is responsible also play a role in the final price.

Labor costs

Labor costs generally include things like removing the debris and the use of any necessary equipment. In these cases, the price is roughly $5 a square foot, including labor. However, sometimes the labor is priced separately, at around $2 a square foot, with equipment and dumpster rental making up the difference. At other times, companies charge by the hour rather than the square foot. This can be beneficial for much larger jobs or commercial tear outs. The going rate for charging by the hour is around $20/hour.

Assuming a tear out of 500 square feet, the labor portion is around $1,000 of the $2,500 total cost.

Demolition vs deconstruction

Both demolition and deconstruction prepare your interior for a renovation. But the two processes are very different.

Demolition simply tears everything out, with little thought to salvage, and most materials are disposed of at once. Deconstruction is done more thoughtfully, attempting to save entire sections and materials for reuse. 

Demolition usually occurs in larger areas and buildings where the existing materials are in poor condition. 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.

Deconstruction has a much wider range of costs because the dismantling of different areas may be very different, depending on what it is, the size, and how it is being salvaged. Sometimes, the price is offset if the contractor reuses the materials on your project or for another. If the contractor salvages items, the cost of the deconstruction may be lower. If reusing the items yourself, the price may be higher.

Enhancement and improvement costs

Recycling

Much of the material from a demolition can be recycled. Choose a company that is willing to separate and remove different materials rather than piling everything in a dumpster. The price for this service can be higher, depending on the provider, with most starting at around $6 to $8 a square foot.

Post Demo Clean Up

Demolitions can be messy. 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. Additional fees may include renting a dumpster ($530) to haul away debris or hiring a cleaning crew ($550) to take care of adjacent areas that were not properly protected.

Additional considerations and costs

  • All demolitions require permits. Contact your local town or city authority to find out which permit your job requires.
  • If the pre-demo testing discovers asbestos 4 or lead-based paint, you must call in an abatement team. They handle the demolition for you, protecting your home from hazardous materials.
  • To save on demolition costs, you can do some of the work yourself. Always shut off all utilities before opening walls, and protect adjacent areas with plastic sheeting to keep the dust and debris to a minimum.

FAQ

  • How much does it cost to demolish the inside of a house?

Total costs for interior demolition, including labor and removal of debris, are around $5 a square foot.

  • Do you need a permit for interior demolition?

Yes, you need a permit for any demolition, and 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 around $5 a square foot, including labor and removal of debris.​

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Linoleum 1 Linoleum: An inexpensive flooring material made from linseed oil, resins, recycled wood flour, cork dust, limestone and mineral pigments, on a canvas or jute backing.
2 Load-bearing walls: A wall that supports the weight of the house, transferring it to the foundation
glossary term picture Sheetrock 3 Drywall: Type of plasterboard, commonly used to build walls and ceilings, composed of gypsum that is layered between sheets of heavy paper
4 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.

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

Worker using a jackhammer to demolish an interior wall

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Albany, NY
+17%
Alexandria, VA
+2%
Anchorage, AK
+35%
Asheboro, NC
-22%
Athens, GA
-9%
Augusta, GA
-13%
Austin, TX
+13%
Beaumont, CA
-6%
Boston, MA
+40%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Dallas, TX
+10%
El Paso, TX
-28%
Elkridge, MD
+26%
Frederick, MD
0%
Hampton, VA
-18%
Henrico, VA
+6%
Hickory, NC
-24%
Hollywood, FL
0%
Independence, MO
+8%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Irvine, CA
+23%
Kissimmee, FL
-20%
Lake Worth, FL
-2%
Lakewood, OH
+7%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Lexington, KY
+1%
Lompoc, CA
0%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Loveland, CO
-11%
Madison, WI
+13%
Meridian, MS
-36%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
New York, NY
+77%
Novi, MI
+37%
Ontario, CA
+19%
Palm Bay, FL
-16%
Parker, CO
+3%
Pasadena, CA
+15%
Peoria, IL
+2%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Pittsburg, CA
+30%
Plant City, FL
-5%
Plymouth, MI
+16%
Port Saint Lucie, FL
-18%
Raleigh, NC
-3%
Richardson, TX
+11%
Sacramento, CA
+8%
Saint Paul, MN
+20%
Seattle, WA
+9%
Labor cost in your zip code
Last modified:   
Methodology and sources