House demolition is a serious undertaking. It can be fun to do some of your own demo work to release stress, and it will save you some money. However, there are many elements of a full house demolition that can be dangerous or require a trained professional to remove the structure safely. You will also have to factor in related costs like grading, debris removal, foundation removal, and hourly rates for the deconstruction of items that can be salvaged or recycled.
Generally speaking, doing a deconstruction is going to cost about 25-50% more than a standard total demolition. However, for those who are financially or socially conscious and want to maximize materials or donate functional pieces rather than destroying them, it is an option.
Demolition permits are required for all building demo projects. Even if you are doing the work yourself, you need to contact your city building codes enforcement department to find out how much permits will cost and how to get them. Some demolition contractors will take care of permits for you, so be sure to ask about this.
Professional house demolition: 1,500 square foot home.
|Standard demolition labor
($4-$15 per square foot)
|$6,000-$22,500 for full demolition|
|Deconstruction||$24,000 and up|
|Debris removal||$300-500 (if not included in estimate)|
|Site grading per 1,000 square feet||$1,000-$2,000|
Other considerations and costs
- Homes built before 1985 may have asbestos and/or lead paint in the structure. Your contractor might require lead and asbestos testing to determine whether abatement is needed. Lead abatement costs about $17,000 for a 1,500 square foot home, on average. Asbestos removal runs $200 to $400 per hour, with an inspection charge of $500.
- If you need to seal off an old septic tank, you may pay an additional charge of up to $5,000.
- Depending on your location and property accessibility, you may have to arrange for temporary structures, traffic re-routing, and road closures so that the heavy equipment can get to the job site and complete the work safely. This may be taken care of by your demolition crew, but it also may incur an additional charge from some companies.
- You can often get started on a demolition project yourself and save a lot of labor costs by taking care of simple demo projects like taking out cabinets, removing non-load bearing walls, removing appliances and built-in fixtures, and other small tasks.
- Never start demolition near gas lines, electric meters, or other potentially dangerous utilities without notifying the utility companies. They will come to the property and remove or disconnect all utility connections. They will also mark the ground for utilities like gas lines, power lines, and other underground hazards.
- If your home has asbestos or lead, you CANNOT do the demolition yourself. These situations require contained abatement practices that must be completed by trained, licensed professionals.
- Craftsman Estimator Costbook, complete series year 2019.
- Latest prices found on Home Depot and other vendor Web sites.
- Literature review of DIY Web sites.