Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to demolish a house?

$4 – $10 Per square foot
$6,000 – $25,000 Average tear down cost

House demolition costs $4 to $10 per square foot. The average cost to demolish a house is $6,000 to $25,000. The average cost to tear down and rebuild a house is $125,000 to $450,000. Knocking down and removing a mobile home costs $2,000 to $5,000.

Get free estimates from demolition contractors near you or view our house demolition cost calculator below.

Reviewed and approved on February 22, 2021, by Tom Grupa and 6 expert demolition companies on HomeGuide.

Cost to demolish a house

House demolition costs $4 to $10 per square foot or up to $25 per square foot with asbestos or lead. The average cost to knock down or bulldoze a 1,500 square foot house is $6,000 to $15,000. The average cost to tear down and rebuild a house is $125,000 to $450,000.

Cost to demolish a house - chart
Cost to demolish a house - chart

Cost to demolish a house
House size (square feet) Average cost
800 $3,200 – $8,000
1,000 $4,000 – $10,000
1,200 $4,800 – $12,000
1,500 $6,000 – $15,000
2,000 $8,000 – $20,000
2,500 $10,000 – $25,000
3,000 $12,000 – $30,000
3,500 $14,000 – $35,000

*Includes disposal, clean-up, and basic site grading.

House demolition cost calculator

Enter the square footage of your house below to estimate the cost of demolition.

House demolition cost calculator
Square footage of house
Width of the area in feet
Depth in inches
(4" standard driveway; 5" for heavy trucks)
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Average house demolition cost

The following table shows the average cost to demolish a house from 1,500 to 2,500 square feet.

Average house demolition cost - chart
Average house demolition cost - chart

Average cost to demolish a house
National average cost $14,000
Minimum cost $3,000
Maximum cost $35,000
Average range $6,000 to $25,000

*Based on 32 project costs reported by HomeGuide members.

Large excavator demolishing two-story rural house
Large excavator demolishing two-story rural house

House demolition cost per square foot

House demolition costs $4 to $10 per square foot on average, depending on the size and location. Demolishing a house while leaving the foundation in place costs $3 to $7 per square foot.

House demolition cost per square foot - chart
House demolition cost per square foot - chart

Average demo cost per square foot
Demolition type Average cost per square foot
House $2 – $5
Foundation $1 – $3
Disposal $1 – $2
Total $4 – $10

*Includes clean-up and basic site grading.

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Mobile home demolition cost

Mobile home demolition and disposal costs $2 to $4 per square foot or $2,000 to $5,000 on average. Mobile home removal costs $1,000 to $2,000 for transport to a landfill if the unit is still movable. Mobile home demo costs depend on the size, material, and location.

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Cost to tear down and rebuild a house

Tearing down and rebuilding a house costs $125,000 to $450,000 on average or $104 to $165 per square foot. Hire a local architect before demolition to save time and money by determining if any house parts are reusable, such as the foundation.

Cost to tear down and rebuild a house - chart
Cost to tear down and rebuild a house - chart

Cost of demolition and rebuilding a house
House square feet Demolition cost Rebuild cost Total cost
800 $3,200 – $8,000 $80,000 – $124,000 $83,200 – $132,000
1,000 $4,000 – $10,000 $100,000 – $155,000 $104,000 – $165,000
1,200 $4,800 – $12,000 $120,000 – $186,000 $124,800 – $198,000
1,500 $6,000 – $15,000 $150,000 – $232,500 $156,000 – $247,500
2,000 $8,000 – $20,000 $200,000 – $310,000 $208,000 – $330,000
2,500 $10,000 – $25,000 $250,000 – $387,500 $260,000 – $412,500
3,000 $12,000 – $30,000 $300,000 – $465,000 $312,000 – $495,000
3,500 $14,000 – $35,000 $350,000 – $542,500 $364,000 – $577,500

*Fees include building permits, architect costs, & installing new utility lines.

Local zoning laws govern the size, type, and location of new home rebuilds. Urban and suburban areas typically restrict rebuilds to the footprint or floorplan size of the original home.

Contractor tearing down house with excavator and bulldozer machinery
Contractor tearing down house with excavator and bulldozer machinery

Utility lines cost when rebuilding a house

Replacing or installing all-new utility lines in their existing location makes up $8,000 to $30,000 of the total rebuilding cost. Costs include permits and inspections for water, sewer, gas, and electric lines.

  • Total utility costs are $13,000 to $45,000 to remove all old lines and install new lines in new locations when building a larger home. Excavating lines prevents building on top of abandoned lines and is required by some municipalities.
  • Total utility costs are $1,200 to $3,000 when reconnecting the new rebuild to existing utility lines near the old foundation, including permit and inspection fees. This method uses the home's original floorplan.
  • Removing electrical lines and installing a temporary power supply for builders costs $2,000 to $3,200.
Builders don't always include fees for reconnecting or installing utilities in their initial estimates.

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Partial demolition prices

Partial home demolitions are often necessary during home remodeling projects. A partial demolition that preserves a small section of the home is more expensive and requires careful planning. Demolition expenses are typically eligible for a tax write-off.

Partial demolition prices - garage, pool, deck, and driveway chart
Partial demolition prices - garage, pool, deck, and driveway chart

Partial demolition cost
Demolition type Average cost
Detached garage $1,000 – $5,000
Inground swimming pool $4,000 – $16,000
Above ground swimming pool $300 – $2,500
Hot tub $150 – $350
Porch / Deck $675 – $2,250
Patio $1,500 – $2,800
Complete chimney $3,000 – $6,000
Partial chimney $500 – $2,500
Shed $400 – $1,500
Barn $2,000 – $7,000
Roof (replacing) $5,000 – $11,000
Driveway $600 – $1,800
Concrete-slab foundation $2,000 – $6,000
Non-load bearing wall $500 – $2,000
Load-bearing wall $4,000 – $10,000
Extension / Addition $800 – $2,400

*Additional fees apply for demolition permits, if required.

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Garage demolition cost

Garage demolition costs $3 to $10 per square foot or $1,000 to $5,000 on average, depending on the size and material. Tearing down a detached brick garage costs $1,500 to $5,000, while a wooden garage costs $1,000 to $3,500 to demolish.

Cost to tear down a garage
Material Average cost (1-car) Average cost (2-car)
Wood $1,000 – $2,500 $1,500 – $3,500
Brick $1,500 – $4,000 $2,000 – $5,000

*Concrete foundation removal costs an additional $1 to $3 per square foot.

Porch or deck tear down cost

A porch demolition costs $675 to $2,250 on average, depending on the complexity and accessibility. Deck demolition and removal costs $3 to $10 per square foot. Multi-story decks, porches with heavy metal railings, or deep-set posts increase labor costs.

Porch or deck demolition cost
Size (feet) Average cost
12’x12’ $425 – $1,450
15’x15’ $675 – $2,250
12’x24’ $850 – $2,900

*Includes debris disposal.

Alternatively, small deck repairs cost $100 to $500, and extensive deck repairs cost $500 to $2,500.

Cost to bulldoze a shed or barn

  • Removing an old shed costs $4 to $10 per square foot, including disposal.
  • Demolishing a 150- to 500-square-foot shed costs $400 to $1,500 on average, depending on the material and foundation type.
  • Bulldozing a large wooden barn costs $2,000 to $7,000 or more. Selling reclaimed barn wood can recoup part of the demolition costs.

Swimming pool demolition cost

Swimming pool removal costs $4,000 to $16,000 for an inground pool and $300 to $2,500 for an above-ground pool. Hot tub removal costs $150 to $350.

Concrete patio demolition cost

Concrete patio demolition costs $1,500 to $2,800 on average or $5 to $10 per square foot, including disposal. Demolishing a stone-paver patio costs $1 to $5 per square foot, depending on whether the base is sand or cement. Demolition labor increases with hard-to-reach areas.

Chimney demolition cost

A complete fireplace and chimney removal costs $3,000 to $6,000, depending on the size and location. Partial chimney demolition costs $500 to $2,500 for tearing out everything above or below the roofline.

Foundation demolition cost

Demolishing a concrete slab foundation costs $2,000 to $6,000 on average or $1 to $3 per square foot, depending on the depth. Removing a concrete basement costs $3 to $5 per square foot since it requires major excavation. Building a new foundation costs $5,000 to $19,500 on average.

Foundation demolition cost
Foundation type Average cost per square foot
Concrete slab $1 – $3
Basement $3 – $5

Excavator demolishing house foundation and brick garage
Excavator demolishing house foundation and brick garage

Roof demolition cost

Demolishing and replacing a roof costs $5,000 to $11,000 on average. Roof demolition and reconstruction costs $350 to $1,000 per 100 square feet, depending on the material. Complex layouts, steeper inclines, and hard-to-access roofs increase labor costs.

Driveway demolition cost

Driveway demolition costs $600 to $1,800 on average or $1 to $3 per square foot, including debris removal. Total costs depend on the material, size, thickness, pavement condition, and local disposal fees.

Demo interior walls

  • Interior demolition costs $100 to $300 per wall or $0.50 to $1.50 per square foot, not including disposal, refinishing, or call-out fees.
  • Removing a wall costs $500 to $2,000 when it’s non-load bearing or $4,000 to $10,000 for a load-bearing wall, including disposal and refinishing.
  • Multi-story homes, rerouting utility lines, and structural engineer fees to redesign a home’s floorplan increase the total cost.

Cost to knock down extensions or additions

Demolishing a house extension costs $800 to $2,400 on average or $2 to $6 per square foot. These prices don’t include fees to refinish the home’s exterior. Total costs depend on the home addition’s size, materials, and level of integration with the rest of the house.

Cost to demolish an extension
Square feet Average cost
200 $400 – $1,200
400 $800 – $2,400
600 $1,200 – $3,600

*Foundation removal adds $1 to $3 per square foot.

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Commercial demolition costs

Commercial demolition costs $4 to $7 per square foot, depending on the project size, building materials, and location. Commercial building demolition companies use heavy machinery, decreasing the cost for larger projects. Asbestos and foundation removal increase the overall cost.

Commercial demolition cost calculator
Building type Average total cost
Shop (1,000 SF) $4,000 – $7,000
Restaurant (2,000 SF) $8,000 – $14,000
Office (8,000 SF) $32,000 – $56,000
Warehouse (12,000 SF) $48,000 – $84,000

*Includes debris disposal.

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Cost factors to tear down a house

The most variable cost factors to demolish a house include:

  • Size – Total square footage and number of stories
  • Location – Higher labor and permit fees in cities than rural areas
  • Accessibility – Proximity to other structures, land geography, and layout
  • Demolition method – Partial, complete teardown, mechanical, or deconstruction
  • House material – Expensive brick demolition vs. cheaper wood demolition
  • Foundation type – Crawlspace, slab, or basement foundation
  • Foundation removal vs. reusing – Excavating and filling fees for removing
  • Environmental – Asbestos, rodents, and lead removal charges
  • Permits and inspections – Most cities require permits and pre- and post-demolition inspections.
  • Historical preservation – Higher permit fees for demolishing landmarks
  • Preparing utilities – Cutting or removing utility lines
  • Site preparation requirements – Temporary fences and nets for safety regulations
  • Clean-up and dump fees – Increase for big cities and long distances to the dumpsite
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Demolition permit

A standard house demolition permit costs $100 to $450+, while permits to demolish historic landmarks costs $300 to $10,000. Cities won’t issue permits until after utilities are cut and the house is free of hazardous materials.

Permits to tear down and rebuild on the same foundation are cheaper than rebuilding on a new, larger foundation.

Pre-demolition inspections

Most home demolitions require 2 to 5 inspections that cost $100 to $700 each, depending on local code requirements. Older homes also need asbestos and lead-paint checks before a demolition project. Cutting utilities requires inspections in some cities.

Pre-demolition inspection costs
Inspection type Average cost
Building inspection cost $100 – $500
Asbestos $300 – $900
Lead-paint (with x-ray testing) $160 – $700
Rodents $100 – $300
Utility line termination inspections $100 – $150 each
Full-service demolition companies manage inspections and utilities, while others require the property owner to handle the work.

Utility preparation before demolition

Demolition requires cutting or removing utility lines. Inspections and permits for capping pipes cost $100 to $150 each when required.

  • Homeowners should make utility termination requests at least 2 to 4 weeks before demolition.
  • When rebuilding, don't request removal of all electrical lines because temporary power is needed for construction.
  • Ask utilities if temporary water supply is mandatory for dust control regulations during demolition.
  • Work requiring opening up the sidewalk or street is much more expensive.

Cutting utilities

Before demolition, cutting utilities costs $600 to $3,800 when planning to rebuild on the existing foundation. These prices also apply for reconnecting the utility lines when rebuilding. Utility companies require reconnecting lines within 2 to 5 years.

Cost to cut and cap utilities (for future rebuild)
Utility type Average cost
Gas $0 – $300
Electric $0 – $300
Water line (cut & cap above ground) $250 – $450
Water line (cut & cap underground) $450 – $1,400
Sewer (cut & cap) $350 – $1,500
Well (cap & seal) $50 – $500

*All fees include typical permit and inspection costs.

Removing utility lines

Cutting and removing all utilities before demolition costs $5,000 to $14,500 when there are no rebuilding plans within 2 to 5 years. These fees also apply when rebuilding a home with a larger floorplan that requires new utility lines.

Cost to remove utility lines for demolition
Utility type Average cost to remove
Gas $650 – $2,450 per line
Electric (above ground) $0 – $870 per line
Electric (underground) $450 – $1,200 per line
Water $2,000 – $5,000 per line
Sewer $2,000 – $5,000 per line
Well (Seal & abandon) $500 – $4,000

*All fees include inspection and permit costs.

Cost of tearing down a house with asbestos, lead, or rodents

Demolishing a house with asbestos costs $8,000 to $45,000, depending on the home’s size and the affected area. Asbestos removal costs $2 to $15 per square foot, depending on the type of material removed. Lead removal costs $8 to $15 per square foot.

Cost of tearing down a house with asbestos
Removal service Average total cost Cost factors
Asbestos $2,000 – $30,000
  • $2 – $15 per square foot
  • Higher fees for removing asbestos from HVAC systems.
  • Insulation cheapest to remove
  • Siding removal most expensive
Lead $10,000 – $30,000
  • $8 – $15 per square foot
  • Encapsulation vs. removal
Rodents $200 – $600
  • Single-visit or multiple treatments
  • Higher costs for larger infestations
Homes built before or during the 1970s often have asbestos or lead. Removing asbestos is a safety hazard and requires professional abatement at least two weeks before demolition.

Septic tank filling or removal

Filling an empty septic tank with dirt costs $1,200 to $1,800 on average. Completely removing a septic tank costs $3,000 to $5,000, depending on its size and condition.

Old underground septic tanks collapse and create dangerous sinkholes unless filled with gravel or dirt. Some states also require removing leach field lines.

Demolition disposal and clean-up cost

Demolition clean-up costs $1,500 to $3,000 on average, or $1 to $2 per square foot, depending on the distance to the dumpsite and local dump fees. Including debris removal is standard, but some contractors charge separately or hire a disposal service.

  • Dumpster rentals cost $300 to $700 per week, including delivery, pickup, and 1 to 6 tons of free waste disposal.

Site grading

Post-demolition site grading costs $500 to $3,000 on average, depending on the site size, soil, and accessibility. Tractor backfilling costs $3 to $6 per cubic yard for filling in a removed foundation or basement. Before rebuilding, the ground needs leveling and compacting.

Post-demolition site grading and backfill
Work type Average cost
Grading $0.50 – $5.00 per square foot
Backfill $3 – $6 per cubic yard

*Grading costs increase for inclined areas, depths greater than 4” to 6,” or clay soils.

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Demolition vs. deconstruction costs

Deconstructing a house costs $10,000 to $35,000, but tax deductions from donating salvageable materials offset part or all of the fees. Mechanical demolition costs $6,000 to $25,000 on average with heavy equipment but offers no tax benefits from recycling old materials.

  • Deconstruction is carefully dismantling the building by hand to salvage reusable materials.
  • Demolition is mechanically tearing down an entire house and hauling everything to a landfill or recycling center.

Demolition vs. deconstruction costs - chart
Demolition vs. deconstruction costs - chart

House deconstruction cost vs. demolition
Type Cost per square foot Details
Demolition $4 – $10
  • Takes 1 – 2 days
  • Ideal for low-value homes
Deconstruction $8 – $16
  • Takes 1 – 3 weeks
  • Needs careful planning
  • Limits landfill dumps
  • Keeps existing foundation
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Salvageable materials to donate to Habitat for Humanity or a deconstruction firm include:

  • Appliances
  • Doors and windows
  • Cabinets
  • Light fixtures
  • Dimensional lumber
  • Wood flooring
  • Marble, bricks, and stones
  • Sinks, toilets, and bathtubs
  • Copper piping and wiring

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Frequently asked questions

What is the process to demolish a house?

Steps to demolish a house:

  1. Letters of demolition approval (mortgage lenders, historic preservation board, environmental and health departments)
  2. Demolition permit application
  3. Inspections & land surveys
  4. Hazardous materials removal (asbestos, lead paint, rodents)
  5. Cutting utilities
  6. Demolition permit collection
  7. House demolishing
  8. Foundation removal
  9. Debris disposal
  10. Backfill & site grading

Is it cheaper to remodel or tear down and rebuild?

Tearing down and rebuilding a house costs $125,000 to $400,000, while a whole-house remodel costs $20,000 to $100,000 on average and is faster. A tear-down-and-rebuild is a better long-term solution, updates all the materials, and increases energy efficiency.

Remodel vs. tear down and rebuild costs
Method Average cost per square foot
Tear down and rebuild $104 – $165
Whole-house remodel $15 – $60
Kitchen and bath remodel $100 – $250

Demolition is a better choice when:

  • The foundation has structural problems.
  • Ceilings are too low, sagging, or have large cracks.
  • Severe mold or pest damages caused structural issues.
  • Homes older than 50 to 70 years have multiple wiring and plumbing issues.

Can I demolish a house myself?

Tearing down a house yourself is not a DIY project. In many states, only licensed and bonded contractors can do demolition work like asbestos or lead removal, cutting utility lines, hauling debris, or using excavators.

Most contractors base their estimates on square footage; therefore, doing basic demolishing like removing appliances, tearing down drywall, or dismantling decks won't save much money.

Can you demolish a house with a mortgage on it?

The right to tear down mortgaged homes belongs to the lender. Some cities won’t allow demolishing historical homes.

Banks may allow you to demolish a mortgaged home if:

  • The land's value or planned rebuild is significantly higher than the home’s value.
  • The homeowner’s high income qualifies for a refinanced construction loan.
  • Owners originally bought the property with a “single-close” construction loan that becomes a mortgage loan upon building completion.
  • The borrower didn’t default on past mortgages.
  • Homeowners have a credit score of 680 or higher.
  • Buyers make a down payment of 20% to 30% for rebuilding.

How long does it take to demolish a house?

After getting permits and inspections, demolishing a house takes 2 to 5 days on average for leveling, cleaning, and hauling away debris. Difficult site accessibility, asbestos removal, and large concrete foundations require more time. Deconstruction adds 1 to 3 weeks.

Time it takes to demolish a house
Demolition steps Average time frame
Inspections 1 – 2 weeks
Asbestos abatement 1 – 2 weeks
Rodent removal 2 – 4 weeks
Permit application 2 – 8 weeks*
Utility work 1 – 4 weeks
Demolition 1 – 2 days
Deconstruction 1 – 3 weeks
Foundation removal 1 – 2 days
Debris disposal 1 – 2 days
Site grading & backfilling foundation 1 – 5 days
Total time 2.5 – 6.0 months

*Major cities take 2 to 9+ months to process demolition permits for historical properties.

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How to find and hire a demolition contractor

  • Collect at least three bids from different demolition professionals.
  • Check customer reviews on HomeGuide and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  • Select experienced companies with a demolition contractor license or a specialty C-21 certification in California.
  • Select insured companies using modern power tools for greater demolition safety.
  • Review the company’s safety record on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s website.
  • Check the home’s property survey to verify boundary lines before getting quotes.
  • For partial demolitions, hire a contractor with experience in the specific type of remodeling needed.
  • Get copies of the contract, detailed estimate, and warranty before work starts.
  • Negotiate a fee schedule for partial payments at project milestones.
  • Collect a lien waiver from contractors in exchange for issuing progress payments.

Questions to ask

  • How many homes have you demolished in this area?
  • Can you give several credit references, like suppliers or subcontractors you’ve worked with?
  • Can I see your company’s business license, insurance, and bond guarantees?
  • Does your cost estimate include all labor, heavy equipment, permit, and inspection fees?
  • Will you pull all the permits for this project?
  • Will you cap the water and sewer lines?
  • What other common incidental fees aren’t in this quote?
  • What are the construction waste disposal laws in my area, and how will you comply with those codes?
  • How do you calculate the rebates from recycling salvage materials in this demolition?
  • Do you allow non-profit deconstruction groups onsite to donate my building materials for a tax deduction?
  • If you find asbestos, lead paint, or other hazardous materials, does your team have the certifications to dispose of them safely?
  • Does your whole crew wear safety gear?
  • What precautions do you take to contain dust and prevent damage to neighboring properties?
  • How long will this demolition take, and what’s the daily work schedule?
  • What do you do when facing unexpected project delays?
  • What type of warranty do you offer on your work?
  • How should I contact the foreman or project manager?
  • Do you have a daily clean-up protocol?

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