Demolition cost guide

The US has one of the largest and fast developing construction markets in the world. Almost every construction and building site today is related to the necessity of older building or structure demolition since one can’t build anything unless the old structures are not removed. Most homeowners meet with the demolition services when an old barn or a shabby deck needs reconstruction or demolition. Some try doing everything on their own, still cooperation with a professional demolition service can simplify the process and guarantee the quality of work.

Here you will learn about:

Demolition is the destruction of the old edifices for the purpose of building something new in their place. Most often demolition services are needed for homeowners to prepare their land and homes for massive remodeling projects. The average demolition cost is $2,000-$5,000 per project or $3.3-$15/square foot. The price heavily depends on the size and complexity of the project as well as the techniques and machinery used by the demolition company.

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Cost-related questions

How is the cost of demolition calculated?

The overall demolition cost depends on:

  • project location (rural vs. city area)
  • project size
  • structural additions or joint buildings
  • the scope of the cleanup

For the overall demolition of the building without its foundation the Americans pay $1,500 on average. However, the costs can go significantly higher, up to $3,000 in rural areas and up to $18,000 in cities with a high-density population.

Most demolition companies charge by the square foot, not just a flat fare. The cost varies from $3.3/square foot to $15/square foot. In order to ensure that you fairly pay for the demolition, get an accurate measuring of your home by a third party prior to contacting the demolition services.

What factors influence the cost?

Besides the basic influencing parameters of a demolition described above, there are factors that are frequently overlooked by homeowners. They are site preparation, rebuilding, and asbestos.

  • Site preparation includes shutting-off of all utility systems, such as gas, water, and electricity. All utilities should be inspected by professionals, namely plumbers and electricians, to ensure that all gas, water, and electricity lines are disconnected from the building you’re planning to demolish. You also need to take care of the safety requirements for building demolition. The most common ones include taping-off and marking of the demolition area, and lighting of the site. Most demolition companies will provide these preparations but double check them before signing the contract.
  • Rebuilding on site. If you’re planning to build something new in the place of an old house, then some old walls or construction peculiarities may come in handy for the new building. If you’re planning to rebuild the house, then hire an architect before signing the demolition papers so that the former decides which parts can be left. The more you leave, the more you save.
  • Asbestos. Unfortunately, many homes built before the 1980s have asbestos in their composition. This is a harmful mineral that can become an airborne toxin and so pose risks to the environment and human health. Houses with asbestos require very careful and accurate handling. Not all demolition contractors will agree on projects related to asbestos. As this is a very dangerous job, be ready to pay $200-$700/hour for asbestos removal.

Can I negotiate the price?

If some of the materials from your home have salvage value, then you will be able to negotiate the cost of the services. This is an important point because many Americans don’t know about the possibility of salvaging and while paying the full demolition cost they still supply their contractor with the reusable materials. Negotiate your deal in advance and get the agreement on paper to cut the price off.

How much does the cleanup cost?

Most demolition services provide debris cleanup after the job is done. However, usually, this service is listed as an additional one and will be charged outside of the service package. The average cost of the post-demolition cleanup is $300-$1,800 whether you get the service from a demolition crew or hire an external company to do it.

Cost of the particular demolition projects

Demolition services don’t always mean the complete demolition of a building with all the joint structures. You can also opt for a partial demolition, such as garage or foundation. Here are the tentative prices for the most common particular demolition services.

Roof $4-$5/square foot

This is one of the priciest demolition projects you can face. In case your project requires a lot of roof enhancement for further rebuilding, the contractors may charge not by the square foot but on an hourly basis of about $45/hour for labor only.

Chimney and brick $2,900-$10,000

Chimney demolition projects are usually charged by the project in total, and not on an hourly basis. The final estimate depends on the complexity of the chimney structure: its extent to the basement and if it’s bolted onto or built into the home structure.

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Interior $400-$9,000

Interior demolition is usually performed as a part of interior remodeling projects. Most often these are wall demolition, counters dismantling, and bathroom demolition. The cost range varies significantly because it depends on the scope of demolition, age of the house, and the complexity of the project.

Deck $45-$50/square foot

Most often homeowners require partial deck demolition to rebuild or reconstruct only the deck. Apart from demolition, ensure that you include rebuilding costs into the estimate of a deck project; the average cost of the deck rebuilding is about $30/square foot.

Foundation $1,000-$5,000

If you’re planning to rebuild the whole house, then at least the foundation should be reconstructed. Since the average cost of the foundation repairs is $5,000-$7,000, demolishing the foundation for $1,000-$5,000 and then grading it for $1,000-$2,000/1,000 square feet to rebuild from the scratch is a much smarter decision.

Concrete and asphalt (driveway) $1,500-$5,000

Since the driveway demolition is a process that’s held in several stages, the cost varies between $1,500 and $5,000 due to the expenses required for the concrete or asphalt breaking, further hauling of the debris, and leveling-out of the site.

Garage $2-$6/square foot

The total cost of the garage demolition varies from 3,000 to $9,000 depending on electrical and plumbing considerations.

Shed/Barn - $50-$100/hour

If you have not an ordinary shabby wooden bar but a structure with concrete walls and piles, then the cost can go even higher than $100/hour.

Swimming pool $2,700-$19,000

The price range is so wide in the case of the swimming pool demolition because companies use different strategies for pool removal. So, whether the company uses a filling-in strategy or operates with backfill tactics, you will receive a different estimate.

Septic tank $2,000-$4,500

Septic tank removal is an unpleasant, yet frequently an essential demolition procedure for homeowners planning to rebuild the whole house. The cost depends on the size of the tank, whether it’s empty or requires to be emptied, and the complexity of its hauling from the premises.

Other frequently asked questions

How long does it take to demolish a house?

The complete house demolition usually takes about a week (4-8 days). The works can go slower if your home is a semi or a terraced house; in this case, the adjoining buildings will need construction of an additional support for the after-demolition period. This adds both cost and time.

As it’s been already stated, asbestos removal is a costly and complex procedure that requires a lot of preparations and precaution steps, so demolition of any structure with asbestos takes 2-3 times longer.

Do I need to obtain any permits?

Yes, a demolition permit is required for demolition projects of all scopes. The cost of demolition permits varies between $50 and $100 per permit. As a rule, your contractor will take care of all required paperwork for any project but always double-check.

Bottom line

Demolition services include everything from a simple barn demolition to the vast scope of home demolition procedures. The average project cost in the industry is $2,000-$5,000 while the price may go up to $18,000 due to additional expenses.

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