House Demolition

What are the basic steps to demolish a house?

  • Find a licensed and insured demolition contractor to wreck and remove the house. Get proposals or estimates in writing. Be sure the contractors estimate spells out who's responsibility it is to pay for and pull permits (if required) for the work.
  • Get the house inspected for hazardous materials. If the home contains asbestos or lead paint, proper procedures for remediation need to be followed. The demolition company you contracted with may offer this service or sub contract it to an environmental specialist.
  • Contact electricity, water, sewer and gas suppliers. These utilities need to be disconnected prior to demolition of a house.
  • If you have any salvageable materials in the home, work with your contractor to recover recyclable or reusable materials that may be able to be resold or donated. This step should be done before tearing down the house.
  • Demolish the house. This can take anywhere from a day up to several days. Home demolition generally involves a large, hydraulic excavator tearing down the house putting the unwanted house materials into the back of a truck or dumpster.
  • Remove all demolition debris from the site, leaving the site clean. Typically this means removal of everything "down to the dirt", including removal of the house's foundation.
  • If you're rebuilding on the same spot, often your demolition contractor can use much of the same heavy equipment to prepare your site for the new house, whether grading or basement excavation is needed. Save some time and money on the new project by working with your demolition contractor for your excavation needs on the new home.

How much does it cost to demolish a house?

Generally between $4.00 - $15.00 per sq. ft., but the number varies widely based on the specific needs of your housed demolition project. See our demolition cost page for more details. The only reliable way to determine the cost of house demolition is to contact a local home demolition company. Requesting your home's demolition cost estimate is as simple as picking up the phone and calling a couple of local contractors that are experienced in the nuances of home demolition.

Do local governments require a permit to demolish a home?

Usually a permit needs to be pulled prior to demolishing a house. The permits necessary depend on your local and state municipalities. Your city or county government may also have rules for house demolition related to notifications, noise, hours of demolition, disposal of the debris, etc... The demolition company you hire should be well informed about local regulations and will pull the permits on your behalf in most cases. Be sure to clarify up front with the contractor all the services they will perform, including whether or not they will be pulling and paying for the permits required.

Does my home need to be inspected for asbestos and lead paint prior to being demolished?

Ask your building demolition contractor what is required in your area. Most states require that older homes or buildings be inspected for the presence of asbestos, lead paint, and other hazardous materials prior to being demolished. If your home or building contains hazardous materials that need to be removed, proper procedures for abatement need to be followed. Your hired demolition contractor may offer this service or work with an environmental remediation specialist to complete the removal of hazardous materials.

What is deconstruction and is that an option for the demolition of my home?

Deconstruction is basically the process of manually salvaging as many of the materials inside the home as possible, piece by piece. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, deconstruction projects can achieve recycle or reuse rates of over 70%.
Because everything is done manually, deconstruction takes much longer and costs significantly more than typical demolition methods with a hydraulic excavator. Interior demolition crews individually take doors off, light fixtures, sinks, tubs, copper pipe, glass from windows... even the nails in the floor boards can be removed and recycled.
Because of the additional labor involved, expect to pay 2 to 3 times as much to deconstruct your home rather than demolish it.

How do I know I'm getting a fair price to demolish my home?

Hometown Demolition Contractors has prescreened the contractors that appear on our site to verify that they have the proper license (if required) and liability insurance. While it's important to get more than one estimate to be sure you're getting a fair deal, don't automatically accept the lowest bid. Work with the demolition contractor that offers you the best overall value, which includes a combination of their quoted price and their professional credentials like license, insurance, and references. A lot can go wrong on a house demolition project, so select the contractor that you trust to do the job properly.