How much does it cost to gut a house to the studs?

When my wife and I decided to find a new home, we were faced with the challenge of how much would it cost to gut a house to the studs. We had no idea what was involved in tearing down walls, removing old windows etc… After many hours of research on Google, Youtube and various blogs, here are some rough figures that I would like to share.

How much does it cost to gut a house to the studs?

How much does it cost to gut a house to the studs

It can cost between $30,000 and $80,000 to gut a house. First, you will need an architect or draftsman ( They are not the same thing). I suggest going to a local community college and hiring a drafting student as they will probably do the work for about $15 an hour. If you hire an architect or draftsman, it can cost between $65 and $85 an hour. Next, you will need a construction crew. I’ve seen prices from as little as $90 per man/hour or as much as $125 per man/hour. I suggest going to Craigslist and paying the men cash every day they work, don’t make any promises or guarantees on time of completion. Next, you will need dumpsters.

Demolition services. We were quoted $1,500 to take out everything including the cabinets in one kitchen, the pantry cupboards etc… We opted to do it ourselves with a rented electric demo hammer called the “Right-angle” for around $200. This saved us about 1/3rd of the cost or around $500.

Exterior sheathing removal. We had to remove all of the exterior plywood on the home which was 2 layers of 5/8th inch. This took us about 12 hours using a “Demo-hammer” electric chipping tool that attaches to an extension cord. We used a 4 wheel drive pick up truck for our transport back to our home.

Demo hammer to remove the exterior sheathing

Teardown of all interior walls. This was the biggest job in which we found out how much it costs to gut a house to the studs We did some research on Youtube and had an idea of what was involved. We rented a “Hilti” demo hammer for 4 days for around $1,000. We removed all of the interior walls which included removing sheetrock, beading, studs etc…

The total weight of the studs was well over 2 tonnes when we finished. The “Demo-hammer” rental price was around $60 per day not including transport costs to Home Depot. This was around $500. Demo-hammer used to remove all interior walls, light fixtures etc…

We had to remove the exterior stone on the fireplace which was about 900 pounds. We had 5 neighbors help us move it into our garage with an appliance dolly for free. We also removed the flooring in one room plus dug out around a brick wall for a total of around 60 hours. The cost to rent the demo hammer was over $1,000 not including transport costs.

Demo-hammer for removing interior walls

We had to remove 4 exterior doors and all interior doors which weigh about 1 tonne in total. We used 3 neighbors to help us move it with their truck for free which saved us around $1,000. We also tore down the front porch and back patio in which we used an electric Sawzall for this job in a total of around 30 hours of work (labor only).