Cost to Demolish Plaster Walls – 2021

| Last Updated: August 23, 2021

National Average Improvement and Repair Cost







$ 411

$ 275

Would you do this project? According to our survey, 60% of respondents preferred DIY compared to hiring a pro.

The average price to Demolish Plaster Walls noted above is cost data to compare a contractor’s estimate with doing it yourself.

How much does it cost to demolish a non-bearing lath and plaster wall? The contractor cost is $411 vs. doing it yourself for $275 and saving 33 percent. 

An old house renovation usually involves removing lath and plaster walls, and demolition can be a good, albeit messy job for a handy homeowner. If you’re involved in a rehab job that requires knocking down a wall, consider doing some of the grunt work and save money by doing it yourself. Think of yourself as a human wrecking ball and that’s pretty close to describing the job.

A contractor will charge $411 to demolish a non-bearing 10-foot-wide by 8-feet-high (80 square feet) plaster wall, but you can do the work for $275, the cost of a dumpster, saving 33 percent for your effort. The fee for the roll-off container includes delivery to your worksite and removal.

Before ordering one check with your local building department to see if a permit is required. And it’s a good idea to tell the neighbors and assure them it will be there on a temporary basis. If you have a vehicle that can haul the debris, you might be able to bring it yourself to a local landfill – but find out what the dumping fee is before you decide about doing it yourself.

Before you start tearing out a wall, confirm with a building professional that it’s non-bearing and determine the approximate location of plumbing and electrical lines so you avoid damaging them. Remove woodwork and trim from any doors and windows, being careful if you plan to reuse them.

Protect yourself by wearing a hard hat, heavy gloves, boots, and a respirator mask. Protect the floor with a heavy tarp and tape plastic dropcloths at doorways to seal the room and keep the spread of plaster dust and dirt to a minimum. Make sure you protect surrounding woodwork and trim like a hall banister. Use thick newspaper or cardboard and wrap the tape around the banister so it is shielded from any blows of plaster debris.

We’ve used a sledgehammer to break up the plaster and a prybar and bow rake to pull it off the lath. If you’re working on a second floor room, consider jury-rigging a window chute using sheets of plywood to slide the debris outside to the dumpster.

Here’s good advice from Popular Mechanics7 Things to Beware of Before Smashing Through That Wall.

The bottom line: compare the price of a contractor’s bid to demolish plaster walls with what it costs to do it yourself and make your decision.

Welcome! We hope you’ll find the job costs of home improvement projects useful when you’re deciding whether to do a job yourself vs. hire a contractor. We’re the authors of 20 home improvement books, most notably Home Improvement for Dummies©, Bathroom Remodeling for Dummies©, Carpentry for Dummies©, Plumbing for Dummies©, and Painting and Wallpapering for Dummies©. Our most recent book Fix It and Flip It is in its second edition. We’ve appeared as home improvement experts on television programs such as CNN, Dateline, the Today Show, HGTV and many others.