Coordinating repairs on old house

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Dan: Rip everything out first, siding, sheetrock, etc.. and get it down to framing. Foundation is first after that. Now it's easy to do your electrical, plumbing, AC.
Sometimes it's cheaper to start from scratch because construction people can get much more accomplished not trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. That's why renovations typically cost more than new construction.
Either way, it's sounding like $100-150k depending on your material choices. Don't do cedar shakes. I have it, and they're very expensive and labor intensive ($400 /sq) for materials alone. For that much, I went with hardi shingles and I'll never have to worry about warping, checking, splitting..
good luck
Dan_Musicant wrote:

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:Dan: :Rip everything out first, siding, sheetrock, etc.. and get it down to :framing. Foundation is first after that. Now it's easy to do your :electrical, plumbing, AC.
There's very little sheetrock here. It's almost all lath and plaster. But a WHOLE LOT of that plaster is disintegrating. I haven't evaluated it carefully, but there are very very many places where it's crumbling or has obviously come loose from the lath. Bulges, big cracks, etc. In fact, most of the downstairs and some of the upstairs plaster was covered with paneling, which I'm removed, almost entirely (exposing the plaster problems). Maybe most or all of that plaster should be ripped out, such as you say, prior to the foundation, plumbing and electrical work. Then, I suppose it could either be replastered or else sheetrock could be put up. Don't know if the lath should stay or not, if it's sheetrock. Maybe not, since that would probably interfere with installation of an updated electrical system, a central heating system, and plumbing. I suppose that would mean the house would be a mere skeleton prior to even the foundation work. Clearly, I'd have to live elsewhere. AC I won't need (Berkeley), but heating, yes! : :Sometimes it's cheaper to start from scratch because construction :people can get much more accomplished not trying to fit a square peg :into a round hole. That's why renovations typically cost more than new :construction.
By scratch I assume you mean what I described, not tearing the house down, but I'm not sure. : :Either way, it's sounding like $100-150k depending on your material :choices. Don't do cedar shakes. I have it, and they're very expensive :and labor intensive ($400 /sq) for materials alone. For that much, I :went with hardi shingles and I'll never have to worry about warping, :checking, splitting..
So, you removed your cedar shakes? Or you have a combination with "hardi shingles?"
: :good luck
Thanks!
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I believe he meant demolishing the whole house. Wayne
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On Mon, 02 Oct 2006 22:29:14 GMT, Wayne Whitney
:
:> :> : Sometimes it's cheaper to start from scratch because construction :> : people can get much more accomplished not trying to fit a square peg :> : into a round hole. That's why renovations typically cost more than new :> : construction. :> :> By scratch I assume you mean what I described, not tearing the house :> down, but I'm not sure. : :I believe he meant demolishing the whole house. Wayne
It's something I've wondered about. In fact, when I had a GC over to evaluate everything it was really the fundamental question I had in mind: Is this a tear-it-down and start all over again property or is this house worth saving? The GC didn't seem to think it the fundamental question, although I may not have voiced my thought. His take was clearly "this is a fundamentally well constructed house. If you spend $150,000 on it now, it can be undated including foundation, siding, electrical, plumbing, remodel kitchen and bathrooms, new roof, a new central heating system (including ducting), paint inside and out, refinish the downstairs hardwood floors, repair the chimney. I'm sure I left out something!
Dan
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The order in which you build a house should be the order you do a major remodel such as you have stated. Although house moving tec. has advanced raising and setting back down which you whould need to do for this project will most certianly produce some interior movement. Being that the house is currently out of level in several areas when the new foundation and stem wall is in place and the house is lowered it will shift ever so slightly but just enough to crack tiles on floor, walls, drywall, or plaster in your case. Getting the foundation out of the way first is the only way to go otherwise your just rolling the dice on if the improvments you have already made will survive the lift.. If you are in Berkely the eng. required on the foundation project is going to be though the roof cost wise lots of footing and lots and lots of rebar...welcome to California... One other coment I read below quickly something about a window guy doing the GC on you project....if thats what I read please give this a second thougt..yea it looks easy to be a GC and it can be but to be a good one and not cost the owner MORE money if is a very complicated undertaking that requires experiance and organization otherwise when the plumber gets pissed that the framers are not done with the bathroom wall fix and he has to re adjust his other work which may cost him money or another job somewhere else...ect..ect for each trade. If you would like another bid for the foundation contact me via e-mail. we have done several in that area and are familiar with the red tape involved.
Dan_Musicant wrote:

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wrote:
: :The order in which you build a house should be the order you do a major :remodel such as you have stated. :Although house moving tec. has advanced raising and setting back down :which you whould need to do for this project will most certianly :produce some interior movement. Being that the house is currently out :of level in several areas when the new foundation and stem wall is in :place and the house is lowered it will shift ever so slightly but just :enough to crack tiles on floor, walls, drywall, or plaster in your :case. Getting the foundation out of the way first is the only way to go :otherwise your just rolling the dice on if the improvments you have :already made will survive the lift.. If you are in Berkely the eng. :required on the foundation project is going to be though the roof cost :wise lots of footing and lots and lots of rebar...welcome to :California... One other coment I read below quickly something about a :window guy doing the GC on you project....if thats what I read please :give this a second thougt..yea it looks easy to be a GC and it can be :but to be a good one and not cost the owner MORE money if is a very :complicated undertaking that requires experiance and organization :otherwise when the plumber gets pissed that the framers are not done :with the bathroom wall fix and he has to re adjust his other work which :may cost him money or another job somewhere else...ect..ect for each :trade. :If you would like another bid for the foundation contact me via e-mail. :we have done several in that area and are familiar with the red tape :involved.
The only floor tiles I have are in the downstairs bathroom, and you should see them! They are already so cracked it's ridiculous. The wall tiles in there are ALL cracked with little cracks and the floor has wide, long cracks. The shower surround (tiles) was recently torn out and redone with cultured marble, the old shower piping replaced with copper, and new shower fixtures installed, but the agency said they can't afford to do my floor now (they were going to install the original linoleum, an environmentally friendly product). So, the floor will have to be done later. Anyway, I explained that to show that the foundation shift over the years has already done damage. Yes, I agree, that the foundation work should preceed almost, and probably everything.
The $64,000 quote I got on the foundation was within Berkeley's technical specs and actually he said he'd go one size larger rebar than the specs. The contractor advised against hiring an engineer. Berkeley said they didn't necessarily require a signoff by an engineer on the foundation replacement as long as it meets their spec, and the contractor said it would be OK. He's evidently pretty much a foundation specialist, and he said he's well familiar with Berkeley's requirements. He said he'd work with 3 other guys.
The GC who did the original inspection total-house-bid for me in Nov. 2000 is specializing in windows now, yes, but he used to do a lot of GC work and I was very impressed when he did the inspection with his knowledgability on all things construction. Admittedly, I was inexperienced and he was probably trying impress me, obviously. He succeeded. He told he he'd done "8-9 houses similar to" mine - old houses needing major work in many areas, was the implication, and I assume that included foundation work in most cases. I've seen some finished interior carpentry work he did on my sister's house - very nice work. He's also done major remodeling work for some of her friends. My sister said that if anything the problem with him can be that he sometimes gets a bit obsessed with everything being just so and she has to prod him not to worry about that and get on with it. So, if that's still the case, the concern from my viewpoint would probably be cost overruns more than crummy work. He himself lives in a wonderful house, big with a pool, in great shape (now), and I know that he's done or supervised or contracted a lot of work on it. I had a look a couple of years ago when I went to a party there.
He's taken to doing windows because it's easier than GC work, and especially foundation work. He said it's hard, dirty and evidently relatively depressing work. He told me that all good contractors he knows who used to do foundations had moved away from them (into other trades) and that for these reasons it's very hard indeed to find people who do quality foundation work. Well, he was coming from a different space when he told me that - he was telling me he wasn't interested in doing my house any longer. This was around 3-4 years ago, in the midst of the red hot housing boom around here and it must have been easy for him to find easier work. He's getting older, and probably doesn't have the energy he used to for whole house renovation that he used to, is my take on all this. Anyway, I guess I'll call him and see if he at least returns my call this time! I value his opinion and input even if I can't get him to take on the role of GC for the_project.
Back in 1999, I was impressed that this guy was well up to coordinating things - he said he knew a good mason for the fireplace/chimney, recommended an engineer and termite inspector (I had them both do inspections for me. I'm sure the engineer is permanently retired by now ... he was semi-retired then), and he obviously had lots of experience subcontracting work on his projects. He's undoubtedly _relatively_ of out of that loop presently.
I'll probably email you as you suggest and see about having you bid on my foundation. Thanks! Where are you located?
Dan
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No, I don't think so, for the same reasons as others have mentioned. The foundation and leveling are the first order of business. Since you will have to partially remove the siding to do the foundation, residing should be done shortly thereafter.
Now an important question is whether the plaster on the interior of the exterior walls should be retained or not. If it is generally in good condition, I suggest simply patching it as necessary. In this case, your access to the inside of the exterior walls is only while residing, and so any plumbing/electrical/insulating work in those walls should be done before residing.
If, on the other hand the interior plaster on the exterior walls is generally in bad condition, and you want to replace it all (I suggest blueboard and veneer plaster), then it will be simpler to do the work in those walls from the inside. Then just go ahead and get the foundation and exterior shell updated as one extended project, and do the interior work as another extended project.
As to the question of living in the house while replumbing and rerunning the electrical, it is possible to do without a huge amount of trouble. The basic idea is that you'll be installing entirely new electrical and plumbing systems, so you run the new systems parallel to the old systems, and when the new systems are (almost) complete, you cut over to them and stop using the old systems. Cutting over should only take a couple days and be bearable. This won't really work for the DWV, as the pipes are so big, but since you have multiple bathrooms, the DWV replacement can be done in stages. As to the electrical, it may also be convenient to do the work in stages, with just one or two rooms shut off at a time.
Those are my thoughts, of course I'm in the middle of doing all this right now. When I've finished I'm sure I'll be able to give a better answer. :-) I elected to retain the interior plaster, it was in good condition, so I'm presently insulating and resheathing the exterior walls from the outside of the house. It's a slow process for one person, right now I'm racing against the coming rains. So I'm quite busy, sorry to have delayed in responding.
Cheers, Wayne
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---> Posted and emailed <---
On Mon, 02 Oct 2006 20:37:23 GMT, Wayne Whitney
: :> I'm wondering if it's reasonably practical to put off the :> foundation, leveling and siding work and do the other stuff now. : :No, I don't think so, for the same reasons as others have mentioned. :The foundation and leveling are the first order of business. Since :you will have to partially remove the siding to do the foundation, :residing should be done shortly thereafter. : :Now an important question is whether the plaster on the interior of :the exterior walls should be retained or not. If it is generally in :good condition, I suggest simply patching it as necessary. In this :case, your access to the inside of the exterior walls is only while :residing, and so any plumbing/electrical/insulating work in those :walls should be done before residing.
Yes, I'm not sure how viable that plaster is. Of course, assuming the lath is solid, the old plaster could be removed and new plaster applied to the old lath. It seems to me that would be easier and cheaper than removing all the lath and installing blueboard and applying veneer plaster. It's not all bad looking, just a lot of it. I think some walls look pretty OK. Some of the ones with some problems look look like they can be repaired without wholesale removal of all the plaster. : :If, on the other hand the interior plaster on the exterior walls is :generally in bad condition, and you want to replace it all (I suggest :blueboard and veneer plaster), then it will be simpler to do the work :in those walls from the inside. Then just go ahead and get the :foundation and exterior shell updated as one extended project, and do :the interior work as another extended project.
Coordination would be less of a problem with that scenario. The more coordination is a problem the more I think I should have a GC involved.
:As to the question of living in the house while replumbing and :rerunning the electrical, it is possible to do without a huge amount :of trouble. The basic idea is that you'll be installing entirely new :electrical and plumbing systems, so you run the new systems parallel :to the old systems, and when the new systems are (almost) complete, :you cut over to them and stop using the old systems. Cutting over :should only take a couple days and be bearable. This won't really :work for the DWV, as the pipes are so big, but since you have multiple :bathrooms, the DWV replacement can be done in stages. As to the :electrical, it may also be convenient to do the work in stages, with :just one or two rooms shut off at a time.
Thanks for these comments. They are reassuring and sound quite sensible. I take it DWV refers to drainage/sewer stuff.
: :Those are my thoughts, of course I'm in the middle of doing all this :right now. When I've finished I'm sure I'll be able to give a better :answer. :-) I elected to retain the interior plaster, it was in good :condition, so I'm presently insulating and resheathing the exterior :walls from the outside of the house. It's a slow process for one :person, right now I'm racing against the coming rains. So I'm quite :busy, sorry to have delayed in responding. : :Cheers, Wayne
Good luck. BTW, they say things will get wet tomorrow, or somewhat likely (Wednesday!).
Dan
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I'm not sure that's true. Veneer plaster is a one or two coast process, 1/8" to 1/4" thick, while plaster over lath will be quite a bit thicker. The extra material and labor to install it may match the cost of replacing the wood lath with gympsum board plaster base.

DWV = drain/waste/vent.
Cheers, Wayne
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On Wed, 04 Oct 2006 04:18:21 GMT, Wayne Whitney
: :> Yes, I'm not sure how viable that plaster is. Of course, assuming :> the lath is solid, the old plaster could be removed and new plaster :> applied to the old lath. It seems to me that would be easier and :> cheaper than removing all the lath and installing blueboard and :> applying veneer plaster. : :I'm not sure that's true. Veneer plaster is a one or two coast :process, 1/8" to 1/4" thick, while plaster over lath will be quite a :bit thicker. The extra material and labor to install it may match the :cost of replacing the wood lath with gympsum board plaster base. : :> I take it DWV refers to drainage/sewer stuff. : :DWV = drain/waste/vent. : :Cheers, Wayne
Thanks. I just looked up DWV, yep. You may be right about the veneer plaster over blueboard. I think that once I got good at it, I would see the advantage over 2 or 3 coat plaster systems. There would be a LOT less plastering, and it would probably go a lot faster all in all. I don't think the cost difference would be a major factor, either. I made a lot of calls a month or so ago and see that Truitt and White does sell blueboard.
Dan
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