1950s house renovation

17 Jul 2011
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United Kingdom

I have been meaning to post on this forum for a few months now but so busy with work and renovation had not had time, so I'll at least start it and post updates.

It started in sept 2011 when we bought a solid brick 3 bed detached house which looked like it hadn't been decorated for 25 years. We knew the house needed modernising and planned to move in after 6 weeks when we had redecorated a room or two. 7 months later and we still in a rented flat.

It's not really that we didn't know how much work the house needed rather that we didn't know where to start so just started removing things, wall paper, carpets, built in wardrobes etc. The most unexpected discovery was the solid ground floor which was breaking up in one room and had obviously been repaired at some point; the other floors were not that level either. After the initial panic I decided there was nothing else to do but dig the ground floor up and put in underfloor heating. That really killed and time scales we had in mind and completely changed our plans.

We are just about at the point where we are starting to put things back together so I may be asking a few questions. Please bear with me as I would say I was a competent DIYer, inexperienced in some of the more specialist areas, but learning fast.

This weekend was spent taking out the floor standing boiler, digging up the old boiler room floor, finishing off insulating the dormer window roof and starting the plasterboard.

Amongst other jobs still to do are re wiring, although we have someone to do that, fitting new central heating system, new stud walling, plaster boarding walls and ceilings, fitting new internal doors and my biggest head ache, plumbing for waste for a rearranged bathroom and new ensuite.

Jobs we have done are, remove 40' lelandi trees, fit new mains water, start waste plumbing for new kitchen, knocked down numerous internal walls, removed chimney from roof to ground floor, fitted catnic lintel, removed all old central heating system, removed old kitchen, replaced ground floor with insulation, Dpm, ufh, screed, put in new windows.

It's taking a while because we are old able to do it at weekends so I think we are officially crazy. Grand designs without the grand.

Wish us luck as we feel likewe need it.
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Welcome to the site highleigh and good luck with the project, sounds like you have a lot on your plate but when it starts coming together it's a great feeling.
Before you start plasterboard /plastering walls, you will need to get your services planned and run/routed. So now is time for the plumbing and electrics to be planned and installed. There are plenty of requirements to be complied to during installation of these services.
You will need to know where boiler, radiators, sink, shower, bath, basin, wc, washer, dish washer, american style fridges (they require water supply) etc are going to be to supply hot/cold/ch and waste pipes to.
Also you need to plan where socket-outlets, switches, lights, smoke alarms, outlet plates for appliance such as oven/hob/extractors/washer/dryer/fridge/dish washer, boiler, alarms etc are going to be
Thanks PrenticeBoy,

Started plaster boarding the inside surround of the dorma window, not going to have any services in there.

Yep, very aware I have to get the services sorted

I have a heating engineer lined up to fit a new boiler and thermal store. This should make hot water and radiators (upstairs) quite simple to fit. I intend to use plastic pipes for all plumbing and thinking of Jaga dbe radiators as then I could get away with putting them off the thermal store directly as they can run at lower temperatures.

Electrics have started too although I need to put new studs in before that can be finished.

Thinking of how to take maximum advantage of b&q 20% off weekend.

I'll start putting some pictures up soon, at the moment they aren't pretty.
Thinking of how to take maximum advantage of b&q 20% off weekend.
I would say that B&Q prices over trade prices are inflated anyway, so leave trade materials to the trades.
As far as anything else is concerned, only get what you need, unless you have plenty of safe storage. Last thing you want is unused stuff in the way,then getting moved around, knocked about and damaged.
I'll start putting some pictures up soon, at the moment they aren't pretty.
Look forward to seeing the progression of your project.
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Hi there, i wish you so much luck, just got a place this weekend and it needs everything doing so you have my sympathy and my blessing, sounds like you are making real progress and doing it right. I have similar difficulty in knowing where to start, but things usually present themselves!. happy diy ing!
Thanks, and enjoy your new project. Things do present themselves and often there is a logical order for doing them. Sometimes I go to the house and don't know what I am going to do next but generally keep a few jobs going together so if I get stuck on one I can move on with another.
Best thing to do is make a list of things to do, put them in order of logical importance.
If for any reason the priority part of the project is halted, move on to the next one.
Thanking you, I do need a more logical approach, I now have a PLAN, and that is to give myself one month to clear out everything and get it away, then start stripping the walls and tomorrow will start early, from the top, the loft room/area. only then can i contemplate getting the plumbing done, the full rewire and the central heating. Spent a quiet hour or two there this evening, just walking round the place with a mug of tea, do other people do this ?!, it did look better as it was dark!. Only had the keys since friday so getting to know the place :). Think mine is a 1930,s total renovation.
btw i have never joined in a forum before but i have looked at this site in the past as i think the info and advice is amazing, so i am trying to get it right:!:.
I regularly step back and just look at the house to see how it is evolving and walk through how I am going to do things.

As for the plan we do have a high level list of jobs, it is quite easy to see which ones have to done first. I always have a few on the go at once for the very reason mentioned here, if one gets blocked I can move on with another. Current jobs are insulating and re plaster boarding the dorma window/roof, digging up the old boiler room floor, digging trench for outside electrics, removing rest of chimney downstairs. I also have a couple of joists to strengthen then can build new stud walls. Also need to get the heating engineer to do first fix. Not too far away from getting electrics put back in.

Still the job that concerns me is the soil pipe fitting. Not a big problem as the drain manhole is close but I am aware there are so many regs I am unsure what is best/right. Maybe asking questions on here about that soon.
BC has been today, feeling much more confident now. Does anyone else feel the stress of the unknown of Building Control? I have had sleepless nights after reading horror stories of people having to jump through hoops to satisfy them. Being inexperienced has made this worse.

He approved my new lintel, agreed with my solution to the soil pipe, reviewed the work so far generally and left saying I had a lot to do and didn't I need him telling me what to do.

I now feel much more confident in moving on and turning this house into something I want to live in. I'll even start putting some pictures up on this site now.

Having a glass of wine to celebrate.

Thank you BC.
You have my sympathy - we bought our present house eight years ago and badly underestimated the time and effort it would need to get it modernised. In those years every single ceiling, wall, floor, light, socket, bathroom, fireplace, etc has had to be changed, so far it has cost us £60,000. Luckily though the structure and the outside are fine and very little has been necessary. We are bracing ourselves for the big one, which will be the kitchen this summer. It will mean completely ripping out everything and rebuilding the entire room. I don't plan to do it; I will let the experts do this one as we need a working kitchen!
No need for sympathy, we are doing it for fun. It also means we can have the house we want. Having said that it is a lot of work and sometimes I wish it was just done but where is the fun in that. My last house was brand new and in 10 years all I had to do was the garden and a bathroom, as everything was new there was nothing else to do so i felt i was missing out when watching grand designs, LOL. It does cost a lot but the house was a lot cheaper as it did need modernisation so in the end it'll be worth it but I dread to think what it would cost to get the builders in to do everything.

Hopefully it will be done in less than 8 years, I can't wait to be doing the kitchen but we need to do electrics and plumbing before starting that.
hi you guys, reading your posts lifts the spirits :) and its time i gave a little recap (still not sure if I,m on the right post but there you go), so dear diy diary I,ve had an eventful week or so. Set out to take off the polystyrene yuk tiles and glue from 3 ceilings over the jubilee period and yippee i did it!, however doing it during the day was easier as i could wear my raybans haha, then late one evening i got the urge to crack on (not much light so no spex) and a nice chunk of 90yr old debris flew into my eye, so it was tools down and home for an eye bath, following day, couple of hrs spent in med centre getting it checked out, the good news is eye ok :LOL:, but i will look like somethin out of vampire diaries for at least a couple of weeks . . .great!. Everyday is a school day so its safety goggs for me from now on. Anyway after removing tiles (btw all ceilings in house bar one, have to be replaced), it was on to the nxt job of ripping out the ancient kitchen units and i managed to prise the run of base units away from the wall and to my surprise on the floor amongst the filth was a brown envelope and yes fello diy ers it had dosh in it, yippee!, it was like something off tv ha, very well hidden as it was impossible to have dropped down the back, so, still looking at the legal implications, as house been empty for 3yrs and previous owner is deceased and i bought property 'as seen', hope its finders keepers as i have just had to pay vet extortionate fees for biopsy and blood tests on my cat :cry:, £364.00, how many skips could i get for that?!!.v sad as i will still hav to get my cat put to sleep poss later this week :cry: . On with the diy, yesterday i finished off taking half a wall down that links a little sep loo to the bathroom, the top half of the wall was made of plaster, more plaster, a few bricks here and there, a frame type of joists (wood), and lath (the strips are all now lying in the old bath waiting to be used as kindling for my next burning session in the garden). The other half of the wall seems to be made of breezeblock type bricks and i,m not sure how to tackle that just yet lol. progress is being made and it is now, after 5 weeks looking like the empty shell it needs to be and weyhey in the next 2wks or so, may even have electrician begin first stage of complete rewire, and i must admit it will be good to have a qualified person in the place!. thats where i am, keep up the good work and take care of yourselves, ps beats watching england try and play!!

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