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Can you live in a house being totally rewired?

(40 Posts)
Snowstorm Fri 10-Jun-11 19:25:15

Hope to exchange/buy a house that (unfortunately) needs totally re-wiring. We're not going to be able to afford to not live there whilst the work is being done but I'm not quite sure what to expect.

All constructive experience welcome ... am trying to avoid doom and gloom stories as am quite stressed enough about the whole buying/selling thing going on!


duffybeatmetoit Fri 10-Jun-11 19:47:45

We were in the same situation but did have a very obliging friend who put us up for the duration as we had a 2 yr old. We were able to get the electrician in a couple of days before completion (bit of a risk but we were confident in the previous owner) this enabled him to start on a couple of rooms so that when the removal guys arrived they could stack everything without it getting in the way. With floorboards up in the bedrooms for several days and power going on and off it would have been quite difficult to live there.

If you have to live there I would have detailed talks with the electrician to sort out the plan of work to give you one room that you can camp out in and put as much as you can into temporary storage. We had thought about camping in the back garden which might be an option for you.

I would get an estimate for how long the job will last and double it (in case of unexpected problems) then you can judge what will be the best option for you. Plus try not to change your minds about where you want sockets/lights etc as that will also add in delays - not to mention hacking off the electrician.

Cultivate the neighbours - ours were great at bringing round cups of tea for the electrician when the power was off smile

Good luck!

WishIWasRimaHorton Fri 10-Jun-11 19:51:28

yes. have done it twice. is dusty as hell. and pain in the arse - floorboards up / carpets up etc. but needs must and all that.

cheesetoastie Fri 10-Jun-11 20:04:39

We've just lived through it - it was horrible but cheaper than moving all our stuff out and back again. We did put a lot of things into storage (if you have space you can rent shipping containers very cheaply and use one as a huge lockable shed) and we let the electrician take his time. One electrician quoted eight weeks for him to do the change over room by room so that we could live around it. The dust is horrific, very fine and gets into everything and the dirt that comes out of holes in the ceiling is gross so you find that you clean, clean and clean again and things still come up dirty. And then you have to get the holes repaired. I still have a kitchen ceiling that looks like we have Australian gopher holes. Really wouldn't recommend it - unless it's a heatwave summer and you can live in a tent in the garden!

ThatVikRinA22 Fri 10-Jun-11 20:06:11

we did it
bloody awful for a week but it can be done. my moggies were not so keen....but they survived it!

headless Fri 10-Jun-11 21:13:16

Not being doom and gloom, but if you could avoid being there then so much the better. We stayed on a friends floor for a week and then a caravan (out of season, was v cheap) for another, was money that completely saved my sanity with a 1 yr old and 3yr old, and perhaps their lungs! Whatever you decide though, it will get finished and you will have a fabulous family home. Job done.

Snowstorm Fri 10-Jun-11 21:57:02

Oh dear - it's not sounding good. So we're talking carpets and floorboards up as well as holes in the walls? Holes in the ceilings ... is that just for spotlights?

Certainly has made me do a mental U-turn re. being able to get the new furniture we'll need in and/or unpacking the packers boxes quickly.

Hmmm ... there's 4 of us, we're in SW London, a caravan's not an option, we can't afford to go on holiday or stay in a hotel and I don't know anyone who has room to take us in.

Still ... thank you for the warning. X weeks pain for XX years safe/comfortable living I hope.

ThatVikRinA22 Fri 10-Jun-11 22:03:45

its perfectly do-able! we did it - takes about 4days for a semi....and yes, the whole house is a bit upside down, some floor boards will be up (all over) and its a bit dusty and a pain....but really - i didnt even think moving out would be a doesnt have to be! its a pain, but trust me, you can live through it.

we had a worse job when the floor was taken up.....and the void below was 6feet deep. that one was a bugger....

PigletJohn Sat 11-Jun-11 11:49:43

it can be done BUT it will cost you more as the electrician will have to keep putting floorboards back so you don't fall down them AND he will be expected to leave with (at least) working lights and a kettle AND you will keep getting in his way and being a nuisance AND it will take longer.

Additionally you and all you own will get covered in dust and you will get fed up with each other.

If you are about to buy it then the ideal time to do it is before you move in and before you clog it up with carpets and furniture.

You will be wanting to redecorate afterwards as there will be chases and patches all over the walls.

BTW a good electrician is not usually a good plasterer, so you might want to get someone who is, to do the chases and patches. New plaster should be given a couple of coats of matt emulsion, diluted with water to help it soak it, before you think about real redecoration.

PigletJohn Sat 11-Jun-11 11:51:39

p.s. look at the Travelodge website for their special offers.

ThatVikRinA22 Sat 11-Jun-11 12:07:09

our electrician didnt even ask us if we would be moving out or not - the quote didnt alter, and i dont think it should tbh. Our electricians tried to leave it as tidy as possible. We were out at school/work for some of the time, but not all. I think they always turned the electric back on for us at the end of each day so we could cook etc....

It was one of the first jobs we did, as we were going to reburb/redecorate anyway, the house hadnt been touched since the 70's.

my kids were 14 and 8, also 2 dogs and 2 cats. i kept worrying id find a cat under the floor grin
it is a pain, but it will be all be over within a week, i used to clear up as much as i could at the end of each day.
We had heating put in, rewired, new bathroom, extension built, new floors, all without moving out. Its worth it in the end!

PigletJohn Sat 11-Jun-11 12:16:28

if you're already ensconced in the house, it would be unusual to move out

BUT if you're just about to buy it, the the most sensible thing is to have messy and disruptive work done before you move in.

Yes, cats do go under the floor. I've had it happen to me. It can be quite difficult tempting them out.

Snowstorm Sat 11-Jun-11 13:20:21

Lots of valid points, thank you.

I think however that our chain will be aiming to complete on the same date and so we won't be able to have the work done before we move in.

We haven't got into the house to talk/walk around it with the head electrician but, following one of his electrician's Periodical Reports that we had done, the main bloke estimated that it'd take about 3 weeks to do the whole house (based on it having 3 floors, albeit the top one just being a bedroom and a bathroom) - that's with one electrician and an apprentice on the job.

PigletJohn Sat 11-Jun-11 15:14:57

Well try not to have the carpets laid until after he's finished, and leave as much stuff as you can in boxes as it will get covered in gritty dust.

BTW laminate flooring is the work of the devil.

Snowstorm Sat 11-Jun-11 18:17:59

The electrician seemed a logical place to start. We will also need to replace the windows, carpets and re-decorate ... it was owned by a much older couple and it's on the dated side. That's the only positive thing about it needing re-wiring, if it had been in perfect decorative order then that would have been quite a different thing altogether.

Our current house didn't really need anything doing to it and was all decorated very neutrally ... so moving into a house which is a 'do-er-up-er' is going to be a shock to the system. It's a nice house and has a good feel to it and we plan to live there for a long time, so hopefully will be worth it. Will have to keep remind myself to think of the big picture I think!

CarGirl Sat 11-Jun-11 18:39:36

We have a small 3 bed house, total rewiring down from the 1st floor as concrete ground floor. It took 10 days in total with 1 very experienced electrician whilst we stayed at a friends house - we house sat whilst they were on hols.

Snowstorm Sat 11-Jun-11 19:11:11

Hmmmm ... hope that 3 weeks was an over-estimate then!

CarGirl Sat 11-Jun-11 19:49:33

Forgot to say that was 10 long days for him. we had to completely empty the upstairs of our house - no furniture, no carpets and very little downstairs as well. So him on his own if we had been living there would easily have been more like 3 weeks ie 15 standard days.

He could just leave the power off, all of his tools etc etc made a huge difference to how much time it took. He did noisy stuff 8-5 but then did quieter stuff earlier/later.

Imnotaslimjim Sat 11-Jun-11 19:54:23

Yep, I did it, and we had to lose the ceilings due to having laminate floor everywhere

I was 28 weeks pregnant and it was a week before Christmas. DH and BIL did it between them (BIL is a spark) and it took 2 days and a night. DS was 2 and went to stay with my parents for the duration. By Christmas, you would never have known it had happened!

ThatVikRinA22 Sat 11-Jun-11 20:10:45

is it a massive house? 3 weeks sound a very long time.

our semi was done within a week. that was a husband and wife team with their assistant.

enidroach Sat 11-Jun-11 20:50:27

3 weeks sounds extreme. We had our large (?) 3 bed terrace completely rewired in less than 3 days - 1 electrician, 1 assistant when I had 3 DC under 5. We went out for the day and stayed in a room they were not working on from teatime(they worked to about 7) and watched Tv/played etc. We could always use the bathroom etc one evening we had no lights in the kitchen but the electricain left big florescent tubes on an extension lead. It was a bit dusty - but they hoovered and they chased thin long channels into the walls and filled them in with plaster (it did need a smooth coat over later and then repainting).

CarGirl Sat 11-Jun-11 21:08:12

We has no access to the loft so all had to be done carefully through the upstairs ceilings. Our house had to be earthed, lots of new sockets etc complete new fuse board.

More people on the job obv the quicker it will be.

Snowstorm Sat 11-Jun-11 21:25:37

No, it's not massive. Quite old though.

God it all sounds awful ... <goes off mumbling to self 'think of the bigger picture, think of the bigger picture> ...

GnomeDePlume Sun 12-Jun-11 00:04:29

Have lots of sockets etc fitted now. You wont notice the extra disruption. My DH is an electrician, when he rewires his preference is for 9-10 double sockets in a living room and 4 double sockets in a bedroom (can be more). This allows furniture to be moved around later. In the kitchen he allows for under cabinet lighting switched at the main light switch. If there are two doors in the kitchen then there is a light switch at each doorway. DH also wires up the garage and outside. Think about what you want, you want to do it once. Put sockets on the landing, power in the loft. This is the best time to do it.

DH's advice is as follows:
1. test the circuits
2. once circuits are tested install new fusebox. Connect up circuits which tested okay. (circuits which didnt test okay cant be connected)
3. worst case scenario with circuits which cant be connected the electrician will be able to install 3/4 temporary double sockets so you can run extension leads where you want (your electrician will undoubtedly get some sort of supply in place for his radio and kettle - at least my DH does!)

Snowstorm Sun 12-Jun-11 10:00:47

Good advice re. numbers of sockets and thanks very much for your DH's top tips.

Must be very useful having an electrician (or plumber, roofer, plasterer or whatever) for a partner. Even if it doesn't mean that your house necessarily looks like a showhome, at least you aren't in danger of being ill-advised and/or shafted (as it were)!

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