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Advice on refurbishing Victorian House

(27 Posts)
Blackeyez09 Mon 23-Jun-14 18:30:31

I've just bought Victorian property and feeling a bit overwhelmed as it is my first and bought alone... Not sure where to start with redecorating I'm expecting to spend 10-15 grand over next 2 years am I being realistic

So far things on my to do list include

There are 7 sash windows some with slightly broken panes need refurbishing and draft proofing. I would double glaze but too expensive and don't want to remove them.

Floorboards seem ok and all will be stripped sanded and waxed or painted. I need to do living room, 3 bedrooms and landing.

Stripping and sanding stairs, banisters and skirting boards.

Replasteing (possibly back to brick hallway and landing).

Repainting hallway including stairs and woodwork with bright but durable paint going for dulux dusted moss.

Replastering dining room and sorting out patch of damp in one exterior wall which is dry but plaster underneath wallpaper crumbling. Will then need to be repainted add picture rail.

Small front drive needs to be completely dug up and then paved hoping to leave small shrub area.

Back garden cut back by me now few more trees to cut down I'm hoping to pave a border, have a central lawn and surround shrubs and nice summerhouse fitted. Fence has recently been done.

2 bedrooms (10 by 11) and (17 by 11) need replastering repainting and floor boards sanded and stained/varnish.

I am hoping to do most work myself with help of partner. Will get tradesmen for plastering, front drive and garden.

I'm lucky as kitchen and bathroom done 7 years ago plumbing and electrics ok. I may need to replace a internal few doors.

Blackeyez09 Mon 23-Jun-14 18:36:31

Also are these things likely to add any value I bought for 146000 in Birmingham (3 bed terrace) plan on keeping it for 5 years to finish training (hoping children may come somewhere amongst all this!) then would really like to get back to the South or Greater London (south london girl at heart and missing it terribly sad or may try further afield... ( US) depending on situation..

Blackeyez09 Mon 23-Jun-14 18:36:50


BackforGood Mon 23-Jun-14 19:19:14

Not really sure what you are asking.
That's a heck of a lot of painstaking work (the stripping and sanding) if you are also doing some sort of training as well.

In my Victorian house, each room we've decorated has had to be replastered as the wood and lathe plaster just crumbled and came off with the paper.

PigletJohn Mon 23-Jun-14 19:46:34

look at the ceilings especially. They may be the original lath and plaster. The old nails may have rusted away, and the plaster mostly separated from the laths, so they will be ready to fall down.

Any fancy cornicing and lighting surrounds are probably made in fibrous plaster and screwed to the joists, so can be rescued. A skilled specialist plaster can copy additional lengths from a sample. Ask around for someone who can do it.

Pulling down old ceilings is the dirtiest job I know, so if it needs doing, have it before you move in or do anything else. A specialist may expect unskilled labour to prepare for him.

If you have L&P partition walls they may also need doing, but are not such a terrible job.

NotCitrus Mon 23-Jun-14 21:08:23

Secondary for the windows - unobtrusive but saves a fortune and helps with heat.
Ceilings trap huge amounts of dirt. I didn't recognise MrNC after one fell down on him.

Do you need any wiring or heating system upgrade? if so do that first.

Blackeyez09 Mon 23-Jun-14 23:58:48

Thanks for replies
I guess my main question is... With the budget and time period I have set is it feasible (10-15 k in 2 years) . Yes it's hard work I am doing it stages and have done the treads and risers just need sanding. My job is training but I do have a fair bit of reading and projects to do so working hard to get this sorted.

Pigletjohn...,I think 70% of the cielings were redone as previous owners had a leak and collapsed ceiling which required complete new roof and ceilings appear to have been done too..

Blackeyez09 Mon 23-Jun-14 23:59:44

Notcitrus... Do you mean secondary glazing? Have you had this done?

NotCitrus Tue 24-Jun-14 07:49:35

Blackeye yes and yes. My living room went up by about 3 degrees as soon as it was done. Cost about 2k in all, as opposed to quotes for over 10k to reglaze the windows.

LondonGirl83 Tue 24-Jun-14 08:15:29

Your budget is fine. If you are coin the work yourself, how long it takes totally depends on how good you are at it and how much free time you have

wonkylegs Tue 24-Jun-14 08:31:41

We are in the process of renovating a large Victorian Semi (more work but also more budget than you)
The way I looked at it was to do a spreadsheet (yes I know I hate them too but they do have their uses)
Write out each job, then try to work out a rough idea of what it's going to cost - materials, labour, fittings etc. Then add 10-20% contingency.

wonkylegs Tue 24-Jun-14 10:01:26

It also depends what level of refurbishment and how faithfully you want to look after period features.

Do the electrics or boiler need work, is the roof space insulated? - these can be boring but necessary expenses.

Sorting the windows can be expensive but it depends how faithful you want to to be. We replaced ours with hardwood double glazing but we are planning to live here 20yrs + and it's a high value property. For is this justifies the high cost.
In our old Edwardian terrace the whole street had been replaced with upvc double glazing and although I'm not a fan of this it was fine in our house and was a more reasonable cost.
We have only had to replaster some rooms - the dining room which was just decorated was able to be lined & filled before painting.

Blackeyez09 Tue 24-Jun-14 10:56:13

Wonkylegs... Thanks yes all the windows in the street are Upvc but I have to say I do really like the look of the sash windows so not keen to remove them at all hence the refurbishment option. I did get electrician along before exchanging who felt electrics ok (did not need rewiring) but need to change consumer unit? I'm not really sure how else to judge electrics really...

The previous owners had new roof done with Velux windows it is absolutely boiling in there so I am hoping some form of insulation has been done but not completely sure I think my surveyor mentioned 1 thing.

It's not a high value property but my neighbour has done a lot of improvements including ripping out loads of original features and his property is valued over 200k having bought it for 130k so there is potential I hope.. (My surveyor did say this too!) I would only keep it for 5 years too..,

Blackeyez09 Tue 24-Jun-14 10:56:56

London girl..., thanks yes going to get DIY hat out!

Blackeyez09 Tue 24-Jun-14 10:57:57

I should also say I intend to be very faithful to features as its the only reason I loved the place as previous owners kept them

Blackeyez09 Tue 24-Jun-14 10:58:57

Notcitrus... Thanks will definitely investigate that option more!

Blackeyez09 Tue 24-Jun-14 11:00:28

Other than getting out electrician and boiler engineer is there any other way of knowing whether these things need doing

TitsCrossed Tue 24-Jun-14 11:18:55

Defo make sure wiring/plumbing/damp etc are alk sorted before thinning about anything else.

We refurbished our sash windows using a local company (North Manchester). They popped out the glass, replaced the weights and put new double glazed glass into the frames. The gap between the glazing panels isn't as big as modern standards (limited by the frame) so it isn't as efficient, but it made a huge difference to our drafty house. Plus now we can own the windows which had been painted shut for years. Bonus.

TitsCrossed Tue 24-Jun-14 11:20:10

*open the windows. We owned them anyway. smile

wonkylegs Wed 25-Jun-14 09:46:21

I only mentioned the windows because when we looked into refurbishing the windows here it wasn't much cheaper than replacement 800+painting v 1100 (& that was with timber) and as we have 25 large sash windows it was a big cost for us. I do love our proper sash windows on this house but I lived with good plastic ones for 10yrs and although in principle I hate them they were fine.
Planning has really helped us stick to budget and although we have had some surprises & we've bought some luxuries we are still on budget & so far it's looking great.
I'd always say don't skimp on things with moving parts as cheap is more likely to go wrong and is often a false economy. Your main saving is labour but don't underestimate how much time you will need.
My decorator did the dining room in 2.5days, I did the identically sized bedroom above in a week both look great but it took me twice as long!

Blackeyez09 Wed 25-Jun-14 11:23:13

Thanks titscrossed your name is hilarious!
That's exactly what I would want to do... What's the name of the company you used I'm thinking perhaps they could suggest someone nearer to me!
Also when did you do this work and how much roughly was the cost

TitsCrossed Wed 25-Jun-14 14:42:41

14 sash windows, each 2 metres high, including a factory finish paint, new weights, fitting etc cost us between £8-9k (can't remember) 4 years ago. They also replaced any rotten bits of frame. They look great, but the character of the old wibbly (and very thin) original glass is lost. On balance I prefer not to scrape ice off the inside of windows in winter though!

It's not cheap but we took the opinion that we'd rather get the 'bones' of the house right and wait longer to complete than be in the position of wanting to do it again. And you'll be carrying me out of this house in a box, we ain't moving! Still not finished, the attic needs sorting, then we can finally decorate/carpet the hall/stairs/landing.

We wouldn't have been able to UPVC the front due to conservation area but UPVC sashes have improved, you can get narrower frames now.

TitsCrossed Wed 25-Jun-14 14:44:11

Yy wonky don't skimp on moving things! Ver true.

Marmitelover55 Wed 25-Jun-14 20:33:42

We have upvc sashes and they look pretty good. They even have the little decorative bit (sorry not sure what its called). We did have had original wooden sashes but they completely rotted away. The upvc sashes cost about half the amount we were quoted for hardwood. Would have preferred hardwood obviously if we could have afforded it.

calendula Thu 26-Jun-14 13:49:44


If the room with the velux window in is boiling now in the summer, it is unfortunately highly likely that it is NOT well insulated and will be freezing in Winter sad

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