Prepping house for rewire, what are the must-dos?(32 Posts)
Just that really. We finally have a date in January booked and will be moving out for 2 weeks to give spark, plasterer and decorator time to do their thing. This is my list so far and a couple of questions at the end, am I missing anything?
1. Pack up or throw away anything that is not a major item of furniture and arrange storage.
2. Take down curtains and get them dry-cleaned. Remove wooden blinds and clean them.
3. Choose and buy new light fittings for bathroom, hall and lounge.
4 ?Should I completely remove the wallpaper/lining paper before they raggle the walls? Will the plasterer skim an entire wall or just do a patch?
5. ?We have carpeting upstairs and the wiring currently runs underneath it. Should we have this taken up and stored or leave it for the sparks to work around?
Any advice would be great. This is such an upheaval but I want to get the house right.
Our electrician came round beforehand and checked joist/floorboard direction and told us which areas of rooms we needed to leave clear.
Do not underestimate the amount of dust it will produce
don't clean anything until the work has been finished.
Dust will get into drawers, cupboards, carpets, bedding and lampshades, and through closed doors. After taking the bedding off, put a dustsheet over the mattress. Disposable plastic decorators roll will do, but dust will fall off it when you take them off.
But a generous quantity of those plastic storage crates with a tight-fitting lid. Buy a roll of recycling bags (they are like large bin-bags, but clear. If you put your possessions in rubbish bags, they will get thrown away, or, at the least, dirt and teabags will be thrown in them.
Electronic items such as PCs, tablets, hifi and TV will be ruined by dust getting in them. Put them in bags, then into a crate.
Dismantle your domestic vacuum cleaner and take it out of the house. Ask someone else to look after it until the builders have left.
Buy a builders canister wet-and-dry vac. It has a cartridge filter that can be brushed clean (outdoores) but but fleece bags to fit, or the dust will clog the cartridge too soon. As well as the bags, buy one spare cartridge. If you can't get replacement bags and cartridges to fit, don't buy the cleaner. 30litre is common. This one will be handy for DIY in future years They are quite cheap but have a good guarantee that lasts longer than your building work will.
"Wet" and dry means you can suck up water and wet material from overflowing baths, burst pipes and blocked drains. They are quite noisy.
If anyone in the house has athsma or other breathing problems, buy a box of dust masks with the plastic valve on the snout.
Have you drawn up your plan of sockets, in every place where you might ever want one? Including more than you consider necessary in the kitche, utility and garage?
RCBOs are worth the extra on your socket circuits (upstairs, downstairs, kitchen and utility room)
* Do not underestimate the amount of dust it will produce* ￼
Yep. We foolishly thought piling up some furniture in 'safe' areas and covering them would be enough. How naive.
Our electricians moved carpets where necessary (only a couple upstairs). They weren't put back as well - but we've never put any effort into correcting this as they will ultimately be changed.
If you put your possessions in rubbish bags, they will get thrown away, or, at the least, dirt and teabags will be thrown in them
Yes my Dad helpfully binned a load of our stuff I black bags. Great tip!
Thanks for the responses. What about removing the current wallpaper, is that overkill?
You can do that if you want. Sooner or later you will need to redecorate.
Electricians are generally not good plasterers, or good carpetlayers, or good carpenters. They will probably fill in the chases and round the boxes but it may not be to a high standard. Their remit is not to plaster the walls. Floorboards that have been cut and lifted and nailed down may squeak.
We removed the wallpaper and then had it skimmed after the rewire by a plasterer. The sparky didn’t do anything other than the rewire and half the walls came off in places - it’s pretty old though. We just painted the whole place white afterwards as we are having other work done.
We also found 2 ceilings had been boxed round the beams with asbestos so that needed removing.
Your plasterer will only plaster what you pay him to. I personally would remove wallpaper otherwise it may end up partially plastered over.
Thanks Yeahyeah and haunted you've confirmed what I thought. Our electrician has a plasterer he works with so he will skim each room after they've finished rewiring it.
Thanks PigletJohn, we are definitely getting more sockets than we think we'll need and haven't quite drawn up the final plan but will have that ready for them. Our house is a teeny-tiny terrace so I'm opting for moving as much as possible into self-storage, this will include any appliance and electricals.
Should we take up the carpets ourselves before they start and put these in storage too? It sounds like the emptier it is the easier it is to get the work done and clean up from the mess.
If you have wallpaper then when the walls are chased there will be deep plaster repairs required (not just skimming) so you may as well remove all wallpaper on those walls.
You'll be lucky if it all happens in 2 weeks! The plaster will need a couple of weeks to dry out before redecorating - ideally much longer especially if papering
We are getting integrated usb sockets in some rooms- might age the property I guess when technology is outdated but we thought it was better than using adapters all the time. Means we can have double socket and two devices plugged in without substantially increasing the number of sockets (though we are also increasing the number of sockets).
Btw you shouldn't need to reskim whole walls following the rewire, the plasterer should just fill the chases and skim on top of those
Useful to know about how long it takes plaster to dry. I'm really hoping to not have lining paper because we have issues with mildew and I think that having just paint on plaster will make it easier to treat. It also looks sharper IMO but I would have to see the condition of the underlying plaster before deciding.
I will definitely be getting USB ports in some of the sockets in the kitchen, living room and bedroom. If they're wired in then they could possibly be upgraded to the latest charging port technology without too much fuss (hopefully...)
Let your neighbours know! The house next door to me (terraced) has been being rewired since last week and the drilling has been awful. I'm sure my hearing has been damaged. Not what we needed when home for half term with two little ones
Think about automation, Controls through aps or electronic PAs, think about low level PIR lighting in bathrooms, landings and halls that are just passed through. Think about heating controls/thermostats. Wireless thermostats are pretty reliable now but need specific wiring at the boiler end. Think about outside lights, (and christmas lights?) where you need them and what area the PIR should cover, garden lighting and/or outside sockets. (Get another outside tap put in whilst you are already messed up). Think about having a car charging socket put in - or at least an inside socket somewhere close to where you would have it.
Do you have or are you considering a kitchen island - that often needs an electric supply.
Depending on other work you are considering, think about electric underfloor heating in small areas. (Warm feet in the bathroom and in kitchen prep areas are such a luxury and brilliant for drying shoes etc in the hall/porch)
Think about bedside lights, wall lights in the lounge - neither strictly necessary but worth a thought.
Sorry for the deluge but have just (had) built my own house and these are the things that I either did and love or wish I had done.
I would remove wall paper and I would take up carpets to store. Have in your mind that nothing will be looked after if you leave it. Dust is unreal. I would even try to tape over window locks and anything that is exposed and could be tricky to clean. We had rooms completely replasted as they needed it anyway. Check with the people doing the job. When they've finished the electrics, draw a map of where the wires run as this is useful for future drilling etc. Get double sockets next to each other where TV goes and where you get ready in bedroom. Get them to wire in fire alarms. Check you've got an accessible plus for microwave, fridge, toaster etc.
I am mid way through a re-wire in our house. I don’t think it’s necessary to move out (we haven’t) but it is very very messy. I’m not sure you need to do too much beyond making sure the place is tidy. Upstairs we are having to empty/move the furniture in different rooms each day to allow them to get to where they need to be. I’ve just spent almost ah hour hoovering and dusting for the weekend because everything is covered in a film of dust. And we have patchy electrics (some rooms don’t have power and lights each evening). It’s not the most fun but it’s not that big a deal
And yes if your house is papered that should all really come off before the rewire. We have just had all the woodchip stripped in preparation for the rewire
We are not plastering, we are having lining paper because that’s what’s best for this house. I doubt there is much price difference though tbh
I second the suggestion of removing your vacuum cleaner from the house altogether.
If it is there, they will definitely use it and it will be useless forever after.
Leave a £7 Argos kettle and put your own one away. Find some 'builders mugs' that aren't at all precious and leave them out on a tray with the tea bags.
This one may sound ridiculous but, buy some sugar cubes and take away the granulated stuff. I found this tip on MN many years ago and it is inspired. Even the tidiest tradesman pays little attention to kitchen surfaces and floors covered in tea stains and sugar. Awful to clean up.
Lining paper gives a lovely soft finish, I prefer it to painting straight onto plaster but I may be in the minority in that view!
Regardless you will need paperless surfaces for the plasterer and trust me they will skim over any edges of wallpaper left near the spark's chases. It's annoying to have to remove plaster that has been skimmed onto existing wallpaper (been there...)
Oh wow, I hadn't noticed the rest of the replies on here. Thanks for responding, I will take all that into account.
We're basically moving as much as possible out of the house and putting it into storage for 2 weeks. I'll remove the wallpaper over the Christmas holidays (yay, fun...).
I will definitely be getting USB ports in some of the sockets in the kitchen, living room and bedroom.
I would think carefully about this. The issue is that if at some point in the future you have insulation testing done, that typically involves putting 1000V across the mains cables (after isolating from the mains) and this can often fry the electronics in the charger and then show a spurious result on the test. Better to put a couple of extra sockets in and use plug-in chargers.
You haven’t specified enough sockets.
I agree - a contractor I once used put it like this - you are better off looking at them than looking for them.
But you don't need to go as far as this: www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/house-goes-sale-13m-photos-20794872
Cable for downstairs lights is usually fitted by lifting the upstairs floorboards
Ensure that your electrician is qualified and will give you all the necessary certification - this work is regulated. If you don't have the right documentation at the end, you will have trouble to sell the house in future.
Current regs require the sockets and light switches (on new-builds) to be at a different height to past regs. You can change, but don't have to. Have a look here www.electriciansforums.net/threads/rewiring-a-house.179988/
It may be worth signing up to www.electriciansforums.net/ and asking the same question there - you will get the sparkies perspective.
Thanks @filka, I'll look into the usb thing. It might be that extra sockets are more useful anyway so I'll add in another easily accessible socket to each room.
Our electrician is fully qualified and will give us certification at the end of it. We're not going to move the sockets to regulation height but they are in the baseboards at the moment so we're bringing them up to at least knee height.
I don't think I have ever been gladder that my house is built with floating lath and plaster / and plasterboard walls like so many other old Scottish houses.
Wires can be pulled, dropped down. or poked up the gap between the internal wall and the external stone wall with a minimum of faff. It's not always that easy - sometimes wire get snagged, or coil up in interesting places en route - but nothing like the mess you guys are describing.
A few years ago my FIL (an electrician, English, and used to hard plastered walls) nearly had a fit when my wife and I decided we had made a mistake on the new fit wiring he had done and we needed another switch for the kitchen light - turning a two way into a three way. This involved running cables up into the attic (the kitchen ceiling is open to the floorboards of the upstairs - so all wiring has to go stupidly long distances to keep it hidden)... up one side of the building and back down the other.
Took us a couple of hours.
I don't recall having to take out any plasterboard upstairs. We used existing cables as pull-throughs and planned ahead.
Will your electrician be using a wall chasing machine and if so will you use a dust extractor system?
Ours did and this helped a lot with the dust. We also made sure they did room by room so we could move around without the dust affecting us too much.
Of course tidying up as they move around helps. Henry the Hoover is the best Hoover ever for dust!
I'm in Scotland Sandman and I wish our walls were like yours. Judging from our neighbours rewire a few years ago our walls are the sturdiest and trickiest that electrician had ever seen.
Jem01 I have no idea what kind of machinery they will be using but we will be moved out for the duration so the day to day dust won't bother us. I'm going to buy a henry hoover type vac for them to use and will remove our Dyson so they don't ruin it.
I still don't know whether we should lift the bedroom carpets ourselves and take them away to storage or just leave them. If the dust is so horrendous won't they get ruined? It's only about 3 years old so still quite nice and new.
I'm resurrecting this thread to see if anyone has any more advice. I've been looking everywhere on the internet but can't seem to find anything.
1. Some of the wallpaper/lining paper on our walls is coming off due to condensation damp which I will remove before the rewire. Should I remove all the paper in the house at the same time? Will it make it easier to decorate?
2. Should I pull up the carpet and put it into storage with the rest of our stuff or leave it for the sparks to pull up? Will it get ruined if we leave it?
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