DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > Flooring > Problem cutting through exterior wall?





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Old 01-13-2009, 02:53 PM  
eds
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Default Problem cutting through exterior wall?

We wouldn't be DIY this, but I was hoping someone might be able to let me know if this is doable.

My wife and I are wondering whether a particular house might serve our purposes with a couple of changes. I'd appreciate any thoughts as to whether what I'm thinking of is possible, as well as any guesses (huge ballpark) as to the magnitude and costs of the changes.

The house resembles a bungalow to me, tho I believe it is called a 1/5 story Queen Anne on the listing. It has 3 bedrooms upstairs, a full bath up, and 1/2 bath down. We would like a 4th room that could serve as a bedroom for a kid home from college, and at least 2 full baths (shower only is fine). We also very much desire a front porch.

It used to have an 8' deep front porch running the entire front of the house, approx 25'. That porch has been enclosed. Immediately behind the enclosed front porch is a long narrow living room ("LR") measuring 12X22.

I could imagine opening up the left 2/3 of the front porch to create an open front porch. I was wondering if I could keep the right 1/3 8' of the porch enclosed, and even extend it approximately 4' into the existing LR to create a room approximately 12x8. This would reduce the size of the LR to about 12x12. Then, the space behind this new room that used to be LR could be used to try to enlarge the 1st floor bathroom which is right there. Does that make any sense?

What I thought might be problemmatic, tho, is that the front 8x8 of this room would have previously been enclosed porch, and the rear 4x8 would have been inside the house. Therefore, this would require removing - or at least substantially opening up - part of the home's original front wall.

Is this at all doable? Is it a monstrous and unadvisable undertaking, or is it relatively readily handled with modern construction technology by inserting the proper supports and beams?

We were also thinking about kicking out a 2d floor dormer in the back, to get more space upstairs.

Instead of reconfiguring the first floor and dormering the second, would we be better off just planning on building an addition either on the side or rear?



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Old 01-14-2009, 07:18 AM  
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Forgot one relevant factor. The structure is woodframe rather than brick, which I suspect would make piercing the exterior wall simpler. It was built @ 1915.



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Old 01-14-2009, 11:25 AM  
glennjanie
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Welcome Eds:
Yes, your project is doable and will probably cost near 20% of the price of the house (big ballpark). A beam will probably be necessary in place of the front wall you have to cut out; steel will be less obtursive but Glue-Laminated will work well also. I would support the ends of either beam with a 4 X 6 for good load bearing. Also make sure the structure under the floor is solid enough to support the beam and its load.
Here's hoping the floors are on the same level, a porch floor is usually lower than the house floor.
We can give a more complete and more helpful answer if we could see pictures of the project.
Glenn

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Old 01-14-2009, 11:39 AM  
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Eds,
The magnitude of what you want to do will also be greatly affected by how the floor and roof above is framed. If the existing front wall is supporting only wall above and a little bit of roof then the repair could be pretty minor, new 2x beam and new wood columns. If there are floor joists being supported and long span roof framing you could have a pretty heavy load on this new beam. You might end up needing new steel tube columns, a paralam beam, and new foundations. This type work is done all the time but it can be pricey. I would recommend getting a GC to meet you onsite because he would know the things to look for and could give you a ballpark figure.

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Old 01-14-2009, 11:55 AM  
eds
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Thanks a million, guys!

I would have posted a link to exterior pics, but am unable to as a newbie.
Your posts give me some good ideas of things to look for when/if we look at this house. I can imagine my realtor rolling her eyes as I pull out my level . . . And my plan would be to give it a thorough walk through once, and then a second time with a contractor.

How is it best to approach contractors with such a request? I realize that their time is valuable. Is it appropriate to offer a couple of hundred $ to ask a contractor to accompany you during inspection of a property you do not own, with the provision that that would be taken off any bill should you end up hiring them for services over a certain amount? Is this type of thing common, totally unusual, or somewhere in between?

The 20% figure is a very comfortable ballpark for me. The house is listed for $370K. Would hope/expect to pay somewhat less. As is, the house is probably under 1500sq ft, including the enclosed porch. Full unfinished basement should make reworking utilities easier.

The listing price is at least $100K below the equity we hope/expect to get from our current home. Simply put - if we can't get at least $500K, we ain't moving!

Anyone want to toss out another WAG as to costs? I'd greatly appreciate it.

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Old 01-14-2009, 12:28 PM  
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It i common to ask contractors to accompany you home inspections when you have possible remodel plans. Most won't charge because they want to get the work in future. It is a nice thing to offer to pay for their time, like you said with the provision that it would come off the fee. With the way the economy and construction industry is right now you could probably find a GC who has become a licensed home inspector to make some extra money. I know several GC's and Engineer's in our area(Tampa Bay) who are doing this. Kill two birds with one stone and hire someone like that. I don't have much of an idea for cost, for I am just a lowly designer.

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Old 01-15-2009, 12:36 PM  
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It's definitely a great idea to have a contractor walk through the house with you. Pay him for his time because it will be money well spent. If you hire an experience contractor he/she may see things the inspector has missed or reinforce things the inspector noticed. As far as estimating a cost for your upgrades, that is an impossibility without seeing some pictures or just being there. You need to be really careful about assuming yourself what it's going to cost or having someone tell you outright without really taking the time to look at the house. Everyone like to sugarcoat including you, because it sounds like your really want that house. Just be careful, there may be underlying reasons why the house is undervalued, and not just because of the economy.

Josh Jaros (Jaros Bros. Construction)

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Old 01-16-2009, 07:36 AM  
eds
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaros bros. View Post
It's definitely a great idea to have a contractor walk through the house with you. . . . If you hire an experience contractor he/she may see things the inspector has missed or reinforce things the inspector noticed. . . . Everyone like to sugarcoat including you, because it sounds like your really want that house. Just be careful, there may be underlying reasons why the house is undervalued, and not just because of the economy.
Thanks. I'm not a huge fan of inspectors. I mean, I know they are better than nothing, but I dislike their express disclaimer of liability for basically anything in their reports. In many respects, I would value more highly the opinion of an experienced contractor, who would be interested in establishing a working relationship with me.

I understand the need to not get too excited about any one house. I've been watching the market for a year or so, and one thing I'm confident of is that at any time a home I would be very comfortable with is either on the market or about to come on. We're not going to do any serious looking until we have our house on the market, and I would be astounded if we made any offers before our house is under contract.

I think the biggest hurdle is going to be between my wife and I. She would strongly prefer something in turnkey condition. Whereas not only do I question that we will find anything that is perfect for us - at least without paying a high price - but I also like the idea of creating something just for us out of an older home. And the size, situatiuon, and location of the lot is probably more important to me than to her. IMO, the lot is the one thing you definitely cannot change about a house.

Thanks for all the ideas, guys!


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