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forgivethemess 06-10-2013 07:44 PM

Renovating house while living in it
Is anyone currently in the process of doing this? Would you recommend? Would like to hear your experience.

nealtw 06-10-2013 08:21 PM

Welcome to the site.
Been there done that; You will be subjecting your family to dust, noise cramped space and construction waste, demolition waite, could inlude lead, asbestos, mold. Electric, fire and falling hazards while you have things open. And you never get home from work and just put you feet up. The frustration level in the family can get intence.
Living somewhere else can really add to the expence and the pressure to finish faster will be there. Can have frustasion around that too.
Good luck.

Frank0 06-11-2013 01:24 AM

I did it, but I was living mostly alone (occasional visits from the girlfriend who tolerated the mess). Probably the worst is if something necessary goes off line for days- kitchen sink, range or the toilet. Also if you are going to have people in doing work you'll be keeping their hours (unless you leave them there alone). If you are going to have people working on the house (whether you are home or not) you need to be careful with valuables and any personal information that they could access.

Good luck!

bud16415 06-11-2013 05:26 AM

It depends on many factors. I bought my first house an 1870’s farm house that needed it all and decided to keep paying rent for 2 months so I could do some of the nasty work first. I had a 5 year old at the time, and I did more work in those 2 months than I did the next 10 after moving in. Some families can adapt to this and others can’t. You need one working bath and bedrooms before you start. I divided the house in half with plastic tarps and had the living areas and the work areas. But even with that the dust will filter its way into the rest. You spend a lot of time moving things around as you work and going in and out to saw etc. As I was working late at night.

I just started another total renovation about a month ago a 1900’s home and this time I haven’t moved in yet and it’s quite nice being able to have room to work. The plan is to move in before it’s done but will hold off as long as I can. Everyone’s idea of renovation is different. If it’s just painting and little stuff it’s not too bad. In my case I’m moving walls and doing a total gut on the kitchen. Also plumbing the whole house, sanding floors etc etc.

Good luck and feel free to ask questions as you get going.

WindowsonWashington 06-11-2013 05:38 AM


Done it with a newly married wife.

Wouldn't do it again.

bud16415 06-11-2013 06:50 AM

On a similar note a builder bought the old place a few door away from me a while back. He wasn’t planning on living there while renovating but was planning on making it his home not because he loved old homes but because he loved the location and the old place had good bones and was reasonably priced. He worked on the house for 3 months in his spare time and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I came home one night to find the house smashed down to the ground. I asked him what the heck happened and he said he had built 50 new homes in his life and couldn’t believe how much work it was doing a total renovation. He said he could have built a home in the time he had messed around with this old place already. Three months later he had a new house setting on the site.

I’m sure from a cost stand point it wasn’t a good idea but when you have a building company maybe it was.

I always remembered that story and this new “old” place I just bought was a short sale and had gone thru a cold winter or two without heat. One of the first things I started on was restoring water to the house. I spent the better part of two days fixing leaks and blown pipes only to find another at the next bend. Old valves that wouldn’t turn etc. Thinking back to that story I turned off the water at the main and took my jab saw and cut the incoming line off after the meter. About 8 hours later I had a new hot and cold manifold PEX system installed with runs to every location and connected to all the main water needs. Now to chop out all that old pipe.

Most of us being DIY handymen are used to fixing things up. Don’t forget the big picture sometimes. If I had been living in the house I might have talked myself out of all new supply being afraid of interrupting the plumbing I had already fixed.

Jungle 06-13-2013 07:44 AM

You need a lot of time and patience.

You have to be very cleaver to keep all the dust etc. out of your life and your wife.

Also i would not renovate in the winter or anytime when the windows could not be opened.

It only makes sense if you are DIY totally. You don't want a bunch of construction guys in your house every day. They will treat your house like a 'job site.'

The big thing is the tax advantage when you sell, also if you DIY- less permits and much cheaper in the end.

nealtw 06-13-2013 09:41 AM


Originally Posted by Jungle (Post 88216)

DIY- less permits and much cheaper in the end.

Permits may look like a tax and many avoid them but there are systems in the house that can cost alot of money when done wrong. Some who don't understand them have the attitude, I,ll just do it my way.

We often suggest permits in order to protect people from bad contractors but really they are there to protuct people from bad houses.

Any job that requires a permit, a permit should be got.:beer:

Jungle 06-14-2013 11:24 AM

Here's the last guy that didn't get a permit,

Thomas529 06-15-2013 05:05 AM least the ladders and scaffolding were saved. On to the next project!

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