Full Gut Renovation

18 Replies

Hello Everyone, 

I’d love everyone’s input on the step by step process.

I'm currently gutting a SFH In philadelphia and I was thinking of doing the process this way:

2)Frame

3)plumbing and then electric 

4)bathroom work/ tiles and tub 

4) New siding and windows 

5) Insulation and Sheetrock 

6)hang doors

7)Paint

8)new floor and trim

9) kitchen cabinets and fixtures 

What do you guys think? Anything you would do differently?

I would start with the roof if its over 20 years old , then the siding and windows , winter is coming and inside work can be done in the cold 

Originally posted by @Matthew Paul :

I would start with the roof if its over 20 years old , then the siding and windows , winter is coming and inside work can be done in the cold 

 Hey Matthew , thank you for the input. I forgot to mention that the roof is the first thing i did was a new roof. However that’s a great idea to do the siding and windows right now before I start the framing.

Am I missing anything else ?

Order your kitchen cabinets now , there can be a 2 month lead time . 

What ever your budget is , add 50% 

What ever your time frame is double it .

Originally posted by @Matthew Paul :

Order your kitchen cabinets now , there can be a 2 month lead time . 

What ever your budget is , add 50% 

What ever your time frame is double it .

I have a budget of 75k for a 1000 sqft house. 3 bed 2 bath and a timeline for about 3-4 months. I will look into making sure I have the cabinets and flooring ahead of schedule 

@Michael Plante @John Baker  I would do Plumbing then HVAC then Electric or HVAC then plumbing then electric.  Definitely electric last its easier to run wires around plumbing stacks and vents than run PVC and Metal around wires. We also set tub, put backer board at the same time as drywall and then do the tiles with finish work.

I have done quite a few gut and remodels.  I like to think of things in rounds.  For example, you probably won't have one single round of electrical work to do.  More than likely you will have 2 to 4 rounds. 

I like to start off a gut and remodel by hiring a demo crew.  It's one of the places where people feel like they can do it themselves.  But in reality, a crew with a bunch of dump trucks can get it done in a couple days.  Where it might take you a couple weeks, and it's exhausting work, save your energy for later in the project.

Then I prefer to get the basement in shape.  Installing mechanicals in a house with a well lit clean basement makes life a lot easier.  If you're going to install a new electrical panel, sewer line, or water line, this is the time to have that work done.  Another first thing I like to do is drill 3 or 4, 1" holes through the joists along the length of the basement.  This way you your electricians and plumbers have a nice tidy out of the way place to fish all the wiring and water feeds.  If the basement stairs need to replaced this is when I would do that also.

Getting things set up initially so that work can go smoothly will make your life a whole lot easier.  For example, is there a place to get water.  If someone is working on your house and has to use the bathroom are they going to have to leave for an hour to find a facility?  Is there a place to plug in a bunch of extension chords for tools and lights?  Do you have a plan for construction debris?  Make sure the neighbors have your contact information, if they get bent out of shape over parking, noise or a messy site and they don't have anyone to call, L&I is the first one on the list.  Lastly, make sure you can secure your site from the very beginning.  It's a horrible experience to come in on a monday to find all your brand new copper is missing and all your tools have been stolen.

My 2 cents....

Originally posted by @Paul S. :

I have done quite a few gut and remodels.  I like to think of things in rounds.  For example, you probably won't have one single round of electrical work to do.  More than likely you will have 2 to 4 rounds. 

I like to start off a gut and remodel by hiring a demo crew.  It's one of the places where people feel like they can do it themselves.  But in reality, a crew with a bunch of dump trucks can get it done in a couple days.  Where it might take you a couple weeks, and it's exhausting work, save your energy for later in the project.

Then I prefer to get the basement in shape.  Installing mechanicals in a house with a well lit clean basement makes life a lot easier.  If you're going to install a new electrical panel, sewer line, or water line, this is the time to have that work done.  Another first thing I like to do is drill 3 or 4, 1" holes through the joists along the length of the basement.  This way you your electricians and plumbers have a nice tidy out of the way place to fish all the wiring and water feeds.  If the basement stairs need to replaced this is when I would do that also.

Getting things set up initially so that work can go smoothly will make your life a whole lot easier.  For example, is there a place to get water.  If someone is working on your house and has to use the bathroom are they going to have to leave for an hour to find a facility?  Is there a place to plug in a bunch of extension chords for tools and lights?  Do you have a plan for construction debris?  Make sure the neighbors have your contact information, if they get bent out of shape over parking, noise or a messy site and they don't have anyone to call, L&I is the first one on the list.  Lastly, make sure you can secure your site from the very beginning.  It's a horrible experience to come in on a monday to find all your brand new copper is missing and all your tools have been stolen.

My 2 cents....

 Thanks for your input Paul. What would you consider doing yourself to save some money instead of the demo work? Currently doing some demo work myself to save. 

Biggest bang for your time is doing your own plumbing and electric. 

Next would be framing.  If you have never done it, get a good book.  There are some details to framing that will make your life miserable later if not done properly (like proper inside corners or framing doorways that don't match prehung doors).

After drywall is done, either buy a sprayer and do it yourself or hire someone (descent sprayer is about $500).  Spray the entire house with primer (I like to tint the primer slightly).  Next day spray ceilings flat white, spray trim gloss white.  Then do the walls yourself with a brush and rollers.

Give yourself some extra time before hanging drywall.  A drywall crew will rock over absolutely everything.  If something is accidentally unfinished, you're going to be cutting open your brand new walls to fix it.

You can also save some money doing your own tile and finishing work like installing cabinets and what have you.

It really depends on your skill level and how comfortable you are with the work.

Unless its just 1 or 2 rooms I always hire out; Demo, HVAC, Drywall hanging and finishing, Floor refinishing, Carpeting, Roofing and Brick pointing or larger masonry jobs.

@John Baker I don't see anything for permits, which is fine but can be a bear if you get a Stop Work order. It's expensive and time consuming to come back from that. 

Definitely move Siding and Windows to right after demo. You addressed roof but that should definitely be early on, especially this time of year. I would add that any concrete work should be done before December otherwise you might not get a window until March (dramatic, but definitely much harder to get concrete guys working in the winter since they usually have seasonal layoffs). 

Bathroom/tile should happen after/concurrently with drywall. 

Paint after trim, but before floor- lets you rip through with a sprayer like @Paul S. said and not have to mask anything off (except windows). 

As for @Paul S.' comment about doing electrical/plumbing yourself, be super careful here unless you have a lot of experience. If the building burns down in an electrical fire you could theoretically be liable. I prefer to leave the specialty work to the specialists. Framing is also a specialty and if done incorrectly on structural parts can be a huge risk. Partition walls are fine as long as they are straight, plumb, and you have a stud at least every 16" on center. Keep in mind clearances for toilets and such. If any of those words don't make sense to you, either study a lot, or hire it out.

Good luck! Let us know if there is anything we can do to help! 

Originally posted by @Paul S. :

Biggest bang for your time is doing your own plumbing and electric. 

Next would be framing.  If you have never done it, get a good book.  There are some details to framing that will make your life miserable later if not done properly (like proper inside corners or framing doorways that don't match prehung doors).

After drywall is done, either buy a sprayer and do it yourself or hire someone (descent sprayer is about $500).  Spray the entire house with primer (I like to tint the primer slightly).  Next day spray ceilings flat white, spray trim gloss white.  Then do the walls yourself with a brush and rollers.

Give yourself some extra time before hanging drywall.  A drywall crew will rock over absolutely everything.  If something is accidentally unfinished, you're going to be cutting open your brand new walls to fix it.

You can also save some money doing your own tile and finishing work like installing cabinets and what have you.

It really depends on your skill level and how comfortable you are with the work.

Unless its just 1 or 2 rooms I always hire out; Demo, HVAC, Drywall hanging and finishing, Floor refinishing, Carpeting, Roofing and Brick pointing or larger masonry jobs.

 Unfortunately I do not have any huge plumbing or heavy electric experience so I will have to sub those out. Along with framing , sub that out as well and drywall. I was thinking I could save about 7-9k with doing all the demo work myself and the finished like connecting the sinks and all the ceiling fans etc. I can also hang the cabinets and finish the back splash along with bathroom tiles so I see about another 4-5k in savings there. 

I am learning how to eventually tackle bigger ticket items like you mentioned however for the meantime a 10-13k savings should be good for me.

Do you only do plumbing and electric yourself and sub the rest out?

Originally posted by @Rich O'Neill :

@John Baker I don't see anything for permits, which is fine but can be a bear if you get a Stop Work order. It's expensive and time consuming to come back from that. 

Definitely move Siding and Windows to right after demo. You addressed roof but that should definitely be early on, especially this time of year. I would add that any concrete work should be done before December otherwise you might not get a window until March (dramatic, but definitely much harder to get concrete guys working in the winter since they usually have seasonal layoffs). 

Bathroom/tile should happen after/concurrently with drywall. 

Paint after trim, but before floor- lets you rip through with a sprayer like @Paul S. said and not have to mask anything off (except windows). 

As for @Paul S.' comment about doing electrical/plumbing yourself, be super careful here unless you have a lot of experience. If the building burns down in an electrical fire you could theoretically be liable. I prefer to leave the specialty work to the specialists. Framing is also a specialty and if done incorrectly on structural parts can be a huge risk. Partition walls are fine as long as they are straight, plumb, and you have a stud at least every 16" on center. Keep in mind clearances for toilets and such. If any of those words don't make sense to you, either study a lot, or hire it out.

Good luck! Let us know if there is anything we can do to help! 

 Rich, appreciation all your input here. I will def make sure the main component of the house are done professionally and handle all the little ticket items myself and just save myself a couple bucks doing that.

I’ll reach out if I need anything as far as work , do you specialize in everything ?

@John Baker we can't really specialize in everything, because then we would specialize in nothing... 

We specialize in managing the project, from the schedules, budgets, materials, scopes, quality assurance, etc. We basically represent you on the project to make sure your goals are being hit. 

Originally posted by @Rich O'Neill :

@John Baker we can't really specialize in everything, because then we would specialize in nothing... 

We specialize in managing the project, from the schedules, budgets, materials, scopes, quality assurance, etc. We basically represent you on the project to make sure your goals are being hit. 

 Understood. Thank you

I was a little luckier in my timing when I started my RE investing career.  It was the early 2000's and there were ton's of houses that just needed lots of cosmetic work.  As the RE market picked up headed towards 2007/2008 (and the TV shows started coming out) the deals were harder and I had to cut my teeth doing houses that were increasingly more difficult.  During those intervening years, I bought a big building to use as my shop, started a GC business and hired a full time crew.  That was all before I ever did my first gut and remodel.

Doing one out of the gate is a big job.  You will get there, take your time, visit the site very regularly and make very concrete plans for how you want things to be in the end.  Making changes half way through will be costly.  Don't be scared to "offend" someone that is working for you.  Buy books on how to do things like plumbing, and wiring, don't rely on youtube videos.  You don't have to do the work, but you should be able to recognize if someone you're paying is taking a lot of shortcuts.  

Some of the mistakes I have made over the years:

Replaced the sewer line and cheaped out on replacing the water line at the same time.  Ended up having to dig up the brand new sidewalk.

Installed plumbing vents through the roof and didn't know how to properly tie that all into the roof.  Sucks to rip out all your new drywall.

Bought a house and after gutting it discovered that the 2 story addition was falling off....in the middle of winter and a snowstorm.

Had my copper stolen by a neighbors kid that was a junky....3 times.

Hung and finished all the drywall in a house before I practiced like crazy and got good at it.  It came out absolutely horrible.  Used so much joint compound the cabinets didn't fit when it was all done.  Plus I think it took me about a month to do it.

Not knowing what a banks underwriter will look for when inspecting a house.  Having to rip open the ceiling in a brand new bathroom to install a vent fan before settlement stinks.

Cheaping out on windows..if in doubt...just replace them.  It's a HUGE pain after everything is finished.

Installing jaccuzi tubs, total waste of money.

Sprayed a house before installing windows.  Sounded like a good idea, until I had to pay to get a neighbors car detailed.

I'm sure the list  goes on.  Actually there should be a thread on rehab mistakes.

Originally posted by @John Baker :
Originally posted by @Matthew Paul:

Order your kitchen cabinets now , there can be a 2 month lead time . 

What ever your budget is , add 50% 

What ever your time frame is double it .

I have a budget of 75k for a 1000 sqft house. 3 bed 2 bath and a timeline for about 3-4 months. I will look into making sure I have the cabinets and flooring ahead of schedule 

If you need kitchen cabinets let me know, I can do it in 3-5 days with great price. 

Current lead time is 3 to 5 days for white or gray shaker cabinets and again great prices

Originally posted by @Paul S. :

I was a little luckier in my timing when I started my RE investing career.  It was the early 2000's and there were ton's of houses that just needed lots of cosmetic work.  As the RE market picked up headed towards 2007/2008 (and the TV shows started coming out) the deals were harder and I had to cut my teeth doing houses that were increasingly more difficult.  During those intervening years, I bought a big building to use as my shop, started a GC business and hired a full time crew.  That was all before I ever did my first gut and remodel.

Doing one out of the gate is a big job.  You will get there, take your time, visit the site very regularly and make very concrete plans for how you want things to be in the end.  Making changes half way through will be costly.  Don't be scared to "offend" someone that is working for you.  Buy books on how to do things like plumbing, and wiring, don't rely on youtube videos.  You don't have to do the work, but you should be able to recognize if someone you're paying is taking a lot of shortcuts.  

Some of the mistakes I have made over the years:

Replaced the sewer line and cheaped out on replacing the water line at the same time.  Ended up having to dig up the brand new sidewalk.

Installed plumbing vents through the roof and didn't know how to properly tie that all into the roof.  Sucks to rip out all your new drywall.

Bought a house and after gutting it discovered that the 2 story addition was falling off....in the middle of winter and a snowstorm.

Had my copper stolen by a neighbors kid that was a junky....3 times.

Hung and finished all the drywall in a house before I practiced like crazy and got good at it.  It came out absolutely horrible.  Used so much joint compound the cabinets didn't fit when it was all done.  Plus I think it took me about a month to do it.

Not knowing what a banks underwriter will look for when inspecting a house.  Having to rip open the ceiling in a brand new bathroom to install a vent fan before settlement stinks.

Cheaping out on windows..if in doubt...just replace them.  It's a HUGE pain after everything is finished.

Installing jaccuzi tubs, total waste of money.

Sprayed a house before installing windows.  Sounded like a good idea, until I had to pay to get a neighbors car detailed.

I'm sure the list  goes on.  Actually there should be a thread on rehab mistakes.

Paul I really appreciate all the input you’ve given me and time you’ve spent writing this up. And Hahha man some of those are funny now to you I bet looking back at them. I definitely wilL buy a couple books on those just to know what I’m looking for.

Would love to chat more with you. I’ll send you a message.