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Old 04-27-2012, 10:47 AM   #1
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cost/benefit of fully gutting to studs vs not


hi,
i plan on doing a fairly extensive renovation of a 1930s colonial in NY. tearing it down is not really an option; the house was extremely well-built and the "bones" are solid (2x6 exterior AND interior studs, 3x10 floor joists, slate roof, etc).

but the interior of the house is for the most part in very poor condition. it needs all new baths, new plumbing, new electric, new kitchen, insulation, HVAC. the floors are in pretty good shape from what we can tell.

the question is whether it's worth fully gutting to the studs, or whether we should leave up as many of the (plaster) walls as we can.

the costs involved in fully gutting are (1) much more demolition and (2) re-sheetrocking everything.

the gains i see is that any infrastructure work to be done (plumbing, electric, hvac) is easier and possibly cheaper with the walls down. also insulation could be done from the inside rather than tearing off the current cedar siding (which is in good condition) and replacing with something new.

thanks!

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Old 04-27-2012, 11:09 AM   #2
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cost/benefit of fully gutting to studs vs not


You plan sounds good to me. It will come out looking far better and will also give you the chance to air seal any holes, add blocking at the bottoms and tops of the walls if it's ballon framed.
I would rent a big enough dumpster with the doors on the back so a wheel borrow can just be rolled right up into it.
Remove the plaster first, then work on the lath instead of trying to do both at the same time.
Once it's all off pull a string on all of the studs and ceiling rafters.
I've never once seen an old house with flat walls or a ceiling without a sag in in it that will need to be worked on before the sheetrock.
If the studs are way off I find it faster to sister studs to the old ones instead of trying to shim everyone unless it's off the same distance the whole length.
Also measure the distance from the corners to where the sheetrock will end to make sure there's going to be a stud there. Often there's not because there was no sheetrock to contend with. Also check the outside corners to make sure there's nailers.
How tall are the ceilings? Often times old houses used odd sized ceiling heights, they do sell wider sheets of sheetrock.
If it's two storys tall concider removing a window and ordering the rock from a real drywall supply. There going to have a boom delivery truck that can lift the rock right up to the window and will in most cases send a crew that will unload the truck and set it in the room for you. That way you could use 12' pieces instead of 8's for less seams.
Also concider hiring a real sheetrock company to hang and finish the sheetrock. There going to be a whole lot faster and it will come out far better then a DIY can do. (most of the time)
If you stip the ceiling and it's on the top floor, I like to add the foam baffles needed for air flow to the attic from inside the room on a step ladder instead of trying to do it from the attic once the ceiling done.

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Old 04-27-2012, 11:17 AM   #3
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cost/benefit of fully gutting to studs vs not


To me it' a no-brainer. If it's a major reno and not a flip, I'd strip it down to the studs and also remove the ceilings. Not only will this make it easier to run utilities, as you noted, but it will also reveal potential nightmares that might be hiding in those cavities (mold/water damage, termites, knob and tube wiring, lack of fire blocking). Of course, this assumes your customer is willing to pay for it or its your home.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:25 AM   #4
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cost/benefit of fully gutting to studs vs not


thanks. i should add a third cost of gutting everything: losing some of the nice original details (like plaster moldings).

but it seems like the general consensus so far is to gut.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:39 AM   #5
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cost/benefit of fully gutting to studs vs not


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Originally Posted by s_ny10023 View Post
thanks. i should add a third cost of gutting everything: losing some of the nice original details (like plaster moldings).

but it seems like the general consensus so far is to gut.
For sure. Charm is unquestionably a casualty, unless you're willing to sink a lot of money into restoring those details. It's a matter of priorities and what your objectives are.
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