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Old 02-08-2009, 07:17 AM   #1
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Rewiring renovation of old home


How messy, difficult, necessary is it to rewire 3 story 80 year old home with old plaster walls. I will have professionals do it but just need real advice.

Thank you,
Linda

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Old 02-08-2009, 07:23 AM   #2
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Rewiring renovation of old home


If house is empty, Normal damage,A lot of repair. Sometimes the floors have to come up to rewire. (just small sections). When you try to work with old lathe plaster,it doses it's own thing and self destructs


Last edited by bobelectric; 02-08-2009 at 07:27 AM.
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Old 02-08-2009, 07:28 AM   #3
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Rewiring renovation of old home


I am in the beginning process of doing the same. I have talked to a few electricians and all have said the same thing. They will have to cut about 1" holes on the walls to get the wires through, they will cover the holes when they are done. There are more questions and decisions that will come up. Have you updated your panel? Do you want to add new outlets? Do you need to bring the house up to code? I am not exactly sure if you are obligated to bring the electrical system up to code by law if you do a complete house rewiring. If you are, then there is a lot more work. Here in Boston the average estimate was about 20 thousand and an estimate of 100 dollars for any added outlet. I started with updating my panel and that went for close to 3000. Just giving you something to think about while some of the other more knowledgeable guys and gals here pipe in. Hold on and I am sure you will get some more specific answers you have a very nice resource here everyone is pretty helpful.
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Old 02-08-2009, 07:38 AM   #4
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Rewiring renovation of old home


A rewire would mean bringing the residence up to current codes.Service entrance,and any other,like arc fault,gfci,........
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Old 02-08-2009, 07:42 AM   #5
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Rewiring renovation of old home


That is what I thought. Was not sure though. I would want to bring my house up to code regardless.
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Old 02-08-2009, 08:05 AM   #6
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Rewiring renovation of old home


Wow exactly does somebody bring an old house entirely up to code? This is something I've wondered about for awhile...

For example, in my house all of the receptacles are placed horizontally in the baseboards. Doesn't the NEC dictate how close a receptacle can be to the floor? Also, placing receptacles every 12' would be a nightmare unless completely gutting all the walls. It seems like you'd run into a lot of scenarios like this as you have to work with what you got.

I've spoken with two people at our permitting office in City Hall and they've completely contradicted each other on these issues.

Last edited by PirateKatz; 02-09-2009 at 07:42 AM. Reason: Removed part about receptacle height and changed 12" to 12'. I really shouldn't post anything prior to coffee.
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Old 02-08-2009, 08:10 AM   #7
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Rewiring renovation of old home


I don't recall seeing receptacle height ,only spacing.(except in floor ).
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Old 02-08-2009, 08:28 AM   #8
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I don't recall seeing receptacle height ,only spacing.(except in floor ).
I just looked it up and you're right. For some reason I was thinking 12" was a requirement.
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Old 02-08-2009, 08:39 AM   #9
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Rewiring renovation of old home


THe 12 stands for 12 feet. The idea is that you should be able to stand a floor lamp with a 6 foot cord anywhere along the wall and be able to plug it in without having the cord cross a doorway or cut diagonally across the floor. A wall space less than I think 24 inches, say between two doors, does not count although you might want to put a receptacle there anyway.

It is likely that it is easier to run new cables down to the panel via different routings than the old cables have. IMHO it is better to run a new cable over a different route rather than cut open the floor to repair or upgrade or replace an existing cable.

See how much you can do and in what order and with what deadlines without having to revamp the whole house in one fell swoop. For example put in a new service drop and panel but take your time upgrading circuits to rooms. Or add receptacles here and there over a period of time. Except if you do it in stages with long delays between the stages, you may need to pull separate permits which may cost more than pulling one permit and doing all the work.
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Old 02-08-2009, 08:51 AM   #10
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And most important,Smoke detectors.
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Old 02-08-2009, 03:52 PM   #11
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How messy, difficult, necessary is it to rewire 3 story 80 year old home with old plaster walls.
It's very messy and very difficult. The necessary part must be determined by a professional. Sometimes just adding new service and circuitry to the heavy use areaswill get you by. Other times it's best to bite the bullet and install an entire new system. Somebody someday will have to do it.
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Old 02-08-2009, 05:03 PM   #12
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Rewiring renovation of old home


Working with plaster walls is always a challenge. For me the difficulty of the work depends on what kind of access is available. Is the basement finished? Is the attic completely finished? I worked with a crew of 2 other electricians who did a whole house re-wire like this and only cut 21 - 3 1/2" holes to feed wire through ceilings and walls. Look for the most experienced contractors who do this type of work all the time!
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Old 02-08-2009, 11:21 PM   #13
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Rewiring renovation of old home


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Working with plaster walls is always a challenge. For me the difficulty of the work depends on what kind of access is available. Is the basement finished? Is the attic completely finished? I worked with a crew of 2 other electricians who did a whole house re-wire like this and only cut 21 - 3 1/2" holes to feed wire through ceilings and walls. Look for the most experienced contractors who do this type of work all the time!
We are doing a DIY rewire of my parents turn of the century house (1910 time frame). We are about 4 weeks into it, mainly 2 of us. About 3,000 sqft, half of the basement is finished. 2 story. Attic full of bats. No damage to any of the bedrooms, hallway, stairwell or landing, dining room, living room, den or bathrooms.

Kitchen was a mess with burried junction boxes and had to be ripped open. A basement landing had to get opened up in a few spots. A couple closets had a couple holes that had to get some plaster in them. A few switch boxes had to have small 1/2" - 3/4" chips plastered back in.

We are about 80% done with the house. Full EMT install in basement, romex, and smurf on upper floors, expect for a single run of emt to the upstairs attic.

I used every single trick I ever picked up from people here, and anyone else. Very little expense was spared on buying the right tools. Flex bits, Flex bit extensions, Fiberglass fish rods, Fiber tape, flat fish tape, Glow sticks(yea they rock), speed bor bits and extensions, magnets, good electrical tape....

Here is a bad photo from my phone of the dining room. I really didn't want to mess up that wood work... That light is fully rewired with a junction box installed where knob and tube used to just hang out of a board in the ceiling. No damage what so ever to the room.
Rewiring renovation of old home-moto_0048.jpg

Estimated cost for full rewire for all materials $2,500 + our labor.

Jamie

Rewiring renovation of old home-moto_0048.jpg
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Old 02-09-2009, 04:58 AM   #14
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Rewiring renovation of old home


find a contractor who does it all the time, basically specializes in it, there are alot of tools, gadgets, that are made for this kind of work, that someone who specializes in it should have, they help in doing the job efficiently with minimal damage, special drills, fishing equipment, fiber optic cameras to see inside of walls and ceilings. not saying there won't be holes as sometimes it is unavoidable, but the less the better. I just finished an 1865 2 story home, took 5 days to do it, managed to do the whole house with only cutting 3 access holes, one in a closet, one in a laundry room and one at the rear entrance, pulled floor boards in 4 spots on the second floor. its not an easy job and takes a considerable amount of patients. What it boils down to is the amount of distruction of the walls/ceilings will reflect directly on your wallets thickness, the more your willing to spend the more time the electrical contractor will take to do the seemingly imposible.

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