Estimated refurb costs advice needed

My wife and i sat down last night to ‘estimate’ refurb costs on a few houses that we are interested.

For the sake or argument assume detached circa 1800 sq ft and 40-50 year old houses. No extension right now just knocking a wall to join a kitchen and dining room and opening it to the garden behind.

are we miles off? or missing anything massively obvious

6,000.00 Rewiring
3,000.00 knock wall in kitchen
25,000.00 New Kitchen
6,000.00 New Utility bathroom suite
7,000.00 New Main Bathroom suite
7,000.00 Flooring throughout
3,000.00 Paint entire interior
10,000.00 Windows (for new Kitchen)
10,000.00 New Radiators/boiler
10,000.00 Curtains

Not sure where in the country you are (as this makes huge difference, especially if you are in Dublin):

Rewiring; I’d think on the low side, more like around 10K
New kitchen: 25K must be some killer kitchen! you should be able to stay well below 20K and still get something very nice
Kitchen wall: make sure it isn’t a load bearing wall, if so, double the money.
Curtains: looks like a big number, but then I am not a huge fan of curtains, and those I use I buy in Ikea.
Windows: if you replace them, replace all of them, might bring the price up to 15K

If the house is old and you are already rewire and replumb, do add insulation. outside maybe 12K, inside maybe 6-8K
I’d also recommend replastering (necessary when insulating internally anyways), not just painting. makes for a much nicer finish.
maybe another 3K for the whole house?
Utility bathroom suite seems to be a tad on the high side, but the sky’s the limit when it comes to tiles…

I agree that the estimates for the bathroom fittings and tiles are a tad on the high side unless you are planning to rearrange the bathroom lay out which will require expenditure on plumbing. I tiled all of my bathrooms in plain white metro tiles (the small rectangular ones) with dark grey grout. I used the cheapest ones in tilesytle and they look fab and the grey grout is very easy to keep. By the way if you are based in Dublin there is no point in shopping around for tiles. Tilestyle have the best range by far.

I think your estimate for a kitchen is very high. Depending on size I think you could get a nice modern one for between 12 and 15 k. There are lots of importers of German kitchens available now who provide very good value for money and quality. Kube ( and found them very good and also relatively cheap.

I think your estimate for painting is very low and I would expect to pay in the region of €10k to paint a whole house. This seems like a lot of money but it is worth paying for an experienced painter the first time an old house is being painted after a refurb. S/she will fill all the bumps and cracks in the plaster and make the place look 100 times better believe me. Once this is done you can always repaint yourself in the future.

Thanks all, this is great info,

FYI we are in Dublin.

the kitchen was a total stab in the dark, i was going on what my parents had spent on one a few years back at the height of the madness but good to know we could get a decent modern one for less.

Bathrooms again was a stab in the dark (was trying to err on the side of caution) but we could well re configure them slightly so that extra should cover the plumbing as well

Painting is interior only, but still looks like we have undercooked.

What would be involved in insulation? in the walls? i cant see us doing external as most of the houses are bricked so wont want that covered up. No idea on window costs, but i guess you would want triple glazing and decent quality

We got very a good Kitchen, appliances and worktop for 16-17k. State of the art appliances plus a quartz (not granite) worktop.

However, the floor had to be leveled, which raised the kitchen floor, which meant we needed a different window, so in all the Kitchen was closer to 20k.

I got a rewire for 5k. But that was a friend.

If you are knocking down a wall you should find out:
a) what is above it, eg more masonry wall, stud wall on which part of the roof structure sits, or nothing
b) which way do the joists run (not the floorboards) in any room above, ie do they, and the weight they carry, rest on the top of the wall you are thinking about knocking.

If the answer to those is nothing and no, then you need to consider whether the wall buttresses the rear wall of the house (or anything else) - if so you have to leave part of it.

If no for all of the above, you may be able to knock it without steel, lintel, props etc.

If you cannot be sure (not “ah shure…”) , get a competent/professional opinion.

Not sure you actually need a “Cert” especially if there is clearly no structural relevance. You might decide you want one though.

Figures don’t look too far out as a total.


we will need new windows anyway i think

where did you get your kitchen?


will be getting an architect in i think because we want to get plans drawn up for a potential extension so whatever work we day we want to bear that in mind.

I’m in the process of complete renovation of 4 bed semi, 125sqm from 1979. I do some of the job myself and hire separate people for different tasks. I didn’t use architect. This is longer process than hiring one builder/company but it is cheaper. I can give you my figures:
6k rewiring is OK, shop around, white switches/sockets, don’t save on socket points, don’t forget external sockets. It could be little more if you add tv cales, alarm wires, TCPIP, telephone cables.
Lamps 500-1000
LED bulbs - check ikea
3k for bearing wall + RJs + cert should be enough (I have paid 3k+ vat to knock 2 bearing walls with engineer cert)
for 10k you should get Ikea kitchen with quartz worktop and average appliances.
6,000.00 New Utility bathroom suite - 6k should give you 2 fully tiled bathrooms (much better than “new house” standard)
3,000.00 Paint entire interior - I’ve done this myself, good quality washable paint and tools cost me about 1k.
7,000.00 Flooring throughout - 7k is about 41E/sq meter. Good quality laminate cost 20/sq meter, underlay 3,50/sq meter, add cost of skirting boards. I don’t know labour cost but laminate floor is fast to lay.
10,000.00 Windows - You should get 3ple glazed windows for all house in this price. Shop around
internal window sills - cheap plastic or stone?
10,000.00 New Radiators/boiler - you should do whole house re-plumbed for this price: new radiators, new all pipes in the house, new boiler, zoning, 300l insulated hot water tank, attic tank
10,000.00 Curtains - are you joking or there is one 0 too much. 1k should be fine

You have forgot about:

  • main door: about 2k
  • stairs - I don’t know
  • re-plastering house. The electrician and plumber will do mess with your walls and ceilings. Full re-plastering house - new plasterboards and skim could cost 7k - 10k.
  • insulation: are you planning external or internal insulation? External is about 8k to 10k, internal will be cheaper if you are re-plastering inside. If the house has cavity walls (it is not same as cavity block wall) insulation can be 2k. Remember: No-insulation way is wrong way. Better save money on kitchen/, floors or bathrooms but not on the insulation.
  • Mineral wool in the stud walls, attic insulation 1k
  • new internal doors and frames? 250-350 each with fitting
  • painting outside (don’t count this cost if planning external insulation)
  • Are you planning MHRV? its about 4-5k
  • Stove (cash wasting in my case, I have well insulated house and don’t use heating much. I’m too lazy to clean stove) 2k - 3k
  • garden - you can easy spend 5k or more there
  • velux windows in the kitchen/dinning area? - I don’t know but one big velux with fitting is cheaper than two smaller.
  • 10% - 20% for unexpected expenses
  • skips: 1 - 1,5k
  • furnitures
  • a man who does simple building jobs - removing plasterboards, loading skip, stripping bathrooms etc - 100 /day
  • will you do floors levelling?
  • house alarm 1k
  • are you planning widen window openings? 700 each with eng cert
  • is there a septic tank which have to be fixed? Do you have to do soakaway/drainage?
  • is there raising mould problem? Do you have to fix roof?
  • fascia, gutters - probably around 2k
  • coving
  • water softener + filter 800
  • your and your family stress - you can’t price this but add cost of the alcohol :slight_smile:

If you are looking for hiring builder who hire subcontractors and supervise job, your house will be ready probably within 1-3 months and should be done to good standard but you will add more to the pricing above. If you are looking for people yourself - it can be 1 year and you have to check their job every day. You probably will not live on building site so add apartment renting cost. The biggest problem for us was to find good workers for reasonable cost. I had to fire 2 guys after one day of work - well paid “tiler” and “plasterer” who I couldn’t verify before hiring.
Good luck

I found this thread very useful :
Some good discussion on the price difference between self-managing and getting everything done externally.

Also includes some good friendly joshing

thanks for this, super helpful, i may as well say at the start, i dont have the time or inclination to manage something like this myself so ill need a main contractor i think.

The house we are currently looking at requires modernisation but not gutting. That said i assume if we get rewiring etc done, we need full replastering and skimming, so between that and painting (if i get someone else to do it) we could be looking at 15k potentially?

Also we wont use external insulation as we like the brick work so wont want to cover that,

In that case what are the best options?

thanks Mantissa

So how does that work, say you arent doing any extension, you still get an architect in to manage the project (even if say you are only taking one internal wall down)

What kind of fee do they charge for work like this?

You can have an external insulation and “fake” brick. Check photo below.

This is a cheaper version on the image but there are also ceramic tiles on the market which look like real brick. You will not notice the difference between this on the photo and real brick from 1 meter. It look very clean and “like new”. My neighbours asked me how did I clean the bricks? They couldn’t believe it is fake :slight_smile:

You can find a professional builders which will do a drawings with costing for you. I had one for pricing but didn’t use them, they were too pricey for my budget. However, customer can feel a “business conflict” because not their architect/engineer is supervising job. They write all material and job cost. There is also entry 10% for unexpected expenses. I believe you sign a contract with them and they can’t increase price later. This is an example of quote I’ve got from one builder.

I don’t want do advertising and don’t have connection with this company and never used them so can’t say anything about their job. This is only example, there must be more business like this on the market.
In my opinion the worst move is to hire one man business who does everything. There are no people who have skills in every part of renovation and doing quality job. I hired plasterer for plastering, bricklayer for building jobs, tiler for tiling, electrician for electrics etc.

thank you

would you mind pm’ing me the guys details for future ref?

Just adding another voice to the chorus of 'your kitchen costs seem very high to me. It kind of depends on the countertop and what you want to spend on appliances but you would get a very good kitchen for half that.
Radiators and boiler costs are about right I think.
Your bathroom costs are on the high side if it’s just for the suite (i.e. excluding tiles, flooring). Don’t get me wrong, you could easily spend that amount and more if you want to, but there is no need to if you shop around. My advice - avoid the likes of Tilestyle, Ideal Bathrooms other than for inspiration (though we did get a small amount of floor tiles there at a discount/ end of line bargain price) unless you enjoy paying through the nose for everything and money is no object. If you’re only looking for plain tiles shop around. There is no need to spend a fortune on toilets and sinks for cloakroom-size bathrooms. You can get perfectly nice ones through the likes of Chadwicks (their web site isn’t great - you need to go into a branch and ask for brochures from their suppliers).
Your curtain costs look a little high for that size house but they are expensive so probably right to err on the side of caution.
I think the painting looks about right too but you could save money by painting yourself.
Your flooring costs look a trifle low to me but again, that really depends on what you’re looking for.

Don’t know enough about the rest.

Worktop is certainly a factor and the look you’re going for plays a part. Appliances - you need to research and make informed decisions. Most expensive is not always best. Hand-painted isn’t that expensive :-/

as long as the microwave is good we should be fine :blush: :laughing:

Steam oven is the way to go. You will never use a microwave again.
And 2 dishwashers (I’m serious). On the basis that you can never afford to go out again, and will spend a lot of time entertaining at home :smiley:
And 25K for a kitchen seems twice too much: one thing to remember about spending that much is that you may (read: will) want to replace it in 10/15 years.
One thing we did for all tiles and fittings was to buy outside of Dublin; we’re both from provincial towns and found stuff cheaper and the service infinitely better (and smarter). If the salesman is “invested” in the shop, it’s amazing how his margin can be squeezed.
Another tip is to look at donedeal and the likes for remaindered stuff or demo goods. Don’t be too proud to haggle and travel.

We have just bought after several years of searching, with lots of disappointments along the way. So it is great to be finally over the line with the hope that we will never ever have to go through it again.
The house is in need of cosmetic work. The largest job is the kitchen/diner. So the idea is to knock the wall between the two rooms, knock out some of the back wall for a new sliding door. We need new flooring, kitchen, painting, etc.
As this seems a fairly basic job and our budget is tight we haven’t bothered with an architect. Am I making a mistake? Just worried about the additional cost if we did.