Building vs Reno

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Posted by: from Red Deer
1/26/2013 at 9:52:14 PM

Have an older house that needs to be insulated as it still has woodchips and shiplap. Also needs siding and windows. The basement does not have a 6.5ft ceiling. All the flooring needs to be changed and the bathrooms need to be renovated.

Looking at possibly building a new house instead. Old house is 1600+ sq ft and a new one would be about 1400 with a 800sq ft loft walkout and square quite simple.

Wondering the price difference and which way is better.

We are located south of red deer on a farm.

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Date/Time1/26/2013 at 11:11:09 PM

It really depends on the state of the foundation and the age of the house and when renovations were done.

A responsible contractor should be testing the house for asbestos containing materials, lead paint and plumbing products as well as pcbs and mercury. These materials could possible increase the demo costs of the home.

A new construction would again depend on the quality of materials that are used in the home. Most of the cost would be in foundation as well as interior finishes, so if these can be salvaged the price of a new home would not be a major difference from a proper whole home reno.

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C in Red Deer
Date/Time1/26/2013 at 11:33:07 PM

Haven't started renos yet. But we are guessing at least $80000 to reno. And guessing at building is about $100 sq ft to get to paint stage for a new house. The foundation is ok in the old house just don't want to dump a bunch of money in when u could have a new house with a layout u like.

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Date/Time1/27/2013 at 2:08:36 AM

Hi C:

From hearing how Sask is booming, I don't know what the trades and suppliers prices are.

The other comment about disposal costs is a concern. Irregardless, a reno would involve disposal of these elements. When renovating, especially when the home is that old, doing the wiring and plumbing are also major concerns. In B.C. in our area, you can figure on a 2 bath home with good fixtures about $10,000 for plumbing, $12,000 for wiring (el baseboard heat) and if you want a furnace heat pump comb, about $10. Insulation for a home of that size would be around $4500 and drywall runs approx $2.00 per square foot applied. Flooring on average is $10.00 per sq foot and cabinets can run you up to $20,000.

The whole basis is whether the foundation is any good. Remember you are dealing with old vs new. no warrenty vs none, and new products vs older.

Get quotes on both, and it is probably a draw, but at least with the new, you get exactly what you want within the financial guidelines that you have.

Either way, figure on being without a house for about 5 months. Take that into consideration as well.

Good luck with your decision.


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Gaby from Amg Renovation in Hearst
Date/Time1/27/2013 at 8:20:42 AM

Yes, like everybody said here its true and very expensive at the end of the road, but for me when you have a choice of taking a 2$ or a 1$ you would take the twooney I guess? Well that's what I would say to do, why? Because no matter what you will be out of the house for reno will cost the same even if not more (Complete Reno probably will have to re frame everywhere anyway) that just the reality, and even if you chose to go with the reno because its 10 000$ less than your NEW house, well the foundation will always move and the house will cost more to heat no mather what its a old house.

No reno will replace a new house that's for sure but at the end of the day you are the one living there you know the history of the house maby its because of sentimental value you want to keep it? We dont know that. If its for the confort of a new house well hey! It's not a huge Reno that will help you with that.

Is there kids inc? teen? or they are adults now? Talk to them, a house its more of a family thing not a contractor's choice on the net. You want the house or the reno??

Personally I will say the Reno will cost more at the end of the road! Just make the choice your probably already thinking hanyway ha ha ha ha

Good luck buddy.

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Date/Time1/27/2013 at 10:18:11 AM

Great comments about disposal costs. I would say the cost of renovating will cost you at least as much as a new structure. Often older homes have 2 x 4 construction-leaving only that much space for insulation. My feeling would be to build something new-at least you are left with a structure that you can properly insulate, vapor barrier - also you will know the condition of wiring and plumbing systems throughout your home. Without seeing exactly what you have now- I still recommend building something new. The other advantage is obtaining a proper height in your basement making it a usable space.

I may also have have the integrity of your foundation tested by an engineer. Very often older foundations have high levels of sand in the mix and have deteriorated over time. A simple test you can do on your own is to scratch into your concrete with a nail or screwdriver-if you are able to remove any concrete easily then you know it is not worthy of spending your money building on it- you should know any concrete under ground is in worse shape.

Best of luck with whatever you choose.

Bruce Tiffin

Granite Wood Construction -Georgian Bay, Parry Sound, Muskoka

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Date/Time1/27/2013 at 1:28:57 PM


I went through the same delema several years ago. Other factors to consider are time and location and how much you can do your selves. In my case, we went with a house package (from Nelson Homes) and modified it to our liking when it came to colours, floor coverings and even a wall change to provide additional viewing. We did this because renovations to "the old place" just didn't make sense with new items on an old foundation.

If you can make it a fun project, you ... like a pre-fab building, can save some dollars and create your dream home. Check the foundation to see if it is useable. If it isn't, ... consider the option of a new foundation ... in the location of your choosing. Sometimes the way the building is facing isn't what you want so this may be the time to do the major overhaul.


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Date/Time1/27/2013 at 10:48:11 PM

You really need to have the existing condition of the house checked out first. That will determine how much has to be replaced. If there is nothing major wrong with the structure, reno's are always cheaper.

You can always update systems like adding foam insulation to the outside of the 2x4 walls. And as far as foundations, I just finished working on a house with a rubble stone foundation that is in perfect shape and is still perfectly level after 155 years ( I checked myself with a lazer).

New is not always better, just check out a new sub-division home. They won't be around in 150 years.

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Date/Time1/28/2013 at 11:37:04 AM

In my opinion, you're better off building new considering the original home sounds pretty old. With new you would have a solid structure to start with and then you know what you have. Where as with the original structure the integrity of the building can always come into question. With new you have no limitations as to how you can configure the floor plan, where the old structure can limit some choices.

Renovations can run around 75 to 100 per sq ft (and up depending on your selections).

New home cost are comparable.

Ben Kuypers


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