Renovation jobs - how we did everything (almost) by ourselves! - Part 1
A brand new electric system? A new, insulated ceiling? Moving radiators? We did it all by ourselves!
Now before you think "I can just imagine what a hot mess this house is now" I want to preface that:
Watching a YouTube video does not make an electrician out of you... or plumber for that matter.
My boyfriend is neither, in fact, he's an accountant. However, he's helped his relatives (electricians and builders) install the electrical system in our house in Italy. He's also consulted and made plans with them on how best to install the electrical system in our new house in Dublin.
Regarding the plumbing, moving a radiator from one wall to another is pretty straightforward: as long as you close the water in the house, drain the system and carefully join the extension pipes, it's doable. Not to mention that it would save you the hundreds of euros a plumber would ask (one of the plumbers we asked, estimated €90 / meter of pipe added O.O).
Replacing the shower tray is also doable on your own.. However, bigger jobs such as connecting a new bathroom sink, toilet etc. to the main water system would require professional help.
What I want to make clear is that professional help, in one form or another, is needed. However, a bit of resourcefulness goes a long wait to help you save money.
Not to mention, do a great job. After all, who cares more about perfectly restoring your house more than you?
You will need loads of time, at least one helper and be prepared to be uncomfortable for a bit
Unless your house is completely inhabitable (no bathroom, running water, heating..
This may mean that you might not have a kitchen or a living room for a while.. There might be holes in your bathroom floor (and you'll quickly find out how vigilant you need to be not fall through the floor when you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night)... Your only furniture might consist of a bed, an old chest of drawers and an Ikea table with two chairs..
However, just think of all the rent money you are saving and using towards the renovation works!
Also, jobs such as replacing the ceiling, pouring a new concrete floor (yes, we did that too), hauling 2x3 plasterboards on the second floor and demolishing walls (2!), require a partner in crime.
You might be able to do them on your own, but why risk a back injury or a shoddy job when you can prevent both with just a bit of help?
Lastly, estimate how much time it will take to complete a job, and then double it. Some unexpected issue will always crop up. Always.
As a starting point, what should you keep in mind when embarking on such a project?
Roll up your sleeves and don't be afraid to get dirty. A lot of jobs are easier and more straightforward than they seem.
Before you start a job, use all the resources at your disposal to find the best way to proceed and have a good idea what option suits you best
Make a plan
Don't start ajob before you know exactly what materials you'll need, where you can buy / order them, and which steps you need to follow. Do you have all the materials and tools ready? Do you know how you should proceed? Is there anything that you haven't thought of?
In the next posts I'll go more in depth regarding the renovation jobs we did and how we did them!
In the meantime, here's how our living room looked in December 2015: