Home & Garden

Renovating the whole main floor

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 20th, 2019 8:52 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 8, 2019
10 posts
2 upvotes

Renovating the whole main floor

Hi everyone,

After getting a few quotes from contractors ranging from $180-220k to redo our whole main floor. We have decided to be our own GC and coordinate all the skilled trades to save money. We’re hoping to complete the project for around $120-150k (not including furniture). I’m hoping for $120k but expecting worst case for $150k.

It’s a 35 yo house in west end Toronto. We bought the house from family so we are the second owner ever and know the house was well maintained. Plumbing and electrical work have always been done by licensed people.

We have already updated the second floor. We were the GC on that project as well and made a few costly mistakes. Installed flooring before installing crown moulding, scraping the popcorn ceiling and add about 50 pot lights. That caused some irreparable damagaes to our floor but luckily it’s in areas where it can be covered with an area rug. :’(. But it still hurts cuz I know the damages are there. We’ll replace the floor again in a few years when the kids are older.

We gutted two full bathrooms. And painted the whole floor and new interior doors. We spent about $80k cuz we didn’t skim on the materials. We’ve changed our wood railings to iron pickets cuz existing railing was low and not up to code. New baseboards and door and window trims. And lots of little updates (ie assembled Ikea pax system for walk-in and reach in closets).

Now for the main floor, here’s the scope of work:

- remove two load bearing walls. One wall is separating family room and kitchen. The other wall is separating dining room and kitchen. We want flush mount so must install steel beam and a new post in basement. Budgeting $20,000.
- drawings by engineer for permit. Budgeting $2500.
- permit fees (building, electrical, plumbing and hvac) Budgeting $1,000
- Demoing the floor ($1/sqf so $1100 plus disposal fee). Was quoted $1500
- breaking down the fireplace brick surround (11x8 wall). Was quoted $500 including disposal fee.
- new custom kitchen. The kitchen is going from a u-shape to an L-shape with island (11x11 kitchen). $20000 for cabinets. Waiting for estimates from a few places.
- budgeting $8000 for quartz countertops and full backsplash.
- new laundry room storage cabinets (8 x 8 laundry room) Budgeting $5000. Waiting for estimates from a few places
- budgeting $3000 for quartz countertops in laundry room
- new flooring throughout. Tiles in kitchen, powder room, laundry room and foyer. Hardwood in living room, dining room, family room and hallway.
- 300 sqf for tiles ($12 to install and $10 for material). Budgeting $6600
- 800 sqf for hardwood ($3 to install and $8 for material). Budgeting $8800
- new fireplace surround and fireplace. Budgeting $7000
- moving one vent in one of the load bearing walls. Budgeting $2000
- putting in about 40-50 pot lights. Our neighbour is a certified electrician and he did our 2nd floor for $2000 labour only. So we’re budgeting $5000 for this project.
- baseboards, crown mouldings, door trims, 3 new interior doors. Budgeting $10000
- drywall, taping, mudding, framing. Budgeting $10000
- $15000 for appliances (new counter depth fridge, dishwasher, built in microwave below island, beverage fridge below island, ventilation, gas range). Keeping existing washer and dryer. Already priced these out.
- keeping all appliances in place so no plumbing requirement (we hope)!
- built in canbinets beside fireplace. Budgeting $2000.

So if all goes as planned as above, well be at $120k. But We’ve been down this path before and know costs have a way of sneaking up on us and time somehow finds a way to escape us. So adding $30k (25% contingency fund). Timeframe is 3 months. We’ll be leaving with family during this time.

Yes, we can move but we love the location and the history of the house. And knowing we did everything properly without cutting corners.

Your advice, comments, personal experiences, recommendations and constructive criticism are welcome.

Hopefully we’ll survive the next few months.
21 replies
Newbie
Feb 5, 2019
8 posts
1 upvote
Budget is just about spot on and I'm happy to see clients have budgeted for unplanned expenses. I've had clients who I've asked for additional funding to account for certain expenses due to, say, replace old wiring to bring it up to code or make it safer, but have spent every dime on getting the nicest fixture in the store instead.

Remember to post pictures of before and after the renovation. I'm sure it'll look amazing after all is said and done.
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 8, 2019
10 posts
2 upvotes
Thanks!

Yes I will post before pics as soon as we clear out the main floor.

Do you have any suggestions for my order of work?

1) hired engineer for drawings. Waiting for permit. While waiting for permit, we are interviewing load bearing removal people. We have also been doing leg work such as visiting a few kitchen cabinet places getting estimates, shopping around to get ideas for tiles, hardwood floor, quartz, sinks, and faucets.

2) once permit is approved, we’ll carefully remove existing kitchen cabinet to donate to habitat of humanity. They said our kitchen is too small to qualify for the “free” service to disassemble our kitchen but they will arrange for “free” pick up if we remove the cabinets ourself.

3) bring in demo people to remove existing flooring, fireplace brick surround and take down non load bearing walls.

4) with the flooring removed, bring in load bearing guys to start the work.

5) once the walls are opened, bring in hvac, plumber and electrician as needed. Get electrician to put in potlights throughout the main floor. Get plumber to rough in for a dishwasher in island as we want to move it from beside the sink to the island. We need to do this to free up wall space for a wider counter depth fridge.

6) once inspection passed, hire framer/drywaller to close up walls.

7) prime walls.

8) install new flooring. Tile first then hardwood? Or the other way around?

9) install kitchen and laundry cabinets, powder room vanity

10) get countertop guys to come out and get template of kitchen and laundry cabinets and vanity. Then install countertops.

11) install new tile surround and gas fireplace. Forgot to mention existing wood burning fireplace will be converted to gas.

12) paint

13) install lighting fixtures and other finishes.

Does this sound about right?
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
1533 posts
787 upvotes
Toronto
Why are the 'load bearing removal' people who are going to do your framing not coordinating with the engineer directly? You may find your engineer has ideas that the framer doesn't agree with or understand.

If you've found people who specialize in structural re-work (i.e. temp walls/support, removing old walls, installing beams...) then chances are they have engineers in their back pockets. It might be cheaper to have that work done by a single team.

I don't see any mention of windows in this reno. How old are they? You don't want to do a full window replacement 5 years from now after all this demo. Do it at the same time.

Also no mention of insulation improvements? I'm used to my 110 year old house which needs all the help it can get. But in 35 years there have been significant improvements in insulation and windows. Are the exterior walls 2x6 framing? If 2x4 you might have to fir them out to bring them up to code for R value (I'm no expert on this so I don't know if opening the walls means you have to bring the framing/insulation up to code).

I'd tile first - hardwood is easier to work with on the transition between the floor materials. And if it's open-concept, you might stretch the tile area out 6" to avoid a silly looking partial tile or something (put the cuts under the cabinets of course).

Chances are to bring it up to code electrically, you'll need new circuit runs from the kitchen to the panel. Plan for that - you might need to open up sections of the main floor (which you're ripping up anyhow) to run the new wiring.

Also - plan for subfloor upgrades and joist-blocking. You'll want to get rid of any plank subfloor, block the floor joists properly, run your electrical as needed and then glue/screw fresh 3/4" plywood down before doing the tile and hardwood. Depending on the tile material and joist deflection, you'll need to beef up beyond 3/4" plywood so there may be transition issues to consider.

Maybe leave the plank subfloor in place outside the tile area, put 3/4" on top of it and then 2 layers of plywood in the tile area directly on joists. Tile needs much more subfloor strength than hardwood.

For cabinetry make sure to get a quote from Merlo Woodworking. I had them do my cabinets a while ago and they are awesome. Get plywood cabinets for sure, go to the ceiling with them.
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
1533 posts
787 upvotes
Toronto
Oh - and your framer needs to do their work before any electrical or HVAC work is done.

I'd have whoever is going to do the framing to get rid of / frame new support for the structural changes to do all the framing you need to have done. Blocking the floor joists, putting in any new walls / closet spaces / framing the kitchen area / framing around plumbing stacks etc.

Your framing needs to be permitted and inspected as well - again, something the framing company can coordinate on.
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 8, 2019
10 posts
2 upvotes
Hi torontotim!!!

Thanks for your post. I was hoping you would chime in after reading about your home reno experience on here and Houzz.

The engineer we hired was a referral from our “load bearing wall removal” people. We will be interviewing a few more people before hiring anyone.

Our windows are only 12 years old and in great shape so we are not planning to replace them now. The heating and cooling system in our home is quite efficient. Nice and toasty in the winter and cool in the summer. No drafts near windows and doors.

The exterior walls are 2x6 framing. We are not tearing down the perimeter walls. Just two load bearing walls and two non load bearing walls (all interior walls). So no insulation improvement required.

Why would the tiles be stretched out by 6” if we’re hiding the cuts under the cabinets? We’re planning to lay down 24x24” or 16x32 tiles.

I’ve put a leveler on the floor and the floor is leveled. Does this mean there’s no joist defection? If this is the case, do we need an extra layer of plywood as suggested? Current tiles are 12x12. Do we need to beef up the subfloor because we want larger tiles?

I didn’t mention but we planned to sister the joists below the new island for extra support. Engineer said it’s not required but we want to be extra careful and safe. If we are sistering the joists, do we still need “joist blocking?”

After reading your and badass’ home reno threads, we did meet with Chris from merlo woodworking last week. His estimate came in today and sadly it’s a few thousands above our budget. Of course we will negotiate with Chris if we decide to go with them.

After seeing how many times you have recommended merlo on this forum, I thought you and Chris are the same person.

Im just kidding. I read that you went with ikea for your cottage kitchen so I know you’re not affiliated with Chris.

Based on your kitchen size and cost, I was surprised how much my estimate came in. My kitchen will be 11x11 L-shape with a 5x3 island. I guess the difference is 8 years of inflation.

Lastly, is the permit for the framing the same one as the wall removal being submitted by the engineer? I’m getting the final drawings tomorrow so I will post some pics.
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
1533 posts
787 upvotes
Toronto
My poorly-made point about the tile was that if you find you need to extend the tiled area a few inches to finish with a full tile or nice-looking cut, it's easier to do it before you put the hardwood in. But of course if the hardwood / tile meeting point is at the entry to the kitchen, then the tiler would start at that point with full tiles and work towards the walls where there will be cabinets so any partial tiles are under the base cabinets.

Ignore that point :)

Blocking the joists just stiffens up the whole floor. It's not so much about extra load bearing but rather a more solid 'feel' and more importantly to keep joists from twisting/warping over time. Chances are they are already blocked.

My cottage cabinets actually came from Home Depot. Merlo and other 'custom' places were a good bit higher, and we found a door style and color we liked at the big-box stores. We didn't order many cabinets so the percentage-based upcharge for plywood wasn't as drastic a charge. I installed them myself as well - the cabin was too remote for most installers.

You can find joist deflection calculators online. At 35 years old I'm sure you're fine for whatever tile you put down. Use a decoupler like Ditra. My 1910 house has 15 foot long 2x8 joists supporting the 2nd floor, 16 inches on center. Anyone would tell you not to install marble tile on that.

But, I put down 3/4" plywood, then a layer of 9-ply 3/8" Russian birch plywood specially designed as a tile underlay. Then thinset/heated floor cables, Ditra and the 12x12 marble tile. 10 years later not a problem and I have laundry spinning in the next room, on the same joists.

So - take any calculations with a grain of salt. Porcelain and stone are less forgiving than ceramic.

Good luck with the project. I'm no expert but have done a lot of hardwood installations in the three places I've owned (about 4000 sq ft I guess) and hired many trades to do work, watching and learning as I've gone. Happy to chime in with thoughts.

Oh - make sure you plumb a proper water shutoff to the fridge spot (don't run a flexible line from the sink to the fridge), and set the stove area up for both electric and natural gas, so you or the next owner can choose.
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2004
29836 posts
4625 upvotes
East Gwillimbury
Have you considered wiring the house with ethernet? Home Automation switches?
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 8, 2019
10 posts
2 upvotes
Thanks for your suggestion Gee. We’re not tech savvy people so we didn’t consider them. We’ll look into them and see if they fit with our lifestyle.
Deal Addict
Oct 14, 2004
1341 posts
328 upvotes
Toronto
Keep in mind you will need power from below for the island so you will probably be opening the ceiling below the kitchen.
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 8, 2019
10 posts
2 upvotes
We’ll be opening the ceiling below the kitchen to sister some joists so we’ll be wiring power for the island before closing up the ceiling. Thanks!
Deal Addict
Oct 14, 2004
1341 posts
328 upvotes
Toronto
Diynewbie wrote:
Feb 12th, 2019 8:37 pm
We’ll be opening the ceiling below the kitchen to sister some joists so we’ll be wiring power for the island before closing up the ceiling. Thanks!
Sistering those joists will likely be difficult. My guess is that you will have existing HVAC, venting and electrical running through/across those joists. Have you been able to check this? This may be a lot more difficult than you think...I had to do one for my reno, and I was gutting the entire house and it was a pain fitting in the bathroom above.
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 8, 2019
10 posts
2 upvotes
We haven’t opened any walls or ceiling yet so we don’t know if there are vents, hvac and electrical where we want to sister the joists. Basically we don’t need to as per engineer but we want to be extra careful. So we’ll talk to our load bearing removal people again to see what they suggest to strengthen our floor. Sorry if I’m not using the correct terms or industry lingo.
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 8, 2019
10 posts
2 upvotes
These are the engineer’s drawings. I added the blue lines. So here’s my new dilemma after speaking with kitchen cabinets people. To the left of the sink, we have a 24” dishwasher. The maximum size of the fridge can only be 33”. Our existing fridge is 33” and it’s good for our family. However the new fridge will be counter depth so we’ll have less space. We would like a 36” counter depth fridge to give us the same amount of space but that will mean a smaller dishwasher. We are considering moving the dishwasher to the island but I’m now afraid of the plumbing involved to move the dishwasher to the island.

Suggestions please!!!!!
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Newbie
User avatar
Oct 30, 2014
31 posts
Toronto, ON
Plumbing costs should be way less than new expensive 36" fridges (I am thinking of drain, vent and supply)
If you decide to move dishwasher into an island, I would consider a small sink there as well, now that you will have plumbing available.

For me a 36" or larger fridge space is a must as useful cu ft capacity of fridges seems to be shrinking these days.

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