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knock down or rebuild for home that is not too old

george brisbane

Hi. I Just wanted a bit of advice on  dillema for us. Our 2 storey our family is currently 15 years old. and in reasonably good condition, but unfortunatley there are no bedrooms or showers dowstairs (they are all upstairs). 

We built the home back in 2005 for 210k (all paid off).  We love the area and were thinking to rebuild  again (this time with bedrooms and showers downstairs plus some other things we would do differently). FYI, the current house can not accomodate a bedroom or shower downstairs (we discussed with renovator/builders and there are too many challenges involving space, plumbing, and big structural changes etc... 

If hypothetically, we proceeded with the demolition, we would probably do it when the home reached at least 21 years old ( Maybe 22 years old).  

But in the back of my mind... that house age seems too early and that "bugs me a bit" . 

I guess we are thinking about demolishing  mainly because. 

1) the original home was a cheap spec home. 

2) When it gets to 21 or 22 years old, the baths and showers will need a full reno anyway. outside render will need. paint job as well so...  say about $50k in reno in about 5 years time. 

3) we have an opprtunity to build an arhictecturally designed home the way we want, with bedrooms downstairs this time!

I know this is very subjective.... but again... the thing that bothers me is knocking a 21 year old home down (even tgougg it was built reasonably cheap in 2005). 

Appreciate the advice

 
Nov 22, 20 1:35 pm
SneakyPete

Salvage and divert as much as you can away from the landfill. This will cost money. Do it right and you'll have peace of mind. 



Nov 22, 20 2:54 pm  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

I drive an $20k 11 year old car and it still has quite a few years left before I will consider a replacement.  I can't imagine doing the same with a house.  Also important, we purchased a mid 1960s brick bungalow which will certainly outlast whatever new "architecturally" designed home some random wanker contractor would toss together for you.

Nov 22, 20 3:14 pm  · 
1  · 
apscoradiales

Ours was a subdivision, brick bungalow built in late '60's.

 · 
apscoradiales

"...random wanker contractor...", you don't say?!

 · 
apscoradiales

As I was going to say, ours was built in 1968 by a developer in south ajax. one roof vent, no soffit vents, plumbing lines along the bottom wood plate - uninsulated so they froze all the time, one electrical circuit for all the receptacles upstairs, one circuit for all the lights, 3/8" plywood subfloor, same up on the roof, 2" batt insulation on SOME exterior walls, some had no insulation.

total fuck-up! gutted it, and renovated everything.

 · 
Non Sequitur

Ajax was a place back then? Ooooph, I can't imagine what that was before the GTA explosion. Our mid 60s hood is one of the first suburbs of Ottawa and built by an excellent and well sough-after developer. The area is now well within the extended urban boundaries and housing stock rarely ever goes to market so it carries a heavy premium... esp if it's still single family and not a duplex conversion. But, to your points, I would say the average mass-produced suburban homeowner does not care about the R value of their walls and other performance details. Can't show that off to the neighbours like you can with a polished granite countertop!

 · 
Volunteer

Why can't you add an addition on the ground floor with bedrooms and a bathroom? 

Nov 22, 20 3:47 pm  · 
 · 
x-jla

why not sell it and buy a new lot?



Nov 22, 20 3:58 pm  · 
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george brisbane

we klreallyblike the area and close to my work

 · 
apscoradiales

george brisbane ,

If you can afford, build new. That way you will get exactly what you want or need.

If you cannot, then renovate. But, be careful how much money you spend. One day you may be selling the house, and if it's too good for the neighbourhood, and you hit the downside of the market, you will not get your money back.

I renovated mine, then sold as we decided to move. Never got all the money back we spent.

I like the idea of all the bedrooms on the ground floor - no need for lifts or stairs when you're old and are in a wheelchair.

Nov 22, 20 4:13 pm  · 
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archi_dude

This doesnt sound like someone who is any good with their money

 · 
apscoradiales

Yeah, I needed you to tell me.

1  · 
george brisbane

hi. 


The house is currently in s very good area. And one of the reasons we think it may be worth it. Renovating downstairs for bedrooms and shower will not work. Reasons there is no space in the house amd no space on the side of the house. The plumbing falls for drainage are on a slope that apprarently would not permit a bath or shower to be too far from the sewer mains. 




We paid originally $210k and assuming we demolished when the home was 20years old (just under half its design life).... do you think the rationale is that we already "used up".. $210k - $100k. With about $110k value left in the home?... But that leftover "value" needs to be considered against the cost of very significant Renos (if we wete to stay) ... hence the reason we think the knockdown may be better? 

Nov 22, 20 6:41 pm  · 
 · 

The plumbing falls should not be a problem if there is already a downstairs toilet.  The contractor may be telling you a story to secure more work.  If in the case the bathroom floor is indeed too low you can ad a step up to the bathroom to accommodate the drain lines. Like a doctor giving you a questionable diagnosis I would seek out a second opinion as I have never found a situation where a single family home can not add bathrooms or bathroom fixtures.  It might be the case that underused rooms on the first floor get relocated or changed to something useful like a bedroom and bathroom so when you are older you don't have to climb stairs daily.

Get another opinion, maybe from a plumber not associated with the  builder who wants to tear it all down.

Over and OUT

Peter N

Nov 23, 20 8:00 am  · 
 · 
bowling_ball

Good advice. Even as an architect looking to secure a large renovation at my own house, and even with full disclosure about my profession, I still get these contractors trying to upsell me on everything (ie, you need a new furnace even though it's new and we're not adding square footage).

 · 
Volunteer

I still don't see why they couldn't add a mostly stand alone addition at the rear of the house (if there is no room at the sides) and connect it to the main house with a enclosed glassed in passageway.

 · 
tintt

There are also plumbing lifts when the house plumbing is below the main. Nothing to brag to the neighbors about like granite, but possible.

1  · 
apscoradiales

Volunteer,

maybe that would exceed maximum permissible lot coverage?

Nov 23, 20 9:45 am  · 
 · 
Volunteer

The OP should check with the city's civil engineer. They might have grandfather clause for existing buildings. The CE would be able to give a definitive answer on the drainage problems as well.

 · 
Almosthip

Find a house in  the neighbourhood that meets your needs.

Nov 23, 20 11:33 am  · 
 · 
bowling_ball

Yes, this. This is likely the only reasonably option, it'll just take the OP another two years to figure that out, assuming an addition isn't permitted.

 · 
proto

seems like OP needs a local architect to help figure this out

Nov 23, 20 4:47 pm  · 
 · 
Wood Guy

George, on several occasions I've designed "renovations" that were really tear-downs to the first floor deck, with a new house designed from there up. These houses were all much older than yours, but it's still a potentially viable approach. I just talked with a guy in Boise who said he paid $150K for his house and it's now worth $400K so he can't afford to move; I imagine your situation is similar. It's a shame to waste all of the money and embodied carbon, but if you have to, at least work with your existing foundation--your wallet and the planet will thank you (though they'll still be pissed).


Nov 23, 20 6:14 pm  · 
1  · 
whistler

I have done a lot of renovations and it can be clean and precise or death by a thousand cuts.  "Kinda" of renovating where you touch every side of a house is trouble from the start as the challenge is to determine where and when do you stop the renovation and start building new.  It's also very frustrating going backward first before moving forward in a meaningful and progressive manner.  At least a new build affords you the knowledge that it's moving in the right direction from the start, less the whole sustainability / green building argument. 

Nov 23, 20 8:14 pm  · 
1  · 
george brisbane

all great pieces of advice. Thank you to all. I thibk i need to do a bit more thinking and maths to see which is viable. I see valid points in everones commentss. so thank you for the insights. 

Nov 24, 20 1:55 am  · 
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randomised

Put all your books on an e-reader and skip your library, only order take-away and get rid of the kitchen, learn to ride a bicycle and sell the car and convert the garage and obviously kick out the kids when they’re 18 and you’ll have all the space you need and then some...

Nov 24, 20 2:11 am  · 
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