5 Structural Parts of a Major Home Remodel and What They Cost

We have all seen the home improvement shows where a couple or group buys a home that is in really bad shape, and attempts to remodel and repair it for a lower cost than what they can sell it for. They do this over and over, sometimes successfully, usually with some stress.

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Often they run into structural issues with the home, ones that may not have been spotted during an inspection (if they did a thorough one). Here are some structural issues you can run into during a major remodel and what they cost.

The Foundation

If you inherit or purchase a home that has foundation problems, this can often add a major expense to any home remodel project.

The problem is, foundation problems run from simple cracks to support issues that will require either slabjacking or piering to restore the foundation to its original position and condition.

The average homeowner will spend just under $4,000 for a foundation repair, but they can range from $500 to fix a simple crack to upwards of $10,000 for piering.

To make sure you are doing what actually needs to be done and not something extra, hire a structural engineer to give you an estimate. Usually they will give you an unbiased structural report, as they don’t have a vested interest in selling you anything. While most contractors are honest, it is never a bad idea to be cautious.

The Sub-Floor

From time to time, you will see contractors pull up flooring, especially in kitchens and bathrooms, to find that the sub-floor is damaged, often by water. This may have come from unknown leaks, and been an issue for years. A rotting subfloor can not only be dangerous, but it can be costly.

The cost of repairing a subfloor really depends on how extensive the damage is, and what the materials will cost to replace it. You can get a general idea using an estimate calculator and entering your zip code. Generally, the repair will cost you between $37 and $60 per square foot. So, in a bathroom that is 120 square feet, the cost would be between $1,300 and $3,200.

Keep in mind that these estimates and calculators are very general. Your job may be either simpler or more complex, and the cost can vary significantly. Get a few different estimates if you need this kind of work, along with references from the contractor.

Walls and Beams

If you have damage to walls and support beams, the cost for repairs can vary depending on the type of damage, the materials your walls are made of, and whether the structural part of the wall is still intact.

The most common type of structural damage is to exterior walls that have experienced moisture leaks from clogged gutters or a faulty roof, or the ever-common walls adjacent to bathrooms or kitchens that plumbing and pipes run through.

Of course, there is also standard damage, like chips in plaster or holes in drywall. An average wall repair will cost a homeowner around $650, but structural damage can be a couple thousand to repair, while minor chips and holes can be fixed for a couple of hundred bucks.

Some of these repairs you can learn to do yourself, like simple drywall and plaster patching. Then these repairs can be done with some simple materials from a hardware store at a fraction of the cost of hiring a contractor.

Windows

One of the other more common home remodeling projects is replacing older windows. Many homes were constructed with older and less expensive single-pane windows. These are extremely inefficient and let a lot of heat out in the winter and cooling out in the summer.

This not only increases the cost of utilities, but it also can shorten the life of HVAC systems that have to work harder to keep temperatures comfortable.

Replacing them with double pane and more efficient windows is much better in the long run, but can be expensive depending on how many windows you need to replace, and whether they are standard sizes or need to be specially cut. The condition of your window frames can also contribute to the overall cost of the project as well.

There are a number of claims about windows paying for themselves, but most of them are exaggerated by people who want to sell you windows. Let’s say you have 20 single pane windows in your home, and they all need to be replaced and the frames are in rough shape. The project will cost you somewhere around $15,000.

Of course, you can save money if you replace windows yourself, if you have the skills to do so. Also, you can figure your costs if you have fewer windows to replace. Still, it will take years to recoup energy costs by strict calculations. However, if you figure in the life of HVAC systems, and the environmental benefits of more efficient windows, the cost can be justified.

Just understand this is an investment. It may make your home more attractive to buyers when you want to sell. But window replacements will not pay for themselves.

The Roof

One of the potentially most costly home improvement projects is home roof replacement, although it may offer the most immediate and tangible benefit, and is something buyers look at almost first thing.

There is a wide range of bids you will get for a roof replacement, depending on a number of factors.

  • Where you Live: The cost for roofing will vary by location.
  • What Materials You Choose: There are a number of choices when it comes to roofing, and depending on the quality and type of material you choose, your estimate can vary greatly.
  • The Quality of the Contractor: Low estimates may come from contractors desperate for work or that work in volume on razor thin margins. High estimates can be for better quality work or contractors that are just busier. Get references and compare carefully.

Roof replacements can run anywhere from under $10,000 to well over $30,000. This is a project you may have to finance, so evaluate your costs early and determine what you really need, and be sure to stay in budget.

Often, home remodeling involves a great deal of investment, especially if you have structural issues or need major repairs. Be sure to evaluate your options carefully, and you will save time, money, and headaches later.

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