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A simple guide to determining cost of reconstruction!

After any storm of great magnitude, some damage will occur. In our case, with the flood of 2010, the damage was silent, creeping, and incredibly invasive. In the aftermath, contractors will come from the corners of our country to help rebuild. Even so, pricing, finding supplies, getting honest bids can be a daunting task. This post is dedicated towards giving you, the homeowner, a pricing guideline for reconstruction. This post does get quite lengthy.

A few caveats if I may. This is a guideline only, not an actual bid. Please be aware that your home may have site conditions that could dramatically affect pricing. Also be aware that material prices are fluctuating.

This is the first step of construction, planning. This is absolutely essential for figuring out if you will have enough money to complete the project. This guideline is assuming the structure is intact, and that no changes will be made. A following post will detail out who to call, and which steps to take.

As a reminder, before going forward with reconstruction:

1. Make sure that your insurance adjuster has paid you a visit.
2. Calculate square footages in affected areas.
3. Select as much of the fit and finish as possible.
4. Develop a budget with a categorized detail for organization.
5. Make sure to pull the permit before you start work.  This is a must.

Pricing Categories:

Site Preparation: Plastic off storage area, creating barriers for living space, and installing a keypad lock, are important first steps. My favorite keypad lock can be found here. Schlage Keypad Lock Budget here should be $200-$500.

Demolition: If any remaining items need to be removed, tile changed etc, budget in between $150-1000.  $150 per man per day.

Framing Repair: Some have termite damage, or minimal framing repairs.  Budget in at least $500

HVAC: Air conditioners are most easily priced out by figuring out your tonnage.  Divide your square footage of living space by 600.  That will give you your basic tonnage.  Anywhere from $1500 per ton for easy swapouts, to $4500 a ton for complete installs should be expected.  Options or High Efficiency will be at the top. Check for tax credits on this category.

Plumbing:  Add up the number of plumbing fixtures you have e.g. a toilet.  For most, your rough plumbing should be intact.  If any fixtures need to be moved, e.g. moving a toilet, plan in $500-$700 a fixture. Just reinstalling fixture called trim out, budget in about $200 a fixture.  If you haven’t changed your water heater, expect $1200-$1500.  Remember to hire a licensed plumber.  There will need to be an inspection.

Plumbing Fixtures: Below is a basic list of plumbing fixtures with basic costs.  Select yours and plug in those prices.

  • Garage Disposals
Garbage Disposer:  1 $143
  • Guest Bathroom Bath Tub
Upper Level Bathroom Tubs:  1 $299
  • Guest Bathroom Shower Trim
1 Each $260
  • Guest Bathroom Sink
1 Each $325
  • Guest Bathroom Sink Faucet
Upper Level Powder Room Faucet:  1 $195
  • Guest Bathroom Toilet
1 Each $189
  • Kitchen Faucet
Kitchen Sink Main:  1 $325
  • Kitchen Sink
Kitchen Sink Main:  1 $325
  • Master Bath Sink Faucet
Master Bath Sink Faucet:  1 $260
  • Master Bath Sinks
Master Bath Sink(s):  1 $179
  • Master Bath Toilet
Toilets:  1 $228
  • Master Bath Tub
Master Bath Tub:  1 $910
  • Master Shower Fixtures
Master Shower Fixtures:  1 $650

Electrical: The work criteria, is whatever was below water needs to be swapped out.  Plugs, horizontal wire runs, and electrical panels.  For most homes budget in $1000.  If your panel needs replaced, budget in another $1000.  If you want to make changes to any fixtures, add at least $75 an opening if accessible, and add the cost of the fixture.

Exterior Doors: For a front door that is decent, $400 is a starting point.  Remember installation.  Front door setups can easily be $2000-$3000.  Hardware can be another $600.  For the budget conscience, $250 for both can be had at the big box stores!

Interior Doors:  If you have saved your trim work, slab doors (just the door) can be had for $20 on the low end for hollow core, to $150 for wood doors.  If your casings are missing, buying a pre-hung door (a door hung on a jamb with trim) can start at $60 and go to $250.  If your trim is gone, go the prehung way, unless of course have an older home and need to match doors up.  That is a different discussion altogether.

Fireplace Insert: If you have a fireplace insert, it must be changed.  Gas logs as well.  Budget in around$1000 for a replacement insert and logs with installation.  A surround (the hearth and granite sides) budget in at least $350.  Mantle, same thing, at least $350.  Remember, if you want custom, it can go up dramatically.

Insulation: For Fiberglass batt, add your linear ft of exterior wall.  If you need 4 ft replaced, multiply by $2.20. If you have to replace 8 ft, multiply by  $4.40. If you have extra budget, consider spray foam insulation, you will probably have to multiply your fiberglass estimate by 4, but it would be worth your money.  As far as crawl space re insulation, between the new plastic vapor barrier and insulation, plan at least $3.00 a square foot of your houses footprint. My suggestion, look into foaming the perimeter instead of fiberglassing the floor.  Especially with ductwork in the crawlspace, your will be rewarded in the future.  Remember, usually it is usually the same cost  to hire a professional  to insulate with fiberglass as purchasing the material yourself and installing.

Drywall: Drywall is priced usually by the board.  A board is either 4 X 8, or 4 X 12.  The price includes material, hanging, and finishing. Add up the linear ft of walls that need new drywall.  Plan on either replacing at the 4 ft mark, or the 8 ft mark.  Plan extra if you had plaster for furring out the walls.  Take that linear foot of wall and if access is easy, divide by 12.  If access is difficult, divide by 8.  That will give you the number of boards of drywall.  Then multiply that by $50-$60 if there are only a few boards.  If there is a substantial amount, or if you team up with your neighbors, multiply by $30-$40.

Interior Detail and Trim:  For basic homes, take that linear ft of wall that needs drywall, and multiply by at least $3 for the trim material and labor.  If you have specialty trim, multiply the linear ft by $4-$5. If doors need hung, closet shelves put in, consider adding at least $1500 to have a trim carpenter in your home for a week or two.  Don’t forget closets components, stairs, etc.

Painting: Most exteriors will survive paint wise, but most interiors will need completely repainted.  Multiply your home footprint by anywhere from $2.50-$3.50. If you have higher ceilings, wallpaper that needs removed, or wood paneling, add another dollar per square ft.

Tub and Shower Surround:  Most standard tubs can have a surround tiled with material for $1000.  Most full tiled showers can be done for $3000.  This will mean picking an inexpensive tile, and being minimal on the extras.  If you want a mosaic, or intricate custom scenario, double that amount.

Flooring:  Add up the floor space square footage for each particular area.  Carpet, Budget $1.50 to $5.50 a square ft.  I know big margin, but big difference in choice of carpet.  Hardwoods, $6 to $8 a square ft. Vinyl, $2 to $3 a square ft.  Tile, $7 to $12 a square ft.

Cabinetry: Here is another big one, and one hard to budget for.  Add the linear ft of cabinets you need to have replaced.  This can include bathroom vanities.  On the semi-custom lower end, multiply the linear ft by $230.  This should include installation.  For a step up, add another $100 a linear ft.  Keep going if you want something nicer.  $700-$800 a linear ft for great custom cabinets isn’t unheard of. If your budget dictates, perhaps getting build yourself from a big box store, or purchasing a used set from Habitat Home Store will help.  There are cheap options out there, but start your budget with what I listed, and go from there.

Counter tops: Measure the square footage space for your countertops.  If you have 10 linear ft of cabinets, multiply by 2.  Add square footage of backsplash.  Sink cutouts for undermounts are $200 and don’t forget the cutout for a drop in stove if you have one $150.  Budget $10-$20 a square ft for cheap laminates, to $45-$65 for granites and solid surface countertops.

Misc: Budget in for appliances, for bathroom accessories/mirrors, and for lighting fixture changes. Budget in for cleanup, and waste management.  A dumpster can cost $400 for a 30yd.  Most projects like this will take 1-2 dumpsters.

Remember, this is a budget.  It helps set expectations, and helps you prioritize.  Invest on things that are hard to change in the future, and don’t get caught in the indecision world.  Pick everything out before hand, and relax while the project proceeds.  Its helpful once you have your budget to check with major subs on your project to check costs.  Management may add up to $20 percent to this number.  If you have the time to manage, with the proper steps it can save you money.  If you don’t know what a hammer looks like, consider hiring a general contractor.

Also, stay tuned to a post on a step by step chronology to run your project.



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2 Responses to A simple guide to determining cost of reconstruction!

  1. Paul Mikos May 23, 2010 at 10:04 AM #

    This is GREAT information Chris. Very helpful. Thank you!

  2. Gail Hyatt July 21, 2010 at 3:57 PM #

    This is wonderful, Chris. I really wish we’d had this information five years ago. Keep it coming.

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