Rehab #8, Wenham – Demo Update

We closed on Rehab #8, Wenham on September 11th and had our demo crew lined up to get right in.  They spent about 3 days demo’ing the house and after all was complete my partner called me with some bad news.  Remember, my partner and my father take care of the project management for our deals so other than to check on progress, assist with answering contractor questions or inspect workmanship; I don’t really check up on the houses daily.

Apparently, the whole second floor roof was framed with 2×4’s.  That’s not good.  The ceiling joists in this house should be framed with a minimum of 2×8 lumber to properly account for the span, support the roof and, more importantly, the snow load in the winter.  How the roof didn’t collapse in past snow storms is beyond me!  Especially considering that the roof doesn’t have much of a pitch (it’s close to being a flat roof) which allows for a lot of snow accumulation.  We obviously have to fix this issue but the question is which option makes the most sense?  Taking into account that the house already has 4 separate roof pitches and low ceiling height on the second floor, along with our plan to build an addition on the second floor, we decided that the best course of action was to rip the whole roof off and rebuild it from scratch.  While this will be a significant expense that we didn’t budget for, the roof is going to be built properly and the roofline will look much better because it will go from a single pitch (front to back) roof to a gable roof.  Also, we are going to cathedral the ceiling on the second floor which will add more head room and a lot of value to the house.  I know some people have the misconception that cathedral ceilings are more expensive than a flat ceiling but this is quite the contrary.  Cathedral ceilings require less work and lumber to build because there is no need for ceiling joists.  But in order to do this level of work, we had to hire an architect to provide stamped blueprints for the building department and our contractor.

If that wasn’t enough, the back room, which was sitting on dirt instead of a foundation, was completely rotted.  So the whole room will have to be reframed.  It will be up to the inspector whether he wants a full foundation under the room or if footings will suffice.  Another additional expense!

Lastly, we discussed ideas for increasing curb appeal.  Instead of having the awkward looking porch in the front we are leaning toward adding a farmers porch to make the house look more uniform.  While this would add some additional cost to what we had budgeted for a front deck, we think the added value will offset the additional cost.

All in all, we are going to be over budget in many areas of this rehab, however, we should still be within our 10% contingency factor that we included within the total rehab budget.  Contingency factors are key when creating a rehab budget.  You never know what you’ll find when you start the demo, especially in older houses where building codes weren’t as strict and the age of the house allows for significant rot and mold to form.

The architect provided plans for the roof, elevation and framing for the second floor on Tuesday and my contractor was already in there Wednesday morning tearing down a portion of the first floor ceiling where the second floor addition is going up.  The inspector is going out to the property today so we’ll see if he is comfortable with our plan and we’re hoping he doesn’t find any more issues.

Here are the plans that our architect sketched up for us.


And here are the demo pictures:


I’ll have an update once I hear what the inspector had to say…

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