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Rewiring house

We're purchasing a 3,800 square foot (4,200 with unfinished basement) 112 year old house with 2 floors and an unfinished basement, 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms that needs to be completely rewired as there are only 70 amps at this time with knob and tube wiring throughout. The house is tudor style with a wooden frame and plaster walls. We were given an estimate of $40,000-$50,000 for basic rewiring only without any recessed lighting or any other major fixtures, just outlets and switches. The electrician said it would probably take a month to do. I've tried to find information on expected costs but am having trouble and his numbers seem much higher than anything else on the internet. Does he sound way overpriced or could that be within range? We would be working through a general contractor. Thanks so much.

Re: Rewiring house

Tough one to answer since this is sight unseen and the information given is somewhat generic.

If this is simply changing the service panel along with new wire run along with additional circuits to bring everything up to code then it does sound to be on the high side of cost and time. A two man crew should be able to perform a routine rewire in about half the time with approximately half the cost of what was quoted.

However, given the higher price and the longer time frame also the mention of a general contractor seems to indicate there's more to this.

I'm suspecting the outside mast and meter box will also need replacing.
What's unknown is the service drop to the house --- does it need to be upgraded and how is it run ?
For example --- your existing service might only accommodate 100 amps but if you are installing a 200 amp service in the home changes will have to be made outside.
How far away is the feed from the utility --- does it have to be buried --- etc. all play a part in the cost and time.

Other factors come into play for the interior.

If the existing K&T wiring is being removed will also impact time and cost.

With rewiring there will be access holes cut into the walls and ceilings that will need to be repaired --- perhaps a subcontractor will be involved to do this part.

Keep in mind they are not only rewiring to the existing switches , receptacles , and lighting locations but they will be required to add extra circuits , receptacles and possibly 3 way switched lighting to bring your house up to current code.

With the mention of a general contractor --- if there is other work being done in the home this may impact the times the electrical can be worked on.

Just a thought. :)

Re: Rewiring house

Re: rewiring house

First off most houses that age are balloon frame, which means the exterior walls extend from basement to roof, which in turns saves on labor cost of fishing electrical through. your quote sounds way out of line, even with repairs to plaster and such, this qoute should be more like 9-12 grand with new service. call around and more quotes, being in this economy most guys will work for a reduced rate to stay busy, one more thing they will be tearing out the old wire and taking it back to scrap yard for even more money in their pocket.

Re: Rewiring house

There are to many unknowns to answer your question, many of which Canuk has pointed out. Another is location, for instance Boston, from what I've seen, will be about twice as much as Columbus Ohio. Although the house is balloon construction the walls may be filled with brick or have multiple fire breaks both of which adds significantly to labor costs. The old boxes may have to be replaced because they are undersized or missing, a lot of new outlets may have to be added to meet current code. Add to that the additional costs involved in adding CFI and AFI required components. Plaster and lath repair can be significantly more than drywall patching if it is done right.

I would suggest you get a more detailed estimate and perhaps seek more than one.

Timothy Miller
Re: Rewiring house

Howdy, having rewired my grand old home (i am not an electrician) it is about half as large as yours. It took me months. The materials were about $1500. You will need to replace the Service meter to a t least a 200 amp plug. and at least a 40 breaker panel maybe need a 400 amp service as this is a big house.
First obtain at least 3 other bids. request itemized bids. Then you will have an idea what the costs will be.

Re: Rewiring house

Most contractors charge by the square foot. Up here in the Northeast where I live, the current going rate is about $4.50/sq-ft, but this figure can vary depending on the contractor (ie. QUALITY!) and any special circumstances that may arise such as how the service will enter the structure.

This price will meet BASIC local and 2008 NEC Code requirements and will usually NOT include teledata, ceiling fans, dimmer switches, can lighting, etc. All of which will GREATLY increase the price. I do not know what the going rate is in your neck of the woods, but if you do the math (including the unfinished basement, which will also need circuits run to and through it) at the $4.50/sq-ft price, that would come out to $18,900. The price that contractor quoted you is 2-2.6 TIMES HIGHER which alone is outrageous, never mind that he thinks it would take a month! 2 weeks tops should cover it.

That being said, this is a site un-seen assesment, and I am only providing figures based on the square footage. I would recommend contacting several contractors, ask what they charge per square foot (do not mention anything beyond a complete re-wire) and see what they say.

I think you will be pleasantly surprised. I wish you the best!

Re: Rewiring house

It may be better to pull a primary wire run to the attic and install a sub panel for the second floor than to do so many home runs to I assume a basement panel. The upper floor can be done very effectively on drops from above, and the main floor outlets will be easy if there's a basement, but the main floor ceiling fixtures will entail a lot of destruction.

Re: Rewiring house

sounds very high to me. like others said there are alot of variables to consider here, with limited details. i know our company the typical rewire is around 10 to 15 grand. we are base out of wisconsin, so this could affect prices based on area. I agee with the idea of getting quotes and having them broke out and see if theres things you can cut out or do yourselves to save money. good luck

Re: Rewiring house

I am not going to comment on the bid price itself as I did not see the job, and I hate speculating. As others have mentioned you should get at least 3 bids from reputable firms who can give you all necessary papers and references.

My other point is at the $40-50,000 price point. At that price point when you get these bids you should also ask how much would the bid be if the house was gutted making the job new work instead of old work. New work is generally a lot cheaper, so if the savings are substantiall, it may be worth getting a price to gut the house, wire, plumbed and HVAC if needed, insatiate and drywall the house. You may be surprised that for a few thousand dollars more, you were able to make a lot more improvements then just electrical. (Of course this doesn't take into account new kitchens/bathrooms/ or windows. Just the mechanicals insulation and drywall/paint.)

Re: Rewiring house

I had a similar situation,like others on here, there are a lot of variables. I paid $5,000 for a total rewire and upgrade at the box. It took about a week and a half to complete. I did allow them to punch holes wherever they needed to as I had to resurface the walls anyway. And I did all the clean up and installed the fixtures myself. Anyone can do this with a little research and coaching from someone who has done it before. This was also done in a rural community by a local electrician. Get mulitple bids and have them itemize it. Let them know you are bidding it out, this seemed to lower the price when I was searching. Good Luck!!

Re: Rewiring house

I could make a night out of this thread.


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