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When do you start over?

My mothers house (22'x38') is on a slab and about 1/3rd eaten by termites. I generally get this number from what I have exposed so far. Which is 1/2 of the house, I've tore out all the interior walls (sheetrock/paneling) in the living, dining, and kitchen, and all the sill plates/bottom plate and vertical studs are gone. I haven't gotten to pulling the insulation out to see how bad the ceiling and roof rafters are. And I haven't inspected the other half yet. But if I had to guess what I think I'm going to find, I would guess that a total of about 60% of the house is eaten. My question is, at what percentage is it better to just tear everything down and start over? :(

Re: When do you start over?

Considering the cost af materials and the amount of labor required to repair the damage you discribed, I would say you have reached the point of replacement and start over. Unless the house is of some historic or sentimental value.


Re: When do you start over?

I second that.

With 60% of the framing gone, the rest of the lumber in not worthy of saving - it could be following the same fate. I'm sure that termites got to it as well.

Don't blame the termites, they have been doing what they are born to do.

So what options do you have? depending on your financial position and plans for the future, you could:

- Demolish and rebuild.
- Sell "as is".
- Demolish and sell.

Re: When do you start over?

Add one vote for sell as is.

Unless you are an experienced builder, this isn't a project for you. If you were an experienced builder, you wouldn't be asking.

If you found that much termite damage, my guess is there is much more.

Is the fire insurance paid in full ?

A. Spruce
Re: When do you start over?

I will also vote that the home is basically a total loss, however, repair, remodel, and new construction are all very different things, and the permits and requirements for each are wildly different.

In my area, a repair and remodel are easy to get permits, only the affected area needs to be brought up to code. New construction is a whole different ball of wax, you will have all kinds of new assessments, taxes, regulations, and hoops to jump through that you won't if you repair/remodel what you've got. While it makes more sense and would be easier to physically demolish what you've got and start over, in the eyes of the building department, they see dollar signs and a chance to **** and pillage. You will not only be assessed for new building permits, you will have to abide by current set back codes, and many, many other issues that new construction brings to the table.

As an example, I once rebuilt single car garage, very nearly from the ground up after a fire. It was only possible to repair the existing structure, the building department would not allow replacement (set back issues, foundation inadequate by today's standards, etc. If there were 20 original studs left after the rebuild I'd be surprised, everything else was brand new. When all was said and done, it cost a bit more than building a new garage, but at least the customer got to have a garage. Had it been demolished, we would not have been allowed to build another.

Just goes to show that there is absolutely NO common sense when it comes to building codes and regulations.

Re: When do you start over?

I'm for replacement too, but as A.Spruce said, there may be other issues involved. When my Grandmother's house burned to the ground there was not enough setback to meet current building code requirements and we couldn't get a variance so that was that and the tiny lot is still vacant dozens of years later. Look into the possible issues and if they seem insurmountable then sell as-is and walk away from the problems and losses. Maybe an adjacent neighbor would like to integrate it into their property for a bigger yard. Also one possible demo mode is to allow the local firefighters to intentionally burn the structure for training purposes- some places do that, some don't but it's worth asking about as questions are free, it's the answers which can be costly.


Re: When do you start over?

Some years ago in a nearby town a two-story commercial building was "remodeled." Everything from the second floor up -- walls, ceiling, roof structure -- was torn down. The second floor was then supported with cribbing and everything underneath -- walls, slab, foundation, footings -- was removed. After sitting there for several months with nothing but the second floor up in the air on cribbing due to the need to address some environmental issues (leaking underground fuel storage tank), the "remodeling" continued with new foundation, walls, and roof structure, but of course keeping the original second-floor floor structure.

But since the second floor was kept and the footprint of the building didn't change, it qualified as a "remodel" which meant that the owners avoided having meeting new setback requirements and didn't have to pay impact fees for "new" development.

Maybe you could do something similar?

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