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Old 01-29-2009, 12:41 PM
27 posts, read 157,786 times
Reputation: 25


Hi, this is my first post so I hope I do everything right. My fiance and I are close to getting a new house(seller has accepted our offer, just waiting on the bank). Its a nice first home, the only thing is that the 1st floor has 8 ft ceilings(maybe less?) and it makes me feel a bit cramped. I've been trying to get quotes from construction/remodeling companies to see how much two projects will cost, but most say they have to come look at the house in order to give me an estimate(I sent emails with pics that I'll post here). I got one estimate of around $2000 for the stairway conversion, but it seems like it should be a fairly easy task for a carpenter, so I dont know if this is a reasonable price?

Anyway, here's what I was looking to get done:

Converting this entry starway:


into one similar to this:


Or this:


The other thing was that I would love to have a 2 story ceiling in the formal living/dining combo when you enter the house. There is a tiny foyer piece right above the front door, but its hardly noticeable. Here is a pic of the front area of the entry.:


There is a bedroom above the formal living section and would like see if anyone would know around how much it might cost to just take away the ceiling that divides the living and bedroom above. Is this more complex than it seems? I thought it would be a matter of just cutting through the ceiling fixing the perimeter edges and thats it. I dunno..

Example for ceiling height:


Oh, also the sq footage of the living/dining combo is 253, but it would probably be just a little more than half of that needing to be changed since there is a bathroom above most of the dining section.

Thanks everyone! I look forward to the feedback.
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Old 01-29-2009, 12:56 PM
Location: Way upstate NY - Where the snow flys
1,130 posts, read 1,318,656 times
Reputation: 1216
I'm no contractor, but did build homes for four years back in the early 70's. I haven't looked at the we sites in your post. I have dial up which is really slow. That said and although it seems you would like to get both jobs done ASAP after closing you will be far better off to wait til your in. Any contractor that gives you a price off pictures will highball the price to protect himself since pictures don't show everything.
As you may well know it's best to get three estimates and obtain 8 to 10 references from each and check them out including looking at their finished product where possible. Your going to get a pretty good read from previous customers as to how the contractor was to work with, diad he keep things cleaned up as he worked, did he completely finish the project before he left, was he responsive to any call back etc.
Good luck on your projects
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:32 PM
809 posts, read 3,118,436 times
Reputation: 568
Some will highball and some will lowball. The lowballers think that a lower price will get your business, but then add a bunch of stuff to it later because they "didn't know this" or "that" before. So the final cost was in line with the original higher bids.

You really can't count on a bid unless the contractor puts it in writing. And a contractor probably won't put it in writing unless they can see it first hand. I doubt a contractor will come out to a house that you don't own yet to give a bid.

The projects might seem like easy stuff, but there's a lot of work involved and you often forget about all the little things that also have to happen like new sheetrock, texturing and painting.

Get some bids after you close and use a company you feel comfortable with.
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:17 PM
Location: Visitation between Wal-Mart & Home Depot
8,309 posts, read 33,343,837 times
Reputation: 7038
Quality woodwork is expensive and the materials for the staircase will run surprisingly high. The labor should not be more than a day or possibly two. I don't know that I could stomach paying $2K for that work, but I don't know that you will find a more favorable quote either.

As far as removing the ceiling is concerned, it could be relatively simple or it could be a complete nightmare; there just isn't a way to tell by looking at the pictures. If I'm understanding you correctly, you mean to remove the entire first floor ceiling above and adjacent to the stairway? If that's the case, I would be very surprised if the quote for the job did not have four zeroes behind it. There are some other considerations as well; that wall upstairs may bear a structural load or it may be the primary electrical conduit, yadda yadda yadda. I wish you luck with this process, making a house into what you want is a lot of fun but none of it is cheap.
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:44 PM
Location: greece
118 posts, read 271,330 times
Reputation: 38
I guess that it would be relevant to this thread to ask info about elevator installation in SFH.

Is it expensive,affordable ?

Theoretically,it should not cost more than 8-10K.
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:08 AM
1 posts, read 14,128 times
Reputation: 13
The bitterness of poor quality..........lingers..........long after the sweetness of the lowest price!
Be smart and do it right the first time or else will be a nightmare.
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:29 AM
2 posts, read 26,547 times
Reputation: 10
Hi coffeebeat,
Please let me know what's your location where you want stair conversions. I can suggest the supplier if that is in the same area. Good Luck!
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Old 10-05-2009, 08:13 AM
1,290 posts, read 4,836,417 times
Reputation: 717
Raising ceilings when there is a floor above is an extremely expensive and time consuming undertaking, because you'll have to raise the ceiling upstairs as well.

If there is only attic space above a room that you want to raise them up, its not that big of a deal actually.
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Old 10-06-2009, 12:08 AM
27 posts, read 157,786 times
Reputation: 25
Default Update

Here is an update on our situation. We ended up not getting that house (was a short sale and was taking MONTHS to get a response so we passed on it). We are now about to be done closing on another house and will get the keys this week!

Thanks everyone for your advice and feedback!
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Old 10-06-2009, 06:57 AM
2 posts, read 26,547 times
Reputation: 10
Congrates! In future if you would have any query related to stairs conversion, you are most welcome. Thanks!
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