Renovating an Investment Property in Ireland

APRIL 2021 UPDATE

I have escaped Dublin in favour of living in a building site and I am honestly pretty happy about that. Since getting the internet sorted, I have purchased some extra computer screens and a docking station and this has allowed me to work from home here in Wicklow. 

This setup is actually safer for me and my housemates in Dublin (one is high risk) as I come into contact with far fewer people here. It has also been better for my physical and mental health to have hiking trails on my doorstep. 

Right now, I don’t have much of a reason to go back to Dublin. You would think that would mean that renovations must be steaming ahead but, alas no. As I mentioned, I have been trying to push towards working freelance for myself. I started in earnest in January 2020 and since then I’ve been trying to balance several jobs at once. 

The main issue is there are so many different small things to take care of rather than being able to focus on one project. I am really enjoying the web development project much more than my other normal job and I want to push the side of things further. 

But I still have a house to renovate! So what did I manage to get done in the house in between coding websites?

Rewiring the house and filling chased walls and holes in plasterboard
The Cost of Renovating an Investment Property in Ireland

Let’s start with the biggest win. The house is now fully rewired. I was very happy with the electrician, he did a great job. He was able to classify the job as an emergency because the wiring was so old (after detecting an electrical charge running through the earth wires somehow). So COVID didn’t get in the way.

However, he only looks after the electrics so there were plenty of holes left around the house that I took on. 

Chased walls
Chased walls
Chased walls

It was up to me to repair all of the holes in the walls and the plasterboard. I hadn’t done anything like this before, so I did some research and found this helpful video:

Still going to have to do something about these horrid textured walls 🙁

I wasn’t able to get my hands on the exact same product from the video, but I found versions the were good enough for the job and got to work. There was a bit of trial and error but the video was very helpful and I think I did a decent enough job by my very non-professional standards. 

I also had to get rid of the copper pipes coming from the old back boiler in the fireplace which meant using my favourite tool  – the angle grinder. 

Old copper pipes from back boiler
Removed and filled chased walls

I decided to relocate the old fuse box to the landing upstairs and the electrician was able to install a slim-line version into the stud wall.

The hole left after the old fusebox was removed
After I filled and patched it.
New fuse board set into the wall on the landing
Inside the shiny new fuse board
A very professional result indeed

While I was at it, I also got the electrician to install hard-wired fire alarms upstairs and downstairs, an exterior power socket (that can be wired to the back of the shed in future) and a fan extractor for the bathroom.

No 4am low battery warnings
Bathroom fan outlet
External double socket

The Hole in the Roof
Renovating an Investment Property in Ireland

The second biggest job was also classified as an emergency. My dad works in the roofing industry and said he was owed many favours. So I will never know how much this job would have cost me because he wouldn’t tell me. 

A professional contact of his sent some workers around to install roof vents and redo the pointing at the peak of the roof and the flashing/soakers around the chimney. 

This problem had been manifesting as an ever-expanding stain on the roof/wall in the bedroom. After the repair works were carried out, everything dried up. The roofers warned me that I would need to get the chimney plastered but as it happened the neighbor’s son was about to start that job the same month.

My neighbour refused to take money from me so I bought some gift vouchers and chocolate eggs as a thank you.

Pointing redone
Six new roof vents (three each side)
Lead sealed up
The chimney is awaiting the final coat of plaster
Staining before the leak fix
I used an oil based stain-stopper which has worked

Removing Kitchen Ceiling Wallpaper and Painting
Renovating an Investment Property in Ireland

The kitchen and the bathroom both had nasty textured wall paper. It had to go but here’s what I learned.

When someone puts up textured wall paper – they are hiding something.

The kitchen roof had a botched plaster job done to it before and the bathroom wallpaper was covering up some old tile grout nobody bothered to remove.  Not major problems but more work nonetheless.

I couldn't look at the green ceiling so I had to give it one coat of white paint

The bathroom wasn’t as bad and I can live with the pink for now because I don’t know if I will end up tiling the whole bathroom or not yet. 

Honestly, I prefer the pink to the textured wallpaper

Sealing up the old kitchen door
The Cost of Renovating an Investment Property in Ireland

This is still a work in progress, leaving the stud wall exposed made life easier for the electrician. Once he was done, I filled the stud with insulation and placed plasterboard over the frame. 

More plastering required here

I also deconstructed the rest of the kitchen and pulled up the orange lino. This only revealed even more gross wall paper and green floor tiles that are literally glued to the concrete and may stay there. 

Garden Potatoes
Renovating an Investment Property in Ireland

In my last post on this topic, I mentioned I had to dig out years worth of dumped grass clippings. The garden will remain a low priority over the next few months, but I could not resist the opportunity presented by my friend who gave me some seed potatoes. I took all the decayed grass clippings and ivy and shredded the lot to form some simple beds down the sides of the garden. I threw the seed potatoes in for now just to get anything growing in the space.

What's next?

Attic insulation arrived! And I have just found time this week to start getting it up there and unrolled. I have to solve the problem of storage though. I need to build a platform that will allow for some small storage space over the 300mm of insulation.

The other major job is the plumbing. I have contacted the local heating and plumbing company but they have failed to show up twice now. I will try one more time before looking elsewhere.

I bought myself a new electric shower and I have actually installed one of these before so I might do that myself soon. The bathroom needs total renovation but the shower that is in there is very old and runs hot and cold. This has been getting steadily worse over the last week so it’s about to give up I think.

I also need to measure and plan the kitchen… all while pushing my ambitions of having a web development career! Cannot wait for a gym to reopen.

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