I’ve carried out a good few rewires in my time as an electrician and although I like to think of myself as a tidy and conscientious person, I would be lying if I said that rewiring a house was not a messy affair.
Any major construction project is going to create a little chaos during the work so in this article we’ll look at why rewiring a house is messy and what homeowners can do to limit the mess (saving vast amounts of time on the clean up afterwards in the process)
Is Rewiring A House Messy?
There’s no getting away from the fact that rewiring a house is a messy job. The cables will need to be hidden in the walls, under the floorboards and in the loft spaces. This inevitably creates a lot of mess.
Pulling carpets back to lift floorboards means that furniture needs to be moved (often into the middle of the room). Taking all your furniture from against the walls, where it usually lives, and placing it in the middle of the room instantly creates a mess before work has even properly begun.
Then there is the mess created by the work itself. Cutting chases into walls is a dusty job. Plaster is very fine and dry so it likes to float around and stick to surfaces. With the best will in the world (and the strongest vacuum in the world) some of this dust still escapes clinging onto curtains and furnishings.
Once the rewire itself is completed there’s the equally messy task of having the repair work carried out. Bringing plasterers and decorators into the home inevitably creates more mess in the short term.
Despite all the mess, fingers crossed that if all has gone to plan, the customer has a beautiful rewired house complete with new spotlights, USB sockets and a smart home system to rival any showhome.
How Can You Reduce Mess During A Rewire?
There are certain steps homeowners can take to reduce the mess caused during a rewire. The number one factor is hiring a good electrician that you know is conscientious and someone you trust in your home. After that, moving as many possessions into storage as possible will create a lot more open space to work in.
Every time a piece of furniture gets moved or covered with a dust sheet there is potential for damage. My heart sinks when I go into a home and see endless shelves full of beautiful trinkets – I know this situation is an accident waiting to happen!
On occasion, I’ve had to run into the adjoining room as the apprentice has started drilling to point out that the vibrations of the drill on the wall are causing an expensive ornament to look like it’s a couple of shakes away from seeing how well it can bounce on the floor.
If homeowners can get their hands on a storage locker and it’s reasonably practical to move stuff out of the home then that’s great. Failing that, I find the next best thing is to move items once, cover them with sheets and leave them alone. Not opening cupboard doors etc during the rewire limits the dust’s ability to get into the valuables inside.
Will Electricians Clean Up Their Mess After A Rewire?
It’s important to take into consideration the mess factor when weighing up whether or not to have a rewire. Some homeowners underestimate how negatively they are going to react to seeing their floorboards lifted or their walls bearing the scars from cable chases.
In my experience, it can be upsetting for some owners to see construction work going on in their homes. If this sounds like something that you would find particularly difficult it may be worth considering moving out and not living in your house during the rewire
Upfront discussions are needed with the electricians before work begins as to what is expected in terms of cleaning up the mess after the rewire is complete. This is where choosing the lowest price quote isn’t always the best idea.
A low rewire price may be a great deal or it may mean the electrician has trimmed so much fat from the job in order to make it viable that problems will rear their ugly head further down the road.
All good electricians will make a concerted effort to keep the mess caused by a rewire to a minimum. By this I mean they will vacuum as much as possible, avoid treading dust throughout the house and generally be respectful of the customer’s home.
Tidying up the mess does not often extend to plastering after the rewiring, or decorating. If it is in the job quote to do so, the electrician will often know a plasterer that they send in afterwards to patch the damaged walls, and a painter to make the place look good as new again.
Once again, exercise caution and have these discussions upfront about how much of cleaning up the mess and the repair work is going to be done by the electrical team – and what they have included in the quote!
When broken down into its most basic concept, rewiring a house means getting new cables from point A to point B to replace the existing cables. Whilst that sounds simple enough, those old cables have been resting in their hiding places under the floors and in the walls for many years.
Uncovering those cables hidden below the plaster or under new expensive carpets create a lot more mess than most people are used to having in their homes. In my experience, it’s super important to maintain perspective, remembering that the mess is not permanent and will all be cleared away after completion.
To sum up, homeowners should expect a mess when having their home rewired. However, ensuring everyone is aware of who has responsibility for cleaning up the mess afterwards, will create much more inner peace during the process.