How Much To Rewire a House
The only thing more important than electricity is safe electricity. So you need to know this- like everything else, your electrical and wiring system will gradually become less secure and efficient. That is the cycle of life. Age and usage cause wear and tear. They put a lot of strain on the wires, socket outlets, light fittings, consumer units, etc.
As a result, individual elements and the entire system become more prone to faults and even potentially cause damage to other electrical installations and connected appliances. It doesn’t matter how well you manage an electrical system. It will still age and develop these issues. And someday, the degeneration will reach a stage at which fixing or replacing a few wires and sockets is no longer enough.
At that point, the only solution is a “complete rewiring.” It is the only way to sleep with your eyes closed without fear of damage to life and property. Apart from guaranteeing electrical safety, rewiring also eradicates persistent faults and power trips, and makes energy consumption more efficient, resulting in lower electricity bills.
Despite these benefits, the idea of “rewiring a house” can still seem overwhelming for any homeowner. The thought of letting people rip off your walls (if necessary) is irritating at the very least. Plus, you know it will most likely be a costly and messy job.
Rewiring costs anywhere between £1500 and £6000. It also lasts for anywhere between 4 to 15 days. During this period, the house will be almost inhabitable without great sacrifices since you need electricity for nearly everything.
But, if the only solution is to rewire a house, then you don’t have much choice. You can only try to find a competent person for the job, a qualified electrician. I am here to help with that. And dare I say, “we have a lot to talk about,” starting with house rewiring prices to supply costs, labour costs, factors affecting prices, and a breakdown of the rewiring process.
But before we dive in, here is a little tip- first confirm if you need a complete or partial rewire? Take £100 to £300 and hire a trained electrician to run an electrical inspection of your current wiring system.
This inspection/survey is called an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). It measures and reports the health of an electrical system, assessing the switches, consumer unit, fuse box, light fittings, plug sockets, and wires. The report is usually ready within 2 to 4 hours. Then you will know what needs to be done, whether that is major or minor repairs or complete rewiring.
How Much Does It Cost To Rewire A House?
Table 1: The cost of rewiring a house or flat of 1 to 5 bedrooms and how long it will take.
|Property size||Cost to rewire (£)||Time frame (days|
|1 bedroom||1,500 – 2,000||4 – 7|
|2 bedroom||2,000 – 3,000||5 – 8|
|3 bedroom||3,000 – 4,000||6 – 10|
|4 bedroom||4,000 – 5,000||10 – 14|
|5 bedroom||4,500 – 6,000||10 – 15|
What Does The Cost Of ‘Rewiring A House’ Include?
The table used “number of bedrooms” to denote size and doesn’t account for different types of houses. There is a reason for this. Electrical rewiring costs for a two-bed terraced house will be in the same bracket as that of a two-bedroom semi-detached house. The most important factor that affects the price is “how many bedrooms there is(s)?” Once that doesn’t change, the price and the time it takes to complete the rewiring job barely varies.
These estimates cover supply, labour and waste disposal. Supply takes up about 40 to 45%, labour takes up 50 to 55% and the remaining 5% goes to waste disposal.
Labour, in this regard, covers the electrical work (accessing and replacing old wiring) and minimal plastering work. After the rewiring is done, you will have to hire someone else for more plastering, painting and decoration.
Regarding waste disposal, even though it can be messy, rewiring doesn’t usually leave a lot of waste behind. So you may be able to save that 5% by using your normal waste disposal channels. If that is not possible, you can hire a skip at about £150 per day. On the other hand, some electricians may include waste disposal in their quotes. So take note of this and some other hiring tips to be discussed later.
Table 2: supply costs
|Electrical sockets||2 – 15|
|Light switches||2 – 8|
|Ceiling light fittings||3 – 30|
|Wires||20 – 30 per 50mm|
|Consumer unit||50 – 90|
|Conduits||2 per metre|
The estimates on this table are for the regular types of supplies like normal white plastic electrical sockets and switches. The prices will change if you go with higher quality and more aesthetically pleasing options or even smart electrical installations.
Another factor that affects supply costs is whether you are buying the supplies yourself or letting the electrician(s) do it. The former could be cheaper if you find great deals while the latter could be cheaper if the electricians have suppliers who give them discounts.
Here is a brief description of each item on the table.
- Electrical sockets: They are made from thermoplastic, uPVC, stainless steel, aluminium, or brass. The easiest way to categorise a plug socket is by gang size (single, double or triple) or strength (depending on how much current it can handle). The number and types of Plug sockets in each room will depend on the type and number of appliances you want to use in that room.
- Light switches: They are made from the same materials as sockets and can also be categorised by gang size and strength. Usage is also affected by the needs of the particular room. For example, bedrooms and bathrooms have different requirements for a light switch. Finally, one or two light switches may be enough per room, especially if you rig one switch to control multiple lights.
- Ceiling Light fittings: These are the objects that hold lights in place. Despite the estimate in the table, a light fitting can reach up to £200 per unit.
- Wires: You will be dealing with two different sizes, 1.5 mm and 2.5mm. The right choice depends on the strength of the electrical currents to be transmitted. You also need to ensure that the electrical cables have the correct colour coding.
- Consumer unit (aka distribution box): This is the point where electric power enters a property and is distributed to various electrical installations within it. For house rewire, you may also need a new consumer unit.
- Conduits: They are used to hold wires together, so they are easy to run.
- Clips: Clips serve the same purpose as conduits.
Labour Costs for Rewiring a House
Table 3: Labour costs
|Trade||Hourly rates (£)||Daily rates (£)|
|Electrician||40 – 60||150 – 250|
|Labourer||20 – 40||70 – 120|
|Painter and decorator||20 – 50||100 – 150|
One electrician is not enough to rewire an entire house. You will most likely be working with a crew, but they don’t all have to be trained electricians. Some might be labourers. At the very least, you will have one or two electricians in the mix. After the rewiring part of the project is done, you can call in the painter/decorator.
Electricians charge £150 to 250, labourers charge £70 to £120, and painters and decorators charge £100 to £150.
Rewiring House Cost Calculator
Table 4: electrical rewiring costs for different parts of the house.
|Room type||Cost to rewire (£)|
|Bedroom||300 – 600|
|Kitchen||800 – 1800|
|Bathroom||800 – 1500|
|Garage||500 – 1000|
Electrical needs will vary from one part of the house to another. The needs for a living room will be different from that of a bedroom, kitchen or bathroom. Likewise, the hallway and exterior will also have specific wiring needs.
You have to consider things like this when planning a rewiring job. You also have to plan for potential upgrades like heat sensors, Ethernet and extra power points. But, that is a discussion for another time. For now, let’s focus on what it will cost to rewire different rooms of a house.
- How much does it cost to rewire a bedroom: For this, you will need 2 to 3 single, double or triple gang sockets, 2 to 3 light switches, ceiling light fittings and fan wiring.
- How much does it cost to rewire a kitchen: Kitchens often have the most expensive electrical wiring. You will need 3 to 5 sockets (usually power points with a direct connection from the consumer unit), 2 to 3 light switches and light fittings.
- How much does it cost to rewire a bathroom: The bathroom is a notifiable area. This means that electrical installations (lights, sockets, heaters, etc.) must be sealed and out of the reach of the water. Then the work has to be approved by a building regulations officer.
- How much does it cost to rewire a garage: It only needs a few light fittings, switches and socket outlets. But that could change if you decided to bring in some powerful appliances like exercise equipment.
House Rewiring Cost Calculator
With everything we have discussed so far, you should have enough to calculate house rewiring prices. Just make a list of the number of rooms available, and the type and wiring needs of each room. Then use this cost calculator to come up with the figures.
Additional Costs of House Rewiring
Some of the items on this list are just common jobs electricians already do. However, you may need to hire specialists for others. That being said, not all the suggestions on this list are necessary for rewiring a house.
- Socket or switch transfer/move: This simply means changing the location of a socket or switch. A new opening may have to be created in the wall while the current one is blocked for that to happen. This may cost between £100 and £200.
- Wall plastering: Most electricians offer little to no plastering after the job is done. So you will need to hire someone else to handle it. This may cost between £150 and £400.
- Painting internal walls: After plastering is done, the walls can be painted or covered with wallpaper. This may cost between £250 and £500.
- LED and smart lighting upgrade: This will make energy consumption more efficient and hopefully improve lighting. This may cost between £40 and £400.
- Motion sensors: If you are considering this, now is a great opportunity to make plans or take the step. This may cost between £100 and £200.
- Security cameras: Like motion sensors, even if they aren’t ready to install yet, you can still create wiring plans for such upgrades. CCTV systems cost between £100 and £300.
- External lighting: All outdoor electrical components, including light fittings, switches and power points, should also be upgraded when you decide to rewire a house. These changes and upgrades may not be in basic “rewiring” requirements but you can still make them happen. It costs between £20 and £100.
- Alarm systems: Just as you did for security cameras and motion sensors, you can also improve both security and fire safety alarm systems. This may cost between £50 and £200.
|Socket or switch transfer/move||100 – 200|
|Wall plastering||150 – 400|
|Wall painting||250 – 500|
|LED and smart lighting upgrade||40 – 400|
|Motion sensors||100 – 200|
|Security cameras||100 – 300|
|Security lights||20 – 100|
|Alarm system||50 – 200|
What Are the Factors Affecting the Cost of Rewiring A House?
Rewiring cost and duration will vary depending on the following factors.
It is not just about the cost of rewiring. Home improvement projects generally cost more in places like London and the southeast. For such locations, this project may cost between 30 and 45% more.
Size of the House
A bigger house will have more rooms and, most likely, more electrical fittings and wires. That is just common sense. Take a look at table 1. You will see that rewiring costs increase gradually from a single-room to a five-bedroom apartment.
It could cost more to rewire a smaller house but the odds are very slim. If it happens, it is probably because the smaller house has more electrical wiring needs.
Cost and Type of Supplies
I mentioned earlier that the estimated in table 2 (supply costs) are based on prices for regular materials. However, prices will change if you go for cheaper or more expensive materials. My only advice is to avoid low-quality (usually cheaper) materials.
Type of the Wall
Most wires are concealed within walls, right? And electricians will need to break some parts of the walls to get to the wires, right? That is where this cost factor comes in. Generally, walls can be divided into two categories, hollow and solid. Hollow walls will be much easier to break down, which means that the electricians won’t find it too difficult to get to and remove existing wiring.
So, it is all about accessibility. With solid walls, it will be much harder to get to the faulty or old wires. So you will need more labour or working hours. Even though it is not as important, it can also affect the cost of waste disposal and re-plastering.
Wiring Needs and Complexity
Remember that the wiring needs of a bedroom are different from that of a bathroom and kitchen. Sealed light switches needed for bathrooms usually cost more than the normal switches used in bedrooms. Likewise, a kitchen might need stronger wiring and plug sockets for powerful appliances like ovens and heaters.
Some electrical devices, whether located in the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen or garage, may even need special fittings and a direct connection to the consumer unit. All these will affect both supply and labour costs.
Will You Be Living In The House During The Project?
This can affect both the duration and cost of the project. The workers (electrician or otherwise) may have to take extra measures to ensure the house isn’t unsafe for the inhabitants (you). Therefore, they may charge a higher price. They may also be unable to work as fast as they should.
No matter what they do, you and your loved ones will still have difficulty living in the house during a rewiring project. The lights will be out, but you can solve this by rigging a generator or other alternative power sources. Still, you will have to contend with wires, dust and plaster littering everywhere. And lack of privacy.
How Will I Know I Need To Rewire A House?
If you are looking for a number, I will say, “rewire a house every 25 to 50 years.” But that doesn’t say much, does it? Every electrical system is different depending on the quality of the individual elements and what you used it for. So, to find out if a house needs rewiring, you will have to conduct an EICR.
I hope you remember it. It is the electrical survey that I mentioned early in this article, the one I told you to hire an electrician for. Only an EICR can give a definite answer to this question.
Here is the thing about EICR. It needs to be conducted by a qualified and registered electrician. This is because apart from the report, the inspector also has to provide an electrical safety certificate. Only registered professionals are authorised to do this.
So check with local and reliable tradespeople. Find an electrician that can conduct an EICR and issue a certificate. Every 5 years is a good time for a new test and certification.
However, before you call in the big guns, there are warning signs you can look out for. Here they are-
- Old and outdated wires and fittings: They are both unsafe and problematic. You can identify old wiring by the discolouration, cracks and other signs of physical degradation. On the other hand, outdated wires may still be functional. However, they no longer meet the latest building regulations. Examples are cables coated in lead, black rubber or fabric, round light switches, pin sockets, and a fuse box with cast iron switches or a wooden mounting board.
- Persistent power trips: This may be due to either faulty wiring, sockets or both. As a result, you may have issues like flickering lights, buzzing noise, electrical sparks, and the smell of burning wires. If the problem persists, despite several attempts to resolve it, then a complete house rewire may be the only solution.
- Persistent fuse problems: It is another sign of faulty or overloaded wires or fuse boxes.
However, these problems are not the only reasons to rewire a house. You can also do it for positive reasons. For example, maybe you want more sockets and electrical fittings and the only way to get that is through a full rewire. This could be because-
- You are remodelling
- You are worried about overloading a socket.
- You want to wire a house extension.
How Do I Find The Right Electrician To Rewire A House?
I have got you covered. Just-
- Ask for recommendations: especially from people who have done a similar project (house rewiring). If you don’t know anyone who has, move to the next tip.
- Check listings in your local bodies like government competent person’s scheme.
Get the details of 3 to 5 qualified electricians. Then ask-
- If they belong to official bodies like NAPIT, BESCA, NICEIC and NAPIT.
- If they have Part P certification: This is crucial because only those who have this certificate can issue an electrical installation condition report and certificate.
- Ask if they have public liability insurance.
- Ask about previous similar jobs.
- Ask for written quotes: then compare and go with the electrician that seems right for the job.
What Does “Rewiring A House” Involve?
You have to first hire a qualified electrician for both an EICR and a full house rewire. After that is done, the rewiring commences. But, I have something to say before we go ahead, “I don’t recommend doing a complete rewiring by yourself.”
Why? Firstly, this is a complex project that needs to be inspected by a building inspection officer. It is not like fixing a few sockets. Secondly, only a registered electrician can issue a Final installation certification. So, use the tips from earlier to find one. Then get ready for the following steps.
- Remove furniture: They need to get out of the way so the electricians can gain access to wires in walls, ceilings or under the floorboards.
- Disconnect and remove existing wiring: All existing cables, sockets, light switches, fuse boxes and the consumer box will be disconnected and removed.
- Replace wiring: Up-to-date and new wiring cables, sockets, light switches, fuse boxes and consumer boxes will be installed. These new cables will have up-to-date colour coding. Every other element will also meet the latest housing regulations.
- Connect to the power grid: The newly-installed electrical system is connected to power.
- Conduct final tests and assessments: The new system gets its first EICR and the electrician issues an electrical installation condition report and certificate.
- Plaster and finish: Have the walls plastered and painted the walls. Then your house is back and better.
Does My House Need Rewiring?
Check out the following questions. Your house may need rewiring if you answer “yes” to at least one of them.
- Are the wires/cables coated/insulated with lead, black rubber or fabric?
- Are electrical fittings like wires, sockets, etc., showing discolouration and other signs of physical degradation?
- Do the sockets have outdated round pinholes?
- Are the light switches circular?
- Are the sockets or fuse boxes mounted on wooden boards?
- Does the fuse box have cast iron switches?
- Do the wiring, lights, other elements and the entire electrical system malfunction persistently?
- Does the bathroom have normal light switches?
- Has it been up to 25 to 50 years since the existing wiring system was installed?
- Does an EICR suggest house rewiring?
- Do you need more sockets?
Do I Need To Rewire My House To Sell It?
No, you don’t.
However, it may help with the sale. Imagine that you want to buy a place and notice that the entire wiring is new? Or the owner presents an electrical safety certificate? Obviously, it is not enough reason to make the purchase. It may help.
So it doesn’t hurt to rewire a house you are putting up for as long as you can justify the investment. However, I recommend you get an EICR before moving in when buying.
What Is An Electrical Rewire?
An electrical rewire is the process of reinstalling and upgrading a wiring/electrical system. It involves disconnecting, removing and replacing old, faulty and outdated wiring, light switches, sockets, light fittings, fuse boxes, consumer units, or even electric meters.
How Long Does It Take To Rewire A House?
Rewiring usually takes between 4 to 15 days, depending on the size of the house. That is enough time for everything, including the initial efforts to access existing wiring, install and test the new one, and then plaster the walls.
Do You Need Planning Permission To Rewire A House?
No, you don’t.
However, you need certification for works in certifiable areas. That is about it but I suggest speaking to local authorities and an electrician who understands local laws. The hiring tips from earlier will help with the latter.
How Can I Save Money on Rewiring My Home?
I don’t suggest trying to save money by going the DIY route or using low-quality supplies. Instead, you can-
- Move the furniture yourself.
- Leave existing wires in place. Only disconnect them instead. This will save on the money and time it will take to access or remove them, especially in cases of strong solid walls.
- Do waste disposal, plastering and painting by yourself.
Should I get an Electrician Installation Condition Report EICR?
Yes. Do this every 5 years.
It costs just £100 to £300 and at the end of the day, you will know how safe your electrical system is and what to do to make it safer.