House renovation- prices

valeria293 Image
02/23/2011 - 11:43

Hello to one and all. We bought a property in Marche in December and we are now trying to work through the various prices for renovation. Although habitable it needs a fair amount of work and we are amazed at the prices being quoted. 8000 euro for painting internally, just emulsion on walls, no gloss work for doors etc, for a 180sqm house. Is this a reasonable price? To me it seems very expensive, although I know the price of paint in Italy is high. Replacing windows and doors 25000e plus, no outside shutters or mosquito screens and all in pine. We have 20 windows that measure 0.85mx 1.25m and 6 that measure 0.5 x 0.28m, plus 2 sets of French doors. A company in Tolentino quoted nearer 20000e but not clear if this includes fitting and if they supply own ladders to fit the windows on upper floors or if they expect to have scaffolding in place. Our Italian is very poor! Although we did have some basic quotes before we bought we are now finding that a number of things we thought were included are all extra. Looks as if we will be doing at lot of painting on our holidays and the work will have to be done over a period of time. Have been reading a number of posts over the last few weeks and found alot of useful information here. Would be grateful for any suggestions. Thanks Valeria 293  



All I can say is shop around. Take the €20,000 quote to the original supplier (who quoted €25k) and get them to beat it. Then when they do, take their lower price back to Follusci (is it them in Tolentino?) and get them to beat that. Painting and decorating does seem enormously expensive here for some reason. Paint is expensive here so that is definitely a factor. It should say in the quote whether it includes fitting. It usually does but not making good round the windows afterwards nor preparing the openings beforehand. They would usually expect there to be scaffolding up but it can be done off a cherry picker which can hired. The price of fitting will depend on wheter there are metal frames in place to receive the windows (usually done by the builder during a renovation). I have sent you a private message.

8000 euro for painting internally, just emulsion on walls, no gloss work for doors etc, for a 180sqm house. Is this a reasonable price? Do it yourself, we did and saved loads. There is always the excuse in the price that they will make good all the imperfections, but another rip-off. Paint is more expensive for sure, but for a few hundred euro, not worth paying a "decorator" here, and filler is quite cheap. The problem is normally the builder or window installer will fit them and just leave it rough on your newly plastered walls, so his decorator mate charges more. Replacing windows and doors 25000e plus, no outside shutters or mosquito screens and all in pine. We have 20 windows that measure 0.85mx 1.25m and 6 that measure 0.5 x 0.28m, plus 2 sets of French doors. A company in Tolentino quoted nearer 20000e but not clear if this includes fitting and if they supply own ladders to fit the windows on upper floors or if they expect to have scaffolding in place. Our Italian is very poor! Would get a lot more quotes. Remember these companies are not getting much business now, and so are getting greedy. We have German double glazed units x 16 ( bought here ) that came in at well under 10K with the shutters. OK they are UPVC in cherry wood finish, but they do look like wood.

I agree with Badger - if you can take time out, do it yourself. Are your windows possibly renovate-able? How old are they - ours we think were put in about 30 years ago and have taken a hard battering from hot summers and cold winters, we have managed to save them by stripping, sanding, feeding with liquid wax and then two or three coats of varnish and they look like new. It does take time but with 35 windows, most of them doubling opening and 9 sets of french doors the price of replacement with new ones was too awful to contemplate. Plus there is an enormous satisfaction in doing it yourself to the standard that you want. Paint is expensive but white emulsion is not that pricy - its when you want to go for special mix stuff in unusual colours it does get quite painful. I'm shocked at an €8k price but did that include loads of re-rendering and/or replastering - whats on the walls at the moment? I'm sure you can get a better deal than that - in fact I'm sure you'll get offers from people on here. Where is your place? We're near Monte san Martino in the Sarnano/Amandola area - more than happy to share any knowledge we have gleaned.  Your first really useful Italian lesson may well be 'at the Ferramenta' - a digital camera pic and a screwfix catalogue is often worth a thousand words and the guys who work in the small places that are aladdin's caves of equipment and chemicals are often hugely knowledgable and happy to advise. Welcome to Marche, we love it here. Am  

I've just seen a current quote for very similar joinery (abete, painted, double glazed to better than current thermal standards):  the windows came in at less than €400 apiece, and french doors at €670. It actually doesn't make much difference what size your windows are (within reason) because there will be a 'minimum price' equivalent to between 1.5 and 2sq m. Pine, rather than abete, would add another €50 per window, but is usually only used when it's going to get clear or stained varnished. So 'my' quote would come in at around €12,000 for your requirements, in abete. Add another €1,400 for pine. External wood, painted persiani (shutters) would run to about €8,500. Are you sure they have not quoted you for these, too? Fitting windows into a newly refurbed opening is very simple - it's all done from the inside. Fitting persiani is more difficult, and best done from scaffolding (or a cherry picker). 'My' quote is from a very professional manufacturing joiner based in Umbertide, north of Perugia. They are called snc. They have a very nice brochure, but surprisingly I can't find a website for them. The 'painting' quote is maybe less over the top: it depends if you have show wooden beams with painted brick ceilings between - those take ages to paint, so cost a lot - but it isn't a difficult job so doing it yourself is a big money saver. I have no idea why other posters are telling you that emulsion paint is expensive here - you just buy white tempera and a bottle of tinter, I'm sure it's about a third the cost of Dulux!

Many thanks for all your comments. The painting does not include work on the beams,as this is being charged as extra. Sandblasting and treatment 3000e. Certainly think doing this ourselves will be the end result. The windows include interior shutters but not exterior, all in pine. We had considered aluminium on the outside, that looks like wood and wood on the inside but we were told that this was very expensive. However, thought it would save on the maintenance. We will try to negotiate with builder but feel we have possibly gone beyond this now.  

glad to finally see someone make the case for paint not being expensive..  it really is not .. you go to one of the normal paint shops.. basically all they sell and choose a tub of white emulsion paint that is not a named brand.. ask them prices.. they will have various brands.. take a photo or whatever of the color you want and they will scan it in to a computer and give you back a tub of paint.. of the exact color.. keep the coding as you might want to mx the same color again..  so you now have a huge pot of paint... might cost 20-30 euro for is it 25 kg of paint.. cannot remember exactley..  you then need to buy at least one clean bucket.. they sell them in the paint shops of about the same size.. because on the instructions of the original paint bucket it will tell you to dilute it with sometimes up to 50 % of water so you are buying a huge amount of paint and depending on the porisity of your wall.. is that a word .. it will go a very long way...i would imagine about three tubs will do it.. but for sure buy a fixer to mix in.. its good for the priming coats and makes the surface much better to take paint...  i suggest using paint with the fixer coat although you can put it on by itself.. well mixed with water again because depending on what you are painting over three coats of paint will be needed .. minimum i would say..   i see your posting is from the marche and i would think  you might get several useful pms offering help with where to buy and if lucky an enteprising individual who knowqs the ropes there will even offer to do this for you.. with windows... the job will maybe involve removing all the old frames and then basically use measure up and fit new hanging frames which will be fixed into the walls and then all the new window fittings will get attached to that... including shutters and insect screens.. again this is a specialist job.. and shop.. and in general your own builder would be fitting the hanging frames in conjunction with the window supplier because a lot of the work is done and finished when the windows in their various stages are being fitted.. it has to be done very precisely .. if there are no restrictions on what you can use i would go with aluminium in whatever color you like and are allowed..  and i would add everything from the outside shutters to the insect screens .. its cheaper than wood for sure.. although the aluminium / wood option is the most expensive choice of the aluminium solution ... but i do not see the sense as aluminium looks fine to my mind is very easy to clean and has no maintenance...   however all the works you are talking about leave me thinking that paint is the last of your jobs many months away yet.. sandblasting is a specialist job and filthy.. in a place such as you describe i would also make sure your electrics are safe and plumbing and central heating is in good shape..  all retro work on these system especially electrics will involve placing cabling into the wall with lots of dust and rubble and plaster work needing to be fixed..  putting in new windows for sure will entail huge amounts of dust and rubble and cement spalshes and replastering both internal and external walls...around the holes.. my thoughts will be to slow down..  if you have bought the place and you have to go ahead on a tight budget then pretty well forget whoever you have been dealing with in the purchase part.. someone has obviously given you very limited information on whats involved in building works here.. if it was the agent  and they knew your budget then best to move on from them and start building up your own network.. marche is full of useful and helpful people it seems to me.. although just because they are co nationals does not make them all honest so talk to a few and get a feel for what is going on.. they will know the wide boys in both the ex pat community and the local italian population.. anyway forget about paint.. get the essential work done first.. paint is the last job.. you will also find that when you fit windows that are efficient and cut of the air that used to come into the house that there will likely be damp problems and black mold.. i would not consider painting a house that had been opened to the elements for at least a yera after its been sealed.. damp could well involve just outside work with removing earth or adding french drains or could require inside intervention.. or both.. so see little sense if you do spend what you have been quoted by painters on throwing that amount of money into a project until you are very sure that evcerything is finsihed and ready ... besides.. you might need that sum for other more essential things.. like i say electrics.. as the house does not seem to have been kept up to date with new regulations.. anyway.. sorry for spelling .. am sure there are mistakes .. but the info has none.. and good luck... oh yes interior shutters.. to my mind at least a useless additio which serves nothing apart from adding costs.. they save virtually nothing in terms of thermal valuse....... and should only be added if you are in an area where they insist windows are restored to a look or its a building that justifies this because of a historical value.. which to be honest with stone house two a penny here actually bying a property with any real significance in a country with a leaning tower , a coliseum and enough roman junk lying around to keep everyone happy would be quite a find.. so if you are allowed treat your rustic property as a home to be comfortable in and use all the best modern methods to arrive at that point.. some people might say that doing a sympathetic restoration will ensure the property has more value.. not true.. there are hundreds of marche properties that are for sale which cannot be sold at a price to cover the money put in..  use simple modern solutions.. if you can and above all with the way the world is use alternatives to  gas and electrics..  if you can.. use the most efficient windows because thats going to be the biggest cost here.. heating and keeping cool your place.. which is why i say outside shutters if allowed.. they add protection and retain heat in the winter and keep things cool in the sunmmer.. if you cannot afford sandblasting and a new efficient boiler or alternative energy supply .. either solar panels or bio boilers ..then skip sandblasting and go with the energy solution.. maybe insulate the roof.. instead.. insulation is the beginning of all energy solutions.. turned into a lecture.... sorry.. but Italy is reliant on imported energy.. alternative solutions are available but cost .. vist anyones house here and you will find their idea of life is living in one heated room the rest of the house cold and damp.. bedrooms places where you add clothes not take them off to go to sleep.. a few people understand this.. and had the funds to do things right because they understood that they wanted to enjoy living here..  they use alternative solutions.. but the main principle that everyone would most probably agree with is conserve what you put into a building..if its heat.. and protect from the outside be it cold or heat.. then you will have a comfortable life here.. which you will enjoy and not have to give in because it all costs so much or is just so miserable living in a smelly kitchen, the only warm room..

Just as an add on re Folusci in Tolentino, we used them in our apartment resoration, for windows, shutters and all doors, and were very happy with the service and the price. For our house which just needed a new front door we used a local guy situated on the road between Falerone and St Angelo, who has also worked for friends, we are all more than happy with him. Dont know how good you guys are at DIY, but for our house Robert made and fitted internal shutters, perhaps you could approach the task slowly and devise your own project, anyway wish you well, and welcome to Marche.

Now that you have added the internal shutters, the €20,000 quote doesn't sound at all out of the way. I like internal shutters, but I accept that they don't serve a very useful thermal function (at least not on new double glazed windows). They can be a pain - it depends - if you have a signorile old house with proper window openings with splayed sides, and thick walls, and no openings which are too close to side walls they work fine and look lovely. They also mean you don't need curtains, and I know many Brits spend what seems to me to be absurd amounts of money on these - shutters would be cheaper. However if the choice was external persiani OR internal shutters, for convenience of use I would choose the externals. They are much more versatile (you can leave windows open and get ventilation while the house remains secure) - and the only situation where I'd reject them (on aesthetic and traditional grounds) would be in a nice stonebuilt rural building. Following on from adriatica's point (that maybe it's a bit early to be considering decoration) perhaps you have just picked these two items out of a computo metrico because they strike you as very high?

Many thanks  Adriatica for all the info. We're confused about the part that the builders play, when we are replacing existing windows with new double glazed ones. We assumed it was the same as the UK and that Folusci or whoever would remove old ones and just replace with the new. Thanks also to Angie and Fillide for their useful comments. Yes, we did specify the painting and the windows because we thought these particularly expensive and after all the info everyone has supplied we are now going to do the painting ourselves but sadly that is the extent of our DIY skills. We opted for internal shutters because we did not want to have curtains but I take on board what has been said about external shutters, so we may have to re-think that one.

as always Adriatica was right and very clear with his advice.if you are having difficulty finding the right suppliers or don't know where to go you are welcome to send us a pm (we do not have any vested interests by the way in such works or activities)

Cost for labour, stucco etc  when we renovated in 2006 was 25 euros a sq m for floors and 35 a sq m for walls. (Plus IVA)Tiles can be bought at good prices at Leroy Merlin (formerly Castorama) much improved since taken over. There is also a bankrupt stock place mear La rancia Tolentino called Fallamenti. Occasional bargains but be aware that all prices quoted have IVA added so are not as cheap as they look at first glance.

Im going to take issue with Adriatica here.-- Italian paint IS expensive,precisely why she said in her post - you will need 3 coats - The quality is pretty terrible - the majority of inexpensive paints are like brushing milk onto a wall, (one coat Dulux anyone?) .  Pay through the nose and you can find something viscose and paintlike enough to cover, but to which Italians add litres of thinner/water.   Gloss is hideously expensive unless you want to buy something that stinks so much that you cant use the room for a month.  Primer - yes please - that would be nice instead of cementita,    Washable emulsions that arent,  want an anti muffa paint - then get a mortgage.  Tempura - lasts a year.  Thanks God Lidl is now selling paint every now and again - good quality washable emulsion that covers in one coat (or as good as). If you're like most Italians and you get the decorators in, 3 coats of paint at 8 euros psm  costs a lot lot more than 1 coat.   (I do my own painting though and hate rubbish paint)

Agree with Ram, paint is expensive and its better to spend more,then covers in 2 coats and is washable without washing all the paint off as well. Sebastiano is a mine of  information, and has been a great help to us, from hairdressers to finding a man to cut down our huge dead willow tree.  

re fitting windows and builders.. in general what happens unless you already have a modern fitment or are using a carpenter to refurbish is that the complete window including frame is removed..  the plaster then knocked back to a place where the new frame can be fitted.. cannot remember the technical name for the hanging frame.. but this is a carefully squared off frame that is fitted solidlyinto the wall that then is hidden behind the actual visble window frame..  so what happens is that this functional strong frame requires deep holes behind it to allow fittings to be cemented in place.. the whole opening with new frame is then finished off up to a finishing coat of plaster.. because when your windows arrive they are then fitted onto these structural frames.. sorry its not so clear to explain..but it does mean that outside and inside plaster work need to be made good .. and to be honest when you start knocking off plaster to fit new windows its not very precise and huge areas end up needing to be made good .. why i would ignore internal shutters apart from the function of heat retention and cold prevention is that they are remarkably useless in using in a daily living sense.. say in the summer you slepp with windows open.. that means when the sun arrives you have no method of keeping light out unless you get up and shut the windows with attached shutters.. day time siestas.. well you just have to shut windows once more.. in the stiffling heat.. spring days when air in your house is nice.. your choice is wide open windows or shut.. blowey days means windows banging everywhere.. why external shutters work better..  for as start they do not hang off the windows.. they can be regulated.. ie there is a control on the side which allows them to be open to allow air in or light..whilst remaining closed.. therefore your internal windows can remain wide open protected from gusts of strong winds and also allowing you to feel able to sleep at night and yet in the morning small rays of light filter in.. same with day time.. your room does not have to be pitch black with shutters closed to keep cool .. you regulate the outside shutters to allow light in but keep the strong direct sunlight off.. hence indooor windows can be open allowing measured air and light so the room does not become a sauna.. this system also allows for easy fitting of insect screens between windows and shutters.. so your insect screens on roller blinds remain in place even when the strongest winds blow.. to be honest it maybe all sounds a bit obsessive.. but living in a house comfortably really means being able to control direct light and air and keep out very cold and very hot.. the shutters when fully in the closed position have almost no air allowed through or light.. and if you touch the inside of them in the summer in the middle of a hot day then you will feel the benefit of whta they are protecting you from.. and really the idea of sleeping in a room that has no air because you cannot open windows seems almost medieval to me.. the other point is that modern windows also allow you to have two methods of opening.. i would suggest you work out one like that for the kitchen,bathroom and for the living area and your main bedroom.. they then can be opened either from the sides as usual.. so that both windows swing into the house.. or turn the central handle a step further and one window will remain shut whilst the other one opens from the top allowing air in... they cost more which is why i suggest working out where you will want them.. but it allows you to have the ability to open a window in the sense that you use in england.. you know the little windows at the top when you want small currents of air or want to leave the house but have air circulating with it secure .. so complicated.. bet you didnt realise it was such a thrilling subject with so many choices..

There's a couple of English guys over here who are skilled builders and carpenters, and generally they will undercut most if not all Italian craftsmen. One lives in Force, the other Montappone. If you want further info on these guys send me a PM.

We had 36 extrenal windows and doors  in walnut all double glazed with external shutters. Total cost when market was still busy was just under €1,500 each. Very happy with he quality 2 years on. Happy to give name of the supplier (near Ortezzano) if you email.

The quality of paint in Italy is awful. If you are in le Marche try self at Piediripa which sells german made paint which is better. This is the best bet if you want a bright white. Alternativly in more subtle shades Farrow and Ball make fabulous quality paint which covers very well and sometimes in estate emulsion I have only needed one coat. They ship to Italy for a nominal charge of 50 euros per order and have a website. All their paints are water based and suitable for old buildings. They also do external masonary paint in lovely muted historic shades. The natural pigments in Italain external paints may look lovely when they have weathered but you have to put up with three of four years of eyeblinding clour before it weathers down. With regard to windows, we also used Folusci and found them expensive but overall good. The price is influenced by the paint finish you choose. If you have a baked finish it is very expensive but lasts years and years. When they installed and caused damage to new plaster I deducted the cost of repair off thier final invoice. You could also ask for a price for frames only and get your own double (or triple) glazing fitted. The company Folusci use for the glass is near the new Oasi supermaket in Tolentino. It is directly oppsite Oasi at the roundabout nearest Tolentino jst downhill from the roundabout. It you take the window in they will give you a price and fit it for you. Internal shutters work well and have the added advantage of not getting weathered.