So just how much does it cost to renovate a Queenslander?

How much does it cost to renovate a Queenslander? A lot more than I thought.


Six months ago we had a two bedroom, one bathroom, one living room house. Admittedly there was also a sleep-out and an office that had been created by filling in the verandah, while these gave us extra rooms they effectively closed off the house from any breezes (not good in a Queensland summer) and made the living area very dark. The kitchen was at the rear of the house and there was a lovely rear deck however, there was no flow between the living room and the deck. Our average sized dining table dwarfed the small dining area and blocked access to the bathroom.

The original Queenslander home, all the beautiful features hidden, just waiting to be revealed.


Fast forward and we now have four bedrooms, two indoor living areas, two rear decks plus a lovely little balcony at the front of the house and two and a half bathrooms. It’s a very liveable home, with improved accessibility and the feedback from visitors has been very satisfying. Pretty much everything has now been completed on the renovation. I still have to pay the final instalment on the carport and driveway once that is complete. Rain delayed the concreters from coming back to acid wash and seal the driveway and footpath, I’ll be so glad when they finish as we will be able to park our car off the street. (I have been told that this is being completed this weekend, yay).

The renovated house is now a four bedroom, 2.5 bathroom, two living area home.

Yes I know I still have to paint that carport sometime, perhaps when I have my two week break next month. Next on the list of things to do is to create a small front garden to complement the house and build a side fence, and I must work out how to get that sticker off the high front window, I may need to invest in a taller ladder.

What was the bottom line?

My assistant, Wonder Woman that she is, has been compiling the costs of the renovation into a spreadsheet which includes pre-construction work along with the actual build costs.

The final figure is around the $420,000 mark. This is a fair bit higher than we had initially envisioned, although once all the quotes were in I expected that the final cost would sit somewhere around $400K.

What contributed to the cost?

Unforseen problems: Renovating an old house always brings a few surprises and of course cost blowouts. For example, one of the beams under the house was on a strange diagonal alignment. This meant the builder had to put in an additional support to allow for this. Part of the rear stairs were damaged in the move and we decided it would be better to go with a whole new set of stairs rather than have a mismatched looking addition.

Use of professional builder to complete renovation:

Originally we had planned on having the house built to lock up stage and to finish the rest of the house ourselves. However landing some new work contracts combined with a busy schedule for both of us meant it would be faster, more cost effective, and relationship friendly, for the builder to complete the full renovation. I certainly didn’t miss filling and painting all those VJ boards upstairs, not to mention the weatherboards and the soffit outside. That was $20,000 well spent in my eyes.

So glad I used a professional painter for the exterior of the QueenslanderProfessional Painting:

I certainly didn’t miss filling and painting all those VJ boards upstairs, not to mention the weatherboards and the soffit outside. That was $20,000 well spent in my eyes.

Pre-construction work:

The cost also included around $14,000 worth of pre-construction work. You know, surveyors, architects, building permits, subdivision costs etc.

Removal of demolition materials:

The house raise and slide cost a little over $22,000 however, the demolition and site clean up cost nearly $19,000 on top of this. This was due to the large amount of concrete that we had to dump. The lower level of the house had been filled in with concrete blocks and the excavator found a double concrete slab under one section of the house. Thankfully there was no asbestos found in the home or the demolition bill may have been higher still.

Roof Replacement:

The main, unexpected, blowout in cost was roof replacement. Unfortunately, it ended up setting us back over $17,000, and also created a lot of angst dealing with the roofing company. I should have left it to the builder as his quote was a couple of grand less than this and would have resulted in a faster and probably better job in the end. Oh well, you live and learn.

Want the full breakdown of expenses?

One of the reasons that I started this blog was to share what I learnt about the renovation process. When I was searching online It was difficult to find out how much a renovation of this type should cost, so I decided to keep a record and show the warts-and-all side of the renovation. If you’d like a full breakdown of the costs involved in this renovation just add your name and email to the box below and I’ll send one through.


Want the full breakdown of costs?
You can get a free downloadable copy of how much it cost us here!
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3 thoughts on “So just how much does it cost to renovate a Queenslander?

  • September 21, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    can you tell me what builder did you use ? we want to do a renovation but don’t know where to start.

    • September 21, 2017 at 8:45 pm

      Hi Michael we used Rockbuild but the guy who runs that is now working interstate, there seem to be a few good builders who specialise in renovations in Brisbane however it is good to get some testimonials from people who have used them before committing. We also used an architect who put us onto Rocky, if you have a good architect ask them. Yani from YK Designs was great in getting us started.

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