How much does it cost to rewire a house? An in-depth look at rewiring costs

Female and male electricians rewiring a remodelled and extended kitchen
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The cost to rewire a house can be a significant factor when buying a property to renovate, or if the electrics in your current home are past their best.

Generally speaking, if the wiring in your property is over 25 years old, then it’s highly likely it will need to be renewed. Warning signs can include frequent blown fuses, slight shocks from switches or sockets, and lights which persistently flicker or dim. If your wiring is unsafe due to age or faults, the consequences can range from your entire electrical system regularly tripping to lethal shocks or a house fire. 

Rewiring a house is a major job and can be costly but it’s usually done as a necessity rather than by choice. The total cost will be affected by a variety of factors which we'll cover below, along with potential hidden or unforeseen costs and top tips for keeping costs down.

How much does it cost to rewire a house?

For a basic rewire, expect to pay from around £2,500 for a one-bedroom flat to around £6,500 for a four-bedroom house. However, the variety of options in terms of quality and aesthetics plus any optional add-ons can increase costs considerably.

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Typical cost and timescales to rewire a house
Two-bedroom flat5-7 days£3,000
Two-bedroom house6-10 days£3,000-£4,000
Three-bedroom semi-detached house10-14 days£4,000-£5,000
Four-bedroom detached house12-15 days£4,500-£6,500

What factors influence the cost of rewiring a house?

The size of the property in question is the primary factor, but individual requirements can massively affect the overall cost and you could spend as much on a two-bedroom flat with lots of ‘extras’ as you would on a basic rewire for a four-bedroom house.

With house rewiring, the list of potential add-ons is long and very tempting, so prioritise the essential items you need first and see what you can then afford within your budget. 

Here are some of the factors that will impact costs:

1. Additional switches and sockets

It’s not just the number of additional electrical sockets and switches that will increase cost, but also the specification and finishes you choose. There’s a huge range to select from and opting for high-end materials and decorative finishes can significantly increase your expenditure. 

Standard white plastic fittings are the most cost-effective, but may not be the most aesthetically pleasing. Chrome or brass-plated switches and sockets will increase the cost, as will adding USB sockets.

2. Additional lighting

If you’ve bought an old house with lighting restricted to single ceiling lights in all rooms, you’ll probably be considering additional ceiling or wall lighting, spotlights, cabinet/plinth lighting in the kitchen, mirror/shower lighting in the bathroom and so on. 

Lighting can have a transformative effect on a room and the additional benefits can easily justify the cost if it’s within your budget.

3. Additional aerial points

Gone are the days when the only TV in the house was in the living room. Modern requirements mean TVs are found in the living room, kitchen, bedrooms and even bathrooms. However, this will again add to the cost of a rewire.

4. Adding an electric oven or electric shower

If you are rewiring, you may wish to change your oven and mains shower. (Remember to also factor in the cost of a plumber for the installation.)

"The modern kitchen often features double ovens and an induction hob, which will need separate wiring," says Claire Lloyd, Editor in Chief of Homebuilding & Renovating. "If you're aiming to renovate your kitchen within the foreseeable future, it's worth planning for this and factoring in the extra cost during a rewire, as retrospectively adding such wiring at a later date will be even more costly and disruptive."

5. A new consumer unit

You may need a new consumer unit if the existing one or old fuse board has become damaged over time or simply doesn’t meet the increased power or safety requirements of a modern home. Your electrician may be required by regulations to upgrade the system to add new circuits.

"A new consumer alone is likely to cost in the region of £400-£600," says Claire Lloyd.

6. Security systems, smoke and heat detectors

If you are in need of a rewire, it’s unlikely your home will already have these features. Introducing security and safety equipment should rank highly in your budget.

Smoke and heat detectors can now be wired in and connected to one another (instead of relying solely on battery power). Rewiring provides a good opportunity to undertake this task.

7. Electric underfloor heating

If your carpets and flooring are being lifted for the rewire and may need replacing, this would be the most cost-effective time to add electric underfloor heating if desired.

8. Outdoor power supply

Aside from security lighting, think aesthetic lighting, heaters, outdoor kitchens, electric gates, hot tub wiring, electronic timers for irrigation systems or even just somewhere to charge your phone while you’re enjoying alfresco dining. These can all require electrical supply.

9. A new or upgraded wired data network

Working from home brings with it greater reliance on technology and for this you need stable internet access and if you’re rewiring your home this is the best time to address this. An experienced electrician may be able to lay the cabling for this. 

10. The complexity of the house and project

Some houses will present additional challenges which can make rewiring a longer and/or more difficult task. These may include non-standard layouts, multiple floors including lofts and basements, solid walls which are more difficult to chase into than timber stud walls, all of which will add to the cost of an average rewire. 

What's more, high-end will most likely require all of the above plus perhaps some additional items, such as:

  • cinema room
  • AV system
  • electric blinds
  • solar installations
  • swimming pool pumps
  • electric roof windows
  • garden office
  • UV lighting for greenhouses
  • smart technology installations
  • CCTV systems
  • access control systems
  • electric vehicle charging points

11. Replacing surface-mounted switches and sockets

Even if you only require a basic rewire with none of the extras, your current system may have switches and sockets that have been surfaced mounted. This would be the perfect time to channel them all in. 

It will increase the cost, even more so if the walls are solid as opposed to stud, but the finish will be far more attractive and will also be more appealing to any prospective buyer.

12. Unforeseen issues on site

Whenever works are undertaken and walls or floors are opened up, there’s always the potential for unforeseen costs. Rotten wooden floors may need to be replaced or ceilings may need to be reinforced to take new light fittings. 

Asbestos can also be discovered when rewiring, particularly within artex wall coverings. Experienced electricians are trained to identify this and can easily arrange testing and removal.

Whatever costs have been quoted for a project, I always advise clients to add another 10% to it, to mitigate any nasty surprises that might arise. If you can open up the floors and get your electrician to assess the ceilings prior to providing a final quote, even better.

13. Location and property occupation

Location will naturally impact cost, based on labour prices alone. London is typically the most expensive region in the UK to undertake rewiring, for instance.

Occupation of the house during the works is also a major factor. Electricians can work faster in an empty property, which will reduce the project time and keep costs down.

What do rewiring costs typically include?

Ideally, you should get a minimum of three quotes and ask the electricians to break down the costs so you can compare what you will be charged for. (Word of month is great way of finding an electrician.) Spending time on the detail, such as finalising the number of lights, switches and sockets, will avoid any changes later on, which might be costly if not incorporated at the outset.

You should expect a quote for a ‘basic’ rewire to cover the removal and replacement of all existing wiring, standard white socket outlets and switches, and a new consumer unit, before any additional requirements are added.

In most cases, your electrician will supply all the basic items (in consultation with you on switch and socket finishes) and you can purchase your own light fittings according to taste and budget.

Waste disposal isn’t typically an included cost but most electricians can provide a separate fee for disposing of waste should you require it.

What will not be included in rewiring costs?

Aside from basic sealing around new sockets and switches, making good is not typically included in a standard quote. Plastering walls or reskimming is a job that will need to be undertaken after rewiring.

Your electrician may offer to engage plasterers and decorators on your behalf, but it will nearly always be cheaper to source your own trades directly and this also makes it much easier to address any issues that may arise, without having to go through your electrician. 

Remember that it’s not just the walls that may need replastering. Your ceiling will most likely need some repair and repainting, together with relaying or replacement of your floors. A simple carpet lift will typically be replaced by your electrician but it is essential to establish the extent of the likely damage beforehand so that you can be forewarned and budget accordingly.

These additional costs will depend on the size of the area concerned and your personal choice as to the quality and type of finish required. It is well worth costing these up-front so you have a clear idea of the total budget required for your project.

Solid walls chased out for new wiring for lighting and sockets

Filling and reskimming walls which have been chased out by electricians to introduce new lighting or sockets will not be included in an electrician's quote. You'll need to engage a plasterer — or take on the work yourself. (Image credit: Getty Images)

What can I do to reduce the costs of rewiring a house?

Much of the preparatory and finishing work can be undertaken to reduce the overall cost. Depending on your DIY skills and your project, this can range from removing all the flooring and any wall panelling to chasing out the walls for new cabling, battening ceilings and then plastering and decorating.

If you have the necessary skills, you can also consider fitting the lighting yourself as no certificate will be required for this.

You can ask your electrician to provide an ‘installation only’ quote, if you want to source and supply all the materials yourself (cabling, consumer unit, switches, sockets and so on). While your electrician may be able to get bulk buying discounts on their trade accounts, they may not necessarily pass these on to you. You can easily compare the cost in the quote with what you could achieve on the market directly.

Finally, work with your electrician to achieve as much as possible initially, as you can always upgrade to more decorative sockets and/or switches or designer light fittings at a later stage and, for example, still achieve your outside sockets and lights and so on now. An experienced electrician can provide valuable recommendations to keep you within budget and help you achieve your goals.

Will rewiring a house add value to a property?

Rewiring your home will, without doubt, have a positive effect on your property’s value. Any buyer noting that the electrics are in need of a complete overhaul will be mentally deducting that cost from the purchase price.

Also, most buyers (unless they are planning on carrying out a total renovation) prefer not to have to undertake any immediate work and would rather pay the full price for a property that has recently been rewired, to avoid the hassle and be safe in the knowledge that it won’t be a cost to bear for many years to come.

In addition, signs of outdated and dangerous wiring can lead buyers to wonder what other hidden issues there may be with the property. 

At the end of the day, if your home requires a rewire, your own safety and peace of mind is paramount and you can’t place a value on that.

Tim Phillips is an experienced senior quantity surveyor and estimator and has worked in the construction industry for over 35 years. He has worked on many varied projects in this time, for corporates, public bodies and private residential clients, managing multi-million budgets. 

For the past 13 years, Tim has worked on a freelance basis, whilst managing his rental property portfolio. He has extensive experience of undertaking his own full-scale house renovations. He is also a speaker and expert at the Homebuilding & Renovating Shows.