How to Start Planning a Home Addition
If you have outgrown your home, you don’t have to move. You can transform it into your dream home with an addition IF you plan properly. As a home construction and remodeling company, we do a lot of additions – build-ups, build-outs, and combination ups and outs (like the photo above). We know from experience that planning an addition can be overwhelming. There are so many things to consider. So, we have put together a few tips to help guide you through the process.
Up, Out, or Both?
The first step of planning a home addition is deciding if you want to go up, out or both. In some instances, the choice is made for you based on lot size, zoning law restrictions, set back lines, etc. And certain types of additions, such as kitchens or family rooms, are obviously first floor extensions. Maybe you have the space to build out, but building up is a better fit for your budget. It is a good idea to discuss your addition desires with a builder who can advise you on town regulations and building costs before you have an architect draw any plans.
How Will a First Floor Extension Look Aesthetically?
One of the easiest ways to add square footage to your home is with a ground floor addition to expand existing rooms or create brand new rooms. Often first floor additions will not greatly impact curb appeal because they are typically added to the back of a home. You need, however, to consider your back yard space. Will you be left with enough room to relax and entertain? Will there be space for the children to play? When you are considering extending the footprint on either side of the home, you need to make sure your home will not look lop-sided on the lot and that there will be enough space for landscaping.
What Structure and Material Options Have You Considered?
With a first story addition, you need to decide if you want a basement or would prefer a slab or crawlspace. Do you want an attic or a solid ceiling? Are you matching the siding and windows or choosing coordinating options? While a second story addition is pretty straightforward, you still need to consider if you are matching siding or completely re-siding your home, as well as your plans for the windows.
Are Your Current Mechanical and Septic Limits Sufficient?
Your furnace, water heater, electrical panel and septic system are based on square footage and fixtures. Increasing the size of your home could require upgrading or replacing these systems. A builder can examine your current systems to see if they are sufficient for the addition plans you are considering.
Can your Footings and Foundation Handle a Second Floor Addition?
A floor addition adds quite a bit of weight to an existing structure and foundation. It is important to have a builder inspect your home to determine if it can support the second floor as is, or whether any structural reinforcement is needed.
Are You Open to a Change of Style?
A second floor addition can completely change the style of a home. A Cape Cod or ranch can be transformed into a colonial or contemporary. The addition of a staircase will also change the flow of the first floor. You need to think about stair placement and how that impacts your existing floor plan.
Do You Plan on Staying in Your Home During the Renovation?
Additions can be loud, messy and stressful. If you are considering a first floor addition, you may be able to stay in the home during the renovation project. Unless you have ample sleeping space and full bathrooms on the first floor, staying in a home during a second floor addition is not recommended.