Harrisburg Kitchen & Bath

Room to Grow: Everything You Need to Know About Building a Home Addition

Room to Grow: Everything You Need to Know About Building a Home Addition

38% of Americans want to live in a bigger home.

However, getting a larger living space for most may be out of the picture. Or is it?

When it comes to increasing floor space, many people think of buying a new house. However, a common and effective trend for increasing your living space is adding a room to your home.

Though house additions are less of a hassle than buying a home, they can be stressful without the right preparation.

In this article, we discuss all you need to know about a home addition. Here are some tips to get you started.

Determine the Scope of Work

Figure out what type of house addition you want.

Is it a new bedroom, or an extension to your kitchen, or an office? How many square feet would you like it to be?

Depending on where you live, additions can cost anywhere between $100 to $600 per square foot. Be as specific as possible with your desires. This step will guide the entire process.

Identify a Good Contractor

Find a good contractor to handle your project. Try to get referrals from friends, neighbors, and relatives. Be bold. Knock on the doors of homes that have had excellent additions recently and find out who their contractor was.

The importance of a good contractor cannot be overstated. Some of the benefits you will enjoy from a professional include:

  • You can count on them for quality work
  • They can deliver within the timeline
  • They can assist with getting approvals from local authorities
  • They have many design idea and suggestions

Invite the contractor to your home to give them a sense of the scope of work. Ask them to prepare a list of supplies and the quote for bringing your ideas into life.

It is good to have several professionals to get a range of prices. Be sure to go for one with a better sense of what you want, combined with experience.

You should also be sure to assess compatibility and teamwork. You need a contractor that you can work with without much fuss.

Also, accidents can happen during renovations, it's essential to ensure that your contractor is insured as this will protect you and your home against any liabilities.

Get an Architect to Draw up the Plans

Though there are contractors who can design the addition for you, it is advisable to hire an architect, especially for a big project.

Have your contractor recommend an architect. This will ensure that the two parties can work well together. However, it is still important to do your due diligence to make sure the architect can bring your vision to life.

Set Aside the Funds

After considering design plans and getting a price quote from the contractor, prepare the funds well in advance. Ensure the funds are available before work begins.

When funds are not availed on time, your project will take longer and be more expensive because:

  • Late delivery of supplies will result in lost work time for which the contractor will still bill you
  • Delayed payment of workers will affect their motivation and performance. This can also lead to project abandonment if it persists

Financing a home extension from your cash savings may not always be possible as they are relatively expensive. If you need a line of credit to fund your home extension, apply well in advance and know the amount you qualify for.

It is also good to set up a contingency fund of about 10-20% of the entire cost. Sometimes the scope of work can increase as the project progresses or the price of materials can increase.

Know Zoning Laws, Homeowner Association Rules, Building Codes, and Get Permits

Find the zoning laws and building codes in your area. These provide guidance on the type of addition you can build and how it can be done. A good contractor will be conversant with such and will advise you accordingly.

Avoid making assumptions on what is permissible or not. Any violation of the rules will force you to bring down your addition and set you back thousands of dollars.

Get All the Details of Your Project in Writing

Before construction begins, you need to request a contract. It should guide you on the following:

  • Project description accompanied with drawings and blueprints
  • The list of materials required for the project
  • A detailed construction schedule with dates for finishing specific tasks plus the completion date for the entire project
  • List of the professionals involved and their roles
  • Payment schedule

The contract will help you gauge the progress of the project at every stage as well as remind you of your obligations to the contractor.

Inform Your Neighbors

Renovations can be very messy, noisy, and generally disruptive. Informing your neighbors is not necessarily a requirement, but a courtesy that could yield benefits in case something arises.

Any complaints that can be lodged against your addition are likely to come from your neighbors.

By informing them about your plans, they will be less likely to make complaints. They will also be more tolerant of any issue that comes up.

Talk to Your Home Insurance Company

Any addition will likely increase the premiums you pay.

It is essential to inform the home insurance agent and get an estimate of what you will need to be paying once the addition is complete. This increase can be anywhere between 10-45% depending on how much work you want to be done.

It is also essential to find out whether your current package offers you any protection in case your house is damaged during the renovation.

How to Save Money When Doing a Home Addition

With a little creativity, you can reduce the cost of a house extension. Here are things you can do:

1. Add a Room to the Existing Structure of Your House

You will be able to save 25-50% of the cost by adding the extra room to the existing layout of your house. Rather than build an entirely new structure, try adding the room to the garage or even try finishing the attic.

2. Build a Simple Stand-Alone Addition Outside the House

Does the room you intend to add need to be attached to the entire house?

If not, you should consider building it as a simple standalone structure which will be cheaper than building an attached extension.

For a room such as a home office or studio, you can get prefabricated structures at a fraction of the cost. There are different designs and sizes which will only set you back $10,000 to $15,000.

Simple additions outside will not require breaking down of walls, extensive plumbing, complicated electrical fittings, or a lot of foundation work. However, they are not suitable for all types of rooms.

3. Do the Finishing Work Yourself

If you are the DIY type, you should consider doing the finishing work. Depending on your skills, you can:

  • Paint the rooms
  • Install windows and cabinets
  • Lay the tiles

Taking up such tasks will save you some money on the entire project.

4. Keep the Design Simple

Find a balance between what you want with cost management.

Complicated designs will be more expensive. Stick to a rectangular or square footprint with simple roofs. Curves and any other extravagant designs will increase the cost.

5. Stick to the Original Design

Ideas may start to come in mind as the project progresses. Ignore any temptations to make alterations as this will only increase the cost and timeline. Any design changes should be out of necessity rather than desire.

6. Buy off the Shelf Supplies

The design you settle on should be centered on products that are easily accessible. These could be standard size windows or doors.

All products that need to be made on order should be avoided. Stick to regular supplies such as concrete block work for walls, cast concrete for the sub-floor, render, brick or timber cladding, and softwood timber for the roof.

Instead of a dormer, use rooflights and interlocking concrete tiles to cover the roof.

7. Avoid Complicated Groundwork

Building near trees or over underground wiring, piping or sewers and drainage systems will increase the amount of work and costs. Go over the property plans and identify such and avoid them where possible.

8. Time Everything Perfectly

Ensure that all supplies arrive on time to reduce wasted hours on labor.

You can also try to buy material when the prices are fair during the low season. You should also be aware of the weather forecasts for your area for the duration the work will be taking place.

Also, avoid cold and wet conditions. These can reduce the amount of work that can be done in a day or even delay or halt the process altogether. Such delays will mean your family will have to survive the inconvenience longer.

This can be hard if the room being extended is a kitchen or family bathroom. Also, having workers coming in and out of your house in such conditions will be very messy.

Benefits of Home Extensions

Home extensions are an excellent way of transforming your home and making it suit your family’s needs. The following are some benefits you can derive from an extension.

More Space for You and Your Loved Ones

Even though Americans have some of the most spacious homes in the world, more space is still a top priority for homeowners.

Because 40% of young adults live at home with their parents these days and the elderly are increasingly choosing to move in with their children, more living space may ultimately be a necessity than a luxury for many.

With increased floor space, you can have enough space for your loved ones and their belongings without being overcrowded.

You Can Boost Your Income by Renting it Out

This may not be the most popular reason for adding a room to your house, but it is one worth considering. If you have plans to rent-out the new addition, build a full bedroom equipped with a bathroom. Also, have a separate entry point for the room.

It is better to ensure that your family still has some privacy.

It is important to note that you will require additional permits for renting out space in your homes. You may even be required to provide parking space for your tenant in some states.

An Extension Will Increase the Value of Your Home

Increasing the square footage of your property will increase its value. This will be beneficial if you plan to sell your house in the long run.

However, the increase in value will depend on the type of extension you have and the quality of work.

The value of your house can increase by more than 10% by adding a double bedroom. Open plan kitchen designs and living rooms, conservatories and extra bathrooms can each enhance the value of your house by 5%.

Increasing the Floor Space in Your Current Home is Cheaper Than Moving

Building an extra room is cheaper than buying a new home. Besides, it also saves you the hassle of selling your home, hunting for a house, and the hassle of moving.

From a purely economic perspective, extensions are always better than moving.

Extensions Are Perfect for Making Your House More Luxurious

More space can allow you to experience finer living.

For example, you can remodel your bathroom and add a bathtub plus his and her sinks. Perhaps you can have a master bedroom addition.

You can build a walk-in wardrobe for your room. For the living room, you can add a sunroom to allow more natural light into your house and improve its ambiance.

Are you a sports fan? Why not build a game room. This can be a perfect hangout for watching matches with your buddies. You can also fit it with some arcade games, ping pong table, foosball table and a collection of board games.

Are Home Extensions Worth It?

Having enough space in your home is essential. It not only allows you to host more people or store more things, but also makes the house more comfortable.

Instead of inconveniencing yourself with moving, a home addition is a better and cheaper way of increasing the floor space in your home.

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