Building an addition. One of the most common home construction projects. It’s easy to see the benefits of building an addition to your home. With moving as the alternative, adding an addition is a great way to upgrade your home and make for some extra space. As families grow or lifestyles change, there are a number of different types of additions that can be added to a home. While it might seem like a simple project, homeowners and builders beware, adding an addition is no easy endeavor. From foundational problems of the existing home to differences in wall materials, here are some considerations when building an addition. Hopefully, you keep these points in the back of your mind the next time you think about building an addition for a client or starting this project as a homeowner.

Before you go any further in your planning process, you must check local laws and codes to make sure your dream addition is even possible. Depending on the building code, there might be limits to how big your addition can be. In many cities, you are not allowed to build on more than 60% of your land. For commercial additions, codes regarding parking might also put limits on your dream addition. In most cities you need permits for building additions, outside of cities the only permit you require is for septic. Be sure you are covered when it comes to codes and zoning before you start your addition project.

One of the first things you have to look out for when building an addition is the foundation of the home. Often forgotten about in the planning process of the project, the foundation will have a great impact on the overall integrity of the addition. If the foundation is not sound, you could run into potential problems like instability or further damage to the home. Not having an adequate foundation could be a huge safety risk when starting a new addition project. Additionally, always double-check the integrity of the land the addition will go on. If the addition is getting close to a hill or slope, be sure that the unevenness won’t cause problems in the future. Also, double-check property lines while you are at it.

In addition to the foundation, you will want to consider the home’s entire infrastructure when starting a project. This is especially important when you are thinking about adding or moving bathrooms and kitchens with the addition. Moving items like showers, sinks, and stoves away from your drains and gas lines may indicate a significant rise in the cost of the project. Before any room addition, structural walls and drainage lines must go through a thorough examination. Always seek to work with your existing situation; doing so will save money and time.

Overall, let’s talk about the purpose of your addition. A common mistake made when building an addition is creating a space that doesn’t make sense for the client’s lifestyle. For example, if you value privacy, think about how the placement of windows that might look right into a neighbor’s kitchen. If you are building an addition that involves a lot of stairs, think about if they are safe and accessible for everyone in the home. If you are building a dining room as an addition, think about its proximity to the kitchen. There are many other examples of considering the purpose of your addition versus your lifestyle and overall spatial layout of the house. You want your addition to make sense!

On the topic of function and spatial layout, you have to consider how people will get to the addition. What room are you walking through to access the room you are building? In many cases, homeowners want to build a room onto an existing room of a house. You can always avoid awkward floor plans by building hallways but don’t underestimate an open floor plan either. Depending on what the adjoining room is, embracing space might fit the client’s lifestyle.

Structurally, you must also consider the types of materials used in the existing structure versus the addition. Be sure to follow codes and safety measures in this process. Usually, the addition must match the materials of the existing home to be structurally sound. In addition to matching the materials of the home, you must also match the floor and rooflines, one of the more technically difficult tasks when completing a project. It’s critical to get your floor levels to match up, and it all starts with the foundation. If the excavator doesn’t reach the correct depth, everything after that will be wrong (including the foundations, frames, floors, and roof).

Hopefully, these few considerations will help you in your next home addition project. If you are looking for advice or a quote for your next project, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our team members today. 

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