Is it Cheaper to Add On or Build Up?

by Staff

If you are in need of more room in your house you may be pondering whether building an addition makes more sense than building up. Obviously, there are several considerations and constraints that will have to play a part in your decision. Not only those relating to budget but also those related to how much land you have and whether your city will allow you to build out. Another way to look at this project is by analyzing the particular space you need. If what you need is, for example, to expand your kitchen, a room that is generally located on the ground floor, building more space on the second floor will simply not work. Let’s have a look at some considerations.

What is involved in building an addition?

In order to build an addition and thus increase the footprint of your home, your contractor will have to present a plan to the city to get the necessary permits, if needed. Then, excavating equipment will be brought to dig up the area where the additional foundation will sit. It won’t be until the new space has walls and a roof that your original exterior wall will be torn down and both areas will be linked.

Are there advantages or disadvantages to building an addition?

Advantages include the fact that you may continue living in your home while this construction is ongoing. In cases of small additions, foundation work might not be needed.
Disadvantages could be that you will end up with a smaller backyard and that you may encounter problems with your city if a zoning variance applies and your addition infringes upon the property line setback. You may also have to deal with floor-area-ratio limits imposed by your city.

What is involved in building up?

Building up offers you several options to gain that much-needed additional living space. You may go all out and plan to add a second story to a one-story house, or even a third floor if your home has two. You may also dormer out a section of your existing floor space if you now have a pitched roof. Or you may convert your garage, sunroom or porch into living space.

Are there advantages or disadvantages to building an addition?

The main advantages are the fact that you will not be giving up a single square inch of your backyard but also that you will not face problems with zoning restrictions related to setbacks or floor-area-ratio limitations.

The disadvantages include the fact that many cities and towns have an established limit as to how tall a house can be. Also, a second or third story will eat into your existing floor space when a staircase is put in. You may also have issues with additional structural supports needed to withstand the weight of the new space.

Clearly, there are many issues and limitations that will end up shaping your decision when it comes to adding more living space to your home. That is why you should rely on a construction professional to help you decide what works and is feasible and what isn’t. A good starting point is to visit and start getting some ideas and imagining what your home will look like when the new space is done.

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