Featured News 2012 Adding to Your Home: Things You Need to Know

Adding to Your Home: Things You Need to Know

If you are satisfied with the neighborhood and location of your home, but want more space, remodeling may be the choice for you. There are many reasons to add-on to a home. Sometimes, an expanding family needs more bedrooms. Possibly you just want more square footage, or a room that can be set aside for your favorite hobby. Others add on a home office in order to work from their house. Yet, before you get your sights set on that newly refurbished and expanded version of your home, there are some aspects to consider.

First, you need to choose the type of remodel that you want. There are two main ways to remodel a home: vertically or horizontally. With a vertical addition, a homeowner does not expand the actual floor plan of the home, but instead adds a second or subsequent story within the existing framework. This is normally a less-involved way to add on, because it bypasses the many permits and concerns that accompany a horizontal addition. In some cases, home-owners will raise the height of their roof in order to add this additional story. As well, it is possible to extend a roof outward with a shed or gable dormer.

The other option, a horizontal expansion, involves knocking out walls and growing the first-level floor plan of the home. This type of add-on requires and extensive amount of legal clearance and many permits. Each city has its' own set of rules as to how much square footage can be added onto a privately owned home. Certain portions of your property may be "off-limits," such as places that are situated on a flood plain, fault line, or near a sewer main. Some areas may base this on the amount of land you own. Zoning and property line regulations are strictly enforced in most cities. In some locations, historic guidelines are still in action that may deny your re-model.

Also, environmental issues can affect your add-on. For example, it is illegal to remove an oak tree in California, so any expansion plan that endangers one of these trees is not allowed. Situations similar to this are rampant all throughout the United States. In some areas, vertical add-ons are illegal because of solar-shading concerns. Talk with your contractor and state officials before you put down the money for a horizontal addition. The National Association for Remodeling Industry states that proper planning is essential to a successful remodel. The association suggests that men and women must choose a reliable contractor or residential architect who can provide a detailed payment schedule, work schedule, and estimate before starting construction.

Adding on to your home involves more than adding some drywall and wood to the side of a building. In order to "add on," you will most likely want to open up an existing wall. This can mean sorting through a maze of existing pipes wires, insulation, vapor barriers, and framing. The Chicago Tribune states that there are switches, outlets, thermostats, HVAC registers, plumbing valves, phone cables and intercom jacks interwoven inside the average kitchen wall. This massive stack of cords and pipes can cause incredible problems if a family chooses to add on. Sometimes, cutting at the wrong point in the wall can spark fires or cause short circuits. Because of this, a remodel not only involves a contractor and construction workers, but a host of electricians, plumbers, and more. The Chicago Tribune suggests that remodelers peel drywall in order to make the space for their new add-on. This is a messy process, but reduces the risk of a major electrical malfunction.

If you pass all city requirements and decide to add on to your home, you will be faced with constant noise and activity from construction equipment and a host of employees. This can often irk neighbors and disrupt your family life. Make sure to carefully plan with your contractor so that you will not disturb those around you and put yourself in a difficult situation. You may want to consider finding an alternate residence while your addition is in order. Just keep in mind that your construction work may take longer than planned, so you must be flexible as to when you will be able to move back in.

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