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Building Up vs Building Out – Home Additions

There are two thoughts that occur when deciding to add to a house. Do you build up, or out? Horizontally or vertically? This is often dictated by the purpose of the addition but it’s not always that simple. There’s usually more than one way to design a project, so consider the pros and cons of both before you start adding to your home.

Building Out

But first, let’s look at why you’d choose one option over the other. The first determining factor is whether there’s room to expand on the same level at all. What are the property lines in your neighborhood? Are you willing to give up space in your yard? If you do have space, then a ground floor addition may be the solution for you. On the other hand, if you’re constrained by setbacks or don’t want to give up the yard space, then a second story should be explored.

Building Up

Building up often depends on the bearing capacity of the foundation, which will require extra foundation work or support posts being added to existing walls. Another consideration is the placement of the stairs as this can potentially disrupt the entire floor plan of any home addition you want.

Building Out – Pros

Let’s get started on the pros and cons list. The main advantage that building out has is that this type of home addition usually involves the least disruption to the existing space, and to your life if you’re living at home through the project. You don’t have to worry about supporting the new space over the existing structural framing or foundation.

Building Out – cons

However, building out means losing some of your yard, and might even require a zoning variance from the town. You will also need to confirm with your local building inspector what additional setbacks and restrictions there might be on building a home addition on your property.

Building Up Pros & Cons

The advantage of building up is that you won’t lose any yard nor bump into zoning restrictions about setbacks or floor-area-ratio limits. However, most towns have limitations on height, which can be an issue. If you’re adding an entire story to your home, you’ll also need to account for a stairwell, which can easily eat up around 80 to 120 square feet or more of living space. And your contractor or remodeler will likely have to tear apart walls and ceilings in the space below to strengthen up the structural supports and feed in the electrical, plumbing and heating lines.

If you’re still going back and forth after the pros and cons list, then let the two different processes be the deciding factor.

Building Out Process

When you decide to build out, you and your contractor work together to design a home addition that suits your needs and tastes. Once you have a plan you are pleased with, your contractor must submit the plans for permitting approval. Once they’re approved, your contractor will usually begin by excavating the yard in the area where the addition will sit and installing a new foundation. Then they may start work on the constructing new walls and the roof. Finally, your contractor will open up the existing exterior wall and join the new and old structures.

Building Up Process

Similar to building out, building up will require that you and your contractor submit design plans for approval. Once you obtain your permit, your contractor must remove the roof before beginning construction of the second-story addition. They may also have to retrofit the structure down to the foundation to ensure that it’s strong enough to support an additional story, which could require removing siding and disturbing existing walls.

If you are considering building a home addition, it’s a good idea to consult with a local remodeler or contractor to come up with the best strategy for your unique property and situation. Whether you decide to build up or out, Mondloch Remodeling is here to help you design and build an addition that adds space, is aesthetically appealing, and adds value to your home.

Call us at 320-259-1244 and let’s get the ball rolling today!