Which direction should you grow?
Up, Down, Left or Right
When you're looking to add more space and renovate your home, there are only a few directions to grow. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some positives and negatives for each direction you should consider.
Up- Attic space
Benefit: It’s already part of your home, so that’s an advantage. Depending on the roof pitch you may even have enough head room to stand up and walk around up there with little issue. This is a perfect starting point to add in electrical and plumbing (if you’re adding a bathroom) since the rafters and walls are at a framed stage. You should add in any wiring or pipes and get your inspections done before you insulate and close up any walls or ceilings. Then you’re off to finishes!
Benefit: Permits. Since you're building within the existing footprint, there will be no zoning or conservation requirements. Going in front of the zoning or conservation boards will take months of time and cost thousands in fees.
Drawback: If access to the attic is only available via a trap door or pull-down staircase, this is not ideal for regular visits to the new space. Adding a permanent staircase can sometimes be tricky. Do you have enough room in the hallway below to add a staircase without impeding on current traffic flow?
Drawback: If you have central air in your home, this may be the place where your main unit is housed. This can be very costly to re-locate, so you may want to move on to a different location for additional space.
Down – Basement
Benefit: Most homes in New England have basements, so again, the room is already there. You just need to turn it into finished living space.
Benefit: Adding plumbing and electrical should be fairly easy to do since the water main and electrical panel should be nearby. If your utilities are exposed, tapping into them should come without much hassle.
Drawback: Basements can be cold, dark, and have utilities in scattered places. Re-locating utilities such as a water heater, plumbing, electrical, AC unit, etc. can add significant costs to your project budget. With regard to light, it can sometimes be difficult to make a basement feel open and airy when the windows are smaller than a normal window in your home.
Drawback: Water leaks - Worse than anything else, a basement can be a potential place for water leaks and damage. You should ensure your basement will not let in water by grading the land outside your home to keep water away from the foundation, install a sump pump, or add a French drain.
Left, Right, or back – New Addition to home
If your basement or attic isn’t an option, you may consider building out one side of your home. You should always educate yourself first on setback and easement rules provided by your town’s building department, as it will vary from town to town.
Benefit: Once you have decided on a direction to add, the sky’s the limit. Since this is totally new space, you will have the most options on how you can design it.
Benefit: The return on your investment will be the greatest with this option, as more square footage will equal more value in your home.
Drawback: The cost of adding to your existing home's foundation footprint will be more than finishing existing spaces in your home. With a completely new living space, you will need new foundation or footing piers installed to hold the structure, which is costly on its own.
Drawback: Making the addition feel like it is part of the existing home structure can be challenging. Work with your designer and contractor to make sure it blends well with the existing style of your home.
Overall, these pluses and minuses may weigh differently for each homeowner. If you would like to discuss the various options for your home, we're happy to assist! Contact the team for a free consultation today! Then check out our remodeling gallery for some ideas.
One of our favorite renovation projects, this finished basement hardly feels like a basement at all!
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The finished basement below is now a multipurpose area. It has everything from a mudroom, storage cabinets, living room, and kitchen!
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Consider adding a fireplace to your new basement room. It will instantly add warmth and character to your room.
Painting your window sills white will help to reflect any sunlight into your room.