Home additions are the perfect solution for families that love their homes and community but need more space. They're also a great alternative to move if you've got enough land and town zoning. Sometimes you need an extra bedroom or maybe it's a family room so when you're cooking, you can also watch young children playing or supervise homework.
Once you recognize that adding onto your house is your best alternative, it's time to research which type of home addition will help you the most. One approach is to sit down and identify your family's activities at home and things you do elsewhere that you'd rather do at home if you had the space. For example, if you had a family entertainment center, would you have a family movie night (cheaper than going to the movies) and even entertain at home more by inviting other families to join you for movies?
So let's explore the 6 basic types of home additions you can use to create more living space (and get tips on cost, reading Home Additions: Costs and Value at Resale) …
How much additional living space will probably have the most influence on which of these home additions you pick. If you simply need some more space in one room, i.e. 2 more feet in the kitchen to add an island, you might go with a small bump-out. Often homeowners want one more room, a family room or master bedroom suite (okay, 2 rooms) and other times you'll want to add several rooms and then you'll likely look at adding a second story (on top of a one story home) or two-story home addition.
Small Home Additions or Bump-Outs
Often when you're remodeling a room in your existing space, you need a few more feet to accomplish your goals. Sometimes you can “borrow” space from an adjoining room or re-purpose a closet, and other times you need a small addition called a bump-out. Bump-outs are home additions that extend a wall a few feet to allow you to add a kitchen island, a shower or bathtub to a bathroom or maybe you want an entryway with a closet? In fact some bump-outs are done for aesthetics to make your home's exterior more appealing.
After bump-outs, your next choice of home additions is a single-room addition. This room, may be a standard sized room that's 10 x 12 feet (120 square feet) to a large family room that's the full depth of your home, maybe 12 x 28 ft (336 sq ft). You'll need to start considering what your budget is for this new space and generally you can calculate cost by the square foot (read …) although bathrooms will cost more because of plumbing and other fixtures.
When I was building one home, I wanted to include a square bathtub for my 2 young boys to play in, so I asked my builder what it would cost to add 4 additional feet onto the house. Good question but I couldn't afford the cost so I went with 2 additional feet and a traditional bathtub. The most common single room, home additions are a family room, bedroom or master suite and a mud room.
When you need more than one room, a good option is a two story addition. The traditional 2-story addition is attached to your home and may only require extending hallways to reach the new rooms on each floor. You can get a lot more creative with home additions that are stand-alone and use passageways to connect the new rooms to your existing home, i.e. this might be the way to add a garage to your home or capture a great view (if your lot and zoning allow).
Home additions that are detached provide privacy — for an in-law apartment so your parents aren't living on top of you, or rental income when you don't need the space for a family member.
Second Story Home Additions Add Multiple Rooms
Need more than 2 extra rooms? You might consider a two-story addition if you're on a smaller lot and need lots of extra rooms. In fact you'll two-story home additions common in older neighborhoods where the original homes built more than 20 years ago where small and new families want the added space as their families grow.
Second story home additions add space vertically so you get more function, comfort and increased home value while protecting your outside space, i.e. your front lawn, back deck and yard for the kids to play.
Exterior Structures That Add More Living Space
We typically don't think of exterior structures like a porch or deck, as part of a home's square footage … so should they really be considered home additions? They're typically not counted as square footage or living area in your house appraisal. That's why you want to be cautious as there's quite a bit of controversy about sun rooms built to the same standards as the rest of the house and whether they be included in the square footage calculation (conversation on AppraisersForum.com).
Outdoor living spaces though, are becoming very popular so don't be scared. More homeowners are looking for family friendly neighborhoods with sidewalks and front porches like Highfield Commons in Rochester, NH. Home additions (roof and foundation) are now competing with more extensive decks and patios, often with outdoor kitchens are also popular places for relaxing and entertaining.