Room Additions

A room addition is a great way to increase living space and add value to your home. Whether you need to turn your attic into a bonus room, expand the size of your bedroom, or enclose your outdoor patio, a room addition can have a big impact on your family's needs and lifestyle.

If you feel like your home is bursting at the seams and space limitations have cramped your lifestyle, it may be time to add a room or two to the house. Take a look at your home's structure and property size, and consider a qualified room addition contractor to help accommodate your family's additional space needs.

Bedroom Additions: Take a small master bedroom and expand it to be a large suite, complete with a large master bathroom and seating area.

Considering a Room Addition to Your Home?

Before you begin an addition, assess your needs, then ask yourself six important questions that address your needs and concerns:

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1. Will The Addition Accomplish My Space Needs?

Before adding on, assess your current living space and determine if the addition will accomplish your needs and solve your problems. If your house is small and doesn't include a guest room, a bedroom addition would allow out-of-town family members and friends to visit more often. If your grandchildren love to play at your house, an added playroom would provide a safe space for activities.

Before you spend the money for a room addition, make sure it will add benefits to your lifestyle and give you needed space.

Usable Attics: Turn a seldom-used attic space and turn it into a gaming area, media room, or man cave.

Bathroom Additions: Add another bathroom to the home's floorplan for extra convenience (and value).

2. Will The Addition Increase Your Home’s Value?

Even if you don't plan to sell your home in the near future, you need to think about the impact of the room addition on resale value. Whether you sell, refinance, or take out a home equity line of credit, you'll want to get the best possible appraisal of your home.

Because room additions are typically costly, they often return less on investment than home remodels. According to building and real estate studies, an average payback on a single room addition like a bedroom or bathroom is about 53 percent. To maximize the return on your investment, add amenities that are in demand. For example, if most homes in your area have master suites, and you don't, that would be considered a good investment. Don't overbuild compared to neighboring houses. It will be more difficult to recoup your costs.

3. How Much Will The Addition Cost?

Since all houses, properties, and family needs are different, it's impossible to guess how much an addition will cost without talking to a local contractor.

In addition to building costs, you have to consider costs for furnishings and amenities. When you increase the square footage of your home, you also increase your heating and cooling energy costs. In addition, your property taxes will likely increase, since tax assessments are based on a home’s square footage. If you add new amenities like a fireplace, sauna, or hot tub, the assessment will increase even more.

Rising Costs: Your home remodeling project can grow in cost quicker than you'd anticipate. Make sure to budget your project with an experienced home remodeling contractor like DFW Improved so that you know what to expect.

Space to breathe: Don't sweat it if your investment payback isn't huge or immediate. You're still affording yourself and your family extra space to breathe and live – a worthy reason to expand!

4. Is There a Lower-Cost Alternative?

Even if your investment payback isn't great, you can still add on to your house. If you're planning to stay in your home for at least five years, and the addition will solve an important space problem, the addition will be worth it. To evaluate your options, you can look for other ways to achieve your space needs at a lower cost such as remodeling an existing attic or basement space, or simply re-configuring your existing living space.

5. How Should I Tie The Room Addition Into The House?

A room addition takes careful planning so it looks like it was always part of the house when it's finished. You need to consider how the roofline of the addition connects to the house and how to enhance the style of the house with doors, windows and exterior materials and finishes.

Depending on your space needs and property size, you will need to decide if you should build up or build out. If your property size restricts building out, building up may be your only option to achieve your goals, but building up is always more expensive. Main-level additions are often the simplest, since they don't require retrofitting the home's foundation. Second-story additions often require structural retrofitting down to the foundation, as well as moving interior walls and removing exterior materials.

6. Are There Any Zoning Restrictions That Will Affect The Project?

Most municipalities have zoning restrictions that dictate what you can build and where you can build it. For example, in most Texas residential areas, you're generally not allowed to build anything within 20 feet of the front of your property; 15 feet of the rear; and 7.5 feet of either side. There are also other building restrictions governing height which can limit room additions that build up instead of out. It's best to talk to your contractor about local building codes that may impact your addition.

Expanding Utilities

A room addition usually requires expanding your home’s existing utilities. Your heating and cooling, electrical and plumbing systems will need to accommodate the new space. The expansion can get complicated for two main reasons:

1. The equipment that runs these systems for your house, like the furnace, air conditioner, and electrical service panel may not be large enough to accommodate the expansion.

2. The new wiring and plumbing may be different than the existing wiring and plumbing in your house, especially if you live in an older home.

Your contractor will do a calculation based on a number of factors including location of windows and doors and cubic living space to determine whether your existing equipment can handle the additional load needed for the addition. If the existing HVAC system is too small, you will have to choose between upgrading your existing system or installing a separate unit for the new space. Split systems work well for room additions.

Your electrician will inspect your existing electrical service panel to see if it can handle the additional circuits for your new addition. If it can’t, you will have to upgrade the panel or replace it with a larger panel that can handle the electrical load for lights, appliances and outlets in the new space.

Room additions are a great way to transform your home and increase your living space. Even small additions can yield big results, particularly in bathrooms and kitchens where three or four feet can make a big difference. If you’re considering a room addition, talk to a licensed, local contractor who can help you address your space needs, construction concerns, and building costs.

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