Home Expansion Decisions: Building Up Or Out?

Jan 15, 2021

When adding onto your home, there are two primary ways to expand: up and out.

How you choose to expand your home depends on what type of addition you’re seeking to achieve.

Building Out

The majority of home expansions are typically built on the ground-floor level of your home. The expansion process of building out is less complicated than building up. In order to build out, you’ll need to hire a contractor who will likely excavate part of your yard with a backhoe. The contractor will then install a new foundation and then construct the new walls and roof of the addition.

Advantages of Building Out

Typically, building out requires less disruption to your current layout. Additionally, depending on the size of your addition, you may not even require any foundation work at all. If you’re adding something like a granny flat or in-law suite to your home, you may only need an easy bump out.

A bump out is considered an additional space that is much smaller than a full house addition. Bump outs are typically smaller than an average bedroom, so they don’t require their own HVAC system.

Disadvantages of Building Out

While building out might be just what your home needs, you should be aware of the potential disadvantages. Building out will mean losing some of your yard. And, depending on the size of your expansion, you may need to get a zoning variance from your local government.

However, neither of these slight disadvantages should deter you from getting the addition you want.

Building Up

Another option for home expansion is building up. When building up, you will not disturb the footprint of your home. Building up could include adding another story onto your home or expanding an existing top floor. It could also look like adding living space above an existing garage or sunroom.

When building up, your contractor will likely have to expose and fortify your existing foundation and walls in order to support the added weight.

Advantages of Building Up

One of the biggest advantages of building up is that you won’t lose any yard space. If you don’t have much yard space, building out might not be an option—you might want to consider building up. Additionally, building up means you won’t bump into any annoying zoning restrictions regarding how far you can expand your living space.

Disadvantages of Building Up

As with anything in life, there are always some disadvantages. Some counties limit the allowed height for houses, which could be an issue if you’re trying to build up.

Additionally, your contractor will probably have to tear apart the walls and ceilings in the rooms below your addition, meaning you might have to replace electrical, plumbing, and heating lines. This of course could become an expensive and time-consuming project.

Again, none of these possible outcomes should deter you from building up if a second story expansion is your dream.

Types of Additions

If you’re looking into types of additions for your home, you might be wondering whether you need to build out or up.

The purpose of your addition will help you determine whether you need to build horizontally or vertically.

Building Out Expansion Options:

– Sunroom
– Family room
– Garage
– Kitchen
– Patio

Building Up Expansion Options:

– Weight room
– Master suite
– Bedroom
– Over garage addition
– Office expansion

Let the purpose of your home addition guide which way you choose to expand.

How Expensive is Home Expansion?

When considering expansion, it’s important to know the range of costs involved in building up or out.

Building out can be less expensive than building up. Can is the operative word here. The general rule is when building new construction, building up with a two-story home is cheaper than building out. However, when remodeling, building out with a one-story addition is cheaper than adding a second story to an existing dwelling.

On average, it costs between $140 and $180 per square foot to expand your home’s footprint outwards.

Of course, this does not account for the literal construction of the room and any of the furnishing and finishes attached.

By contrast, a second story addition typically costs between $180 to $250 per square foot. Depending on the size of room you’re building, this cost can add up quickly. And again, those numbers don’t account for the furnishing of the room.

Some of the costs associated with building up include:

– A staircase
– Structural supports
– Plumbing
– A new HVAC
– Building permits
– Repairs to the first floor

Some of the costs of building out include:

– Additional plumbing work
– Permit fees
– Pouring a new foundation
– Upgrading HVAC

Talk to Your Local Agent

If you are considering a home expansion, you probably have a lot of questions about the process. The first step in starting your expansion should be to contact a knowledgeable, local agent.

If you live in or near Kosciusko county, don’t hesitate to contact experienced agent, Kim Clark. With nearly 20 years of experience, Kim can assist you in the home expansion process and answer any questions you may have along the way. Contact Kim today.

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