Mortgage Dove

The Complete Guide To Adding An Addition To Your Home

When it comes to home additions, it can be hard to know what you don't know. What effect will an addition have on resale value? How do the building codes apply? Is it possible to DIY it? Would a contractor be necessary? All of these factors should be considered before adding on to your home whether you’re adding a second floor or just a cute dormer. We'll provide you with some starter information in this article if you're thinking about having additions to your home in the future.

A home addition is one of the most complicated and expensive home improvement projects. The process of building a new room addition involves digging foundations, framing, and finishing the new living space to change the home's actual floor plan. In some cases, this could be as much as or more than the original cost of the house depending on the size and purpose of the addition.

According to the National Association of Realtors , building an addition to a house could cost the homeowner as much as $90,000 to triple that amount. It isn't possible to find a calculator that estimates the cost of building an addition, so you should call and compare quotes from different contractors. No other project has such potential to improve the livability and real estate value of your home addition despite its enormous scope and cost.

Even though homeowners can build additions to their houses themselves, this is a rare undertaking. Most of the time, these projects are the responsibility of a general contractor and/or a variety of subcontractors. It takes a wide range of skills to complete a room addition, and almost no one - not even a skilled tradesperson - can do it alone.

This does not mean, however, that the owners are hands-off. To make informed decisions and ensure the work meets their expectations, homeowners should be involved in every step of the process. You will be able to schedule and supervise the work of all the various subcontractors who will work on your project if you accept the challenge of managing the project yourself. Homeowners may also choose to handle certain aspects of the overall project themselves, such as painting or doing the final finish carpentry work.

Whatever your degree of participation is, it helps to see the work as one big step-by-step project to fully grasp how contractors work, to adequately evaluate and supervise their activity, and anticipate how you might help.

What You Need To Know Before You Start

While specific building materials and tools vary from project to project, as a general rule, home additions include most of the same elements that go into building a new house. Materials and tools used in constructing a major room addition can range from heavy excavation equipment and concrete tools to stains and varnishes used to finish woodwork and cabinetry.

Because few building trade professionals possess all the tools or all the skills necessary to complete a major room addition, it is common for the work to be overseen by a general contractor (GC). The GC bids on your job and supervises and pays various subcontractors to complete the project. It's possible to plan a project yourself, but hiring and supervising subcontractors on your own is a daunting task that many homeowners regret. The process of adding a room will go much more smoothly if you hire a general contractor.

You must be prepared for the fact that it takes a long time to build an addition to your house. In the hands of skilled contractors, the project may only take two to four weeks of eight-hour workdays, but there is a lot of wait time between phases as inspectors/the next subcontractor arrive. It is not uncommon for a major room addition to reach completion in the fall with projects that begun in late spring. In many cases, the time required depends on the availability of labor and materials in your area.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Building an Addition to a House

1. Assess the Budget and Scope

It is essential to conduct extensive research and determine the size and scope of the work before beginning a room addition project. Construction of a home addition is similar to building a house. It involves designing, budgeting, obtaining permits, hiring contractors and subcontractors, and constructing the structure.

2. Secure the Funds

Adding a room to a home is not something most homeowners can afford on a cash basis. Therefore, a loan or line of credit is required. A home equity loan , second mortgage, or line of credit is usually obtained based on the equity in the home -- the value of the home minus any outstanding mortgage or loan balance.

3. Choose a General Contractor

Most people will find it more convenient to hire a general contractor (GC) to complete a room addition. While a general contractor typically has a salaried staff of general carpenters who perform most of the work, they also hire specialty subcontractors who will perform tasks such as plumbing, wiring, and HVAC. You will pay the general contractor directly in agreed-upon installments for the project, and the GC will supervise his own employees and subcontractors.

4. Consider Working With an Architect (If Appropriate)

Although some contractors can design your addition or use stock building plans, hiring an architect is often the best option. Choosing an architect recommended by the contractor can be beneficial as it ensures both parties are familiar with each other. However, if you're considering such an arrangement, make sure you perform due diligence and ensure the architect is qualified—not just a friend of the general contractor.

5. Obtaining Permits and Preparing the Site

It is the contractor's responsibility to obtain permits. These permits will be posted on your property in a visible location. An advertising sign identifying the company building your addition and a portable toilet will get dropped off by a crew.

6. Building the Foundation

As with a new house, most room additions have a full-scale foundation. Depending on the plans, the crew will pour a concrete slab or excavate for a crawlspace or basement, then pour concrete footers and foundation walls.

7. Frame the Structure

Floors, walls, and roof are framed once the concrete for the foundation has cured. The work can be done in a surprising amount of time when a large and experienced crew is involved. The entire skeleton of framing appears one day when you come home from work.

8. Adding the Sheathing and Roofing

The framing work is quickly followed by wall and roof sheathing, house wrap, roofing paper, and shingles. It is essential to give the structure a good measure of weather-proofing so the crews can continue working under shelter. Most of the wall and roof sheathing is installed by the same crew that does the basic framing, but a subcontractor usually installs shingles and other roofing materials.

9. Installing Windows and Doors

Usually, installing new windows and doors come after the roof is installed/or sometimes simultaneously. It keeps the structure weathertight for subsequent work. During this stage, the building is considered "dried-in," which means it is protected from the elements.

It is usually stock elements ordered from the manufacturer that is used for room additions. They are installed easily by the general carpenters.

10. Electrical, Plumbing, and HVAC Rough-Ins

Essential services like electrical, plumbing and cooling/heating are "roughed-in". This means that behind-the-scenes elements like pipes, wiring, and ductwork are installed as the walls, floors, and ceilings are still in their unfinished framed condition with the framing members exposed.

11. Adding Insulation and Drywall

After completing the mechanical inspections, the project is starting to resemble a complete structure with insulation and drywall. In addition to fiberglass batts, sprayed foam, and blown-in cellulose insulation, a wide variety of options is available. Drywalling has many stages: hanging the sheets, "mudding" the seams with wet drywall compound, letting that compound dry, and then sanding the seams.

12. Complete the Interior

The next step is to install the flooring and cabinetry as well as to paint the ceilings and walls. There is no right way to do either task. The order is also often determined by schedule availability. Painting contractors are experienced in painting cleanly after the finished flooring has been installed, but trim work is easier to install after the walls have been painted. With small projects, painting and flooring are often done by finish carpenters, though large jobs may call for painting and flooring subcontractors.

13. Making Fixture Connections

After the project is completed, plumbers, electricians, and HVAC technicians will complete the installation and final hookups for plumbing fixtures, light fixtures, wall switches, outlets, and HVAC equipment. Several of these tasks can be completed simultaneously with the interior finishing work.

14. Finalize the Landscaping

The landscape that had been removed to facilitate easy access to the site is now repaired as the home interior nears completion. The earthmoving equipment may return to backfill around the foundation, contour, and level the yard. Landscaping contractors will likely arrive to plant shrubs and trees and restore the lawn.

15. Completing the Punch List

Miscellaneous items left to do are listed on a punch list. These are finishing touches that should have been noticed or had to wait for other work. Most of the time, contractors and homeowners compile their own checklists into a master checklist.

Is it a Good Idea to Add an Addition to my House?

House additions are investments for homeowners whether it's a small bump-out with a remodel or a full-blown addition. You have more incentive to make it yours if you do not plan on moving anytime soon. Your home improvement project will provide you with value for many years to come.

In the future, if you decide to sell your house, you must consider its resale value. It is important to make sure the add-on is cost-effective. If the value of your house increases with a tasteful addition, investing in your home might get a high return on investment.

How Much Does House Addition Cost?

Adding a room to your house will cost you based on what you want and what your home has to offer. Generally, the bigger the project, the more expensive it will be. If you're hiring a contractor, you may see a wide range of different contractor estimates.

While you may be able to DIY the project, you must be confident in your skills and willing to sacrifice your time. Whenever you find yourself needing financial assistance, there are several options available to you such as a cash-out refinance , construction loans ,  home improvement loans , and more.

There are some limits that homeowners need to set when it comes to adding on to their homes. If you are considering expanding your home, is it easy to say you want more square footage? Is that something you can afford? What is the best way to add a sunroom to your home while still maintaining its value?

An addition to your home can be a huge investment in terms of time and money. It can also disturb the comfort of your home for a long time.

Do You Plan To Do This Yourself Or Will You Hire A Contractor?

Imagine spending $8,000 on materials you can't even use. In the case of doing it alone, you're responsible for any mistakes you make. Even worse, your mistakes might not become apparent until you flip a light switch.

Before you begin, make sure you understand your limitations and know when help is needed. If you are capable of framing and hanging drywall, but the thought of wiring makes your skin crawl, why not hire a contractor? It would be great if you had a friend with electrical experience who could help you out in exchange for some free pizza or at a discount.

Consider hiring out some of the work and doing some of it yourself to save money. Whenever you hire a contracting company, they contract out a job for you. Most of the time, contractors charge a markup to their subcontractors. When you hire a contractor, you're paying for their recommendation, as well as the fact that the contractor stands behind the work their subcontractor does.

The best thing you can do if you don't know how to hammer a hole is to hire an experienced general contractor. When it comes to something as important as an addition to your home, it is best to get professional assistance. An addition can be built to your specifications with the help of the right contractor. Their work may increase your home's resale value.

What Are The Best Ways To Find A Reputable Contractor?

A lot depends on who you know. In the event that you do not know anyone well-versed in this field, ask anyone you know who has had similar work done in your family, friends, and co-workers.

If they are satisfied with the work their contractor did, they will be more than happy to share it with you. Meanwhile, if they had a terrible experience, they'll be glad to share that with you as well.

There are numerous grading services available including those offered by contractors. Hiring a trustworthy contractor may provide you peace of mind. If a fee is worth the peace of mind, go for it.

Home Addition Ideas

Have you ever thought of adding square footage to your home, but don't know where to begin? Alternatively, you might have an idea of what you'd like to add to your home but aren't sure how to proceed.


Take a look at some of the most popular extra rooms and find some inspiration for your home addition.

1. Kitchen Addition

Whether you want to replace the appliances and cabinets in your kitchen is an important consideration when taking into account an addition. It may be costly to appraise these two factors, but if you do not include them in your new addition, it may feel fragmented and incomplete.

2. Sunroom Addition

It doesn't matter how modest your home is, a beautiful sunroom will add value to it. It's easy to see through these rooms because of the abundance of natural light they let in. If you're considering adding a sunroom to your house, whether it's to enclose an existing porch or to build off your front entryway, a sunroom will provide plenty of light.

3. Bathroom Addition

Adding onto your home a bathroom is one of the best ways to increase its value. If you want to install a water closet, you can either change the closet or turn the area under the stairs into one, or you can construct a whole new room. There is no doubt that the more features you add, the more expensive it will be.

4. Home Office Addition

It is becoming increasingly important to have a functional home office with the growing number of people working from home. There are two ways to make an office: you can convert a spare bedroom or a section of the basement. But if you don't have either, you can add an office to your house.


5. Second-Story Addition

There are a lot of things to think about when it comes to adding a second story to an existing home. With this method, you could almost double the square footage of your one-story home, turning it into a two-story. A bathroom and another bedroom could be added to the new space, or you could build out the master bedroom of your dreams.

The Bottom Line

It is very crucial that you secure the proper financing before you embark on an exciting adventure like adding a home addition. Considering that the addition will likely increase the overall value of the house, it is necessary to keep this in mind.

"Mortgage Dove makes home financing convenient for every American. You can count on us to provide a home buying experience tailored to your personal needs and financial situation. We strive to give you the peace of mind that your home financing goals can be achieved.”


Other Related Articles you may be interested in