With home additions, you can expand your current home with a separate living space. Nowadays, many homeowners aspire to add home additions. Even with a large house, there are times when you might crave a bigger bathroom, an additional bedroom, or a more spacious kitchen. This is where home additions come into play.

Home additions come in a wide variety, ranging from low-cost basement or attic expansions to costly, extensive conventional additions that require excavation, roofing, siding, and footings. Garage conversions also count as a type of home addition, as they add more living space in one go. Another increasingly popular option is a secondary living structure isolated from the main house, known as an ADU or DADU.

In this article, we will explore the most popular types of additions that can expand living space and discuss how to select the appropriate addition for your home.

Basement/Attic Expansion

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This is a perfect choice if you are trying to add more living space but do not want to change your home’s footprint. Although this might not be considered an addition since you are not expanding the actual footprint of your home, transforming a bare space in your attic or basement can be very cost-effective when it comes to adding a practical living space in your home. Additionally, it is also one of those expansion projects where you can recover your entire investment by adding value to your property.

However, there are certain structural requirements that must be satisfied in an attic or basement expansion so that you can convert them into code-approved additional living spaces. There should be substantial height for the ceiling; consequently, the structure of the ceiling and floor must comply with engineering requirements to support the loads of these additional living spaces.

According to local building codes, the attic must meet ventilation and insulation requirements, while the basement must be entirely dry. Keep in mind that attic conversions can only work if your home has an attic that is framed without using any roof trusses. If there are sleeping areas in your converted spaces, ensure they have egress exits, which could mean adding special windows.

Typically, on the national level, the average cost of completing a full attic living space is approximately $40,000, while basement finishing usually costs half of this. However, note that costs can greatly differ based on the size of the space and structural changes, such as adding new egress windows.

Room Addition

Bump-outs or room additions are the best option if you want to add a single room to your home. This addition refers to a single-room structure usually constructed at the side of a house. Normally, it is designed for a single purpose only, such as a bathroom or a bedroom. Sometimes its size is the same as a single room in the current house.

Room additions are a type of expansion that goes a step further. For instance, it could involve adding another 50 square feet to your kitchen to accommodate your kitchen island. Or you might want to extend your crowded dining area to create a comfortable space for eating and socializing. Most often, these room additions and bump-outs will require a new roofline, using a flat or shed-style roof.

Although these additions are less costly compared to full-size additions, they are not inexpensive. Keep in mind that they also require inspections, permits, and compliance with building codes. Additionally, a foundation is required, which can be costly. Hence, it is not surprising that these room additions could cost you up to $50,000.

Traditional House Addition

This type of home addition is ideal when you require more living space and have ample property around the house. A traditional home addition refers to a multi-room structure that can be constructed on the side of your house and will be seamlessly integrated into the main house.

This home addition can blend perfectly with your home, making it appear as a cohesive unit. Most often, a house addition can include various areas such as a dining room, a great room, a bathroom, a family room, a primary bedroom, or a guest bedroom. However, including a kitchen is quite rare unless, of course, the purpose of the addition is an apartment suite.

Just like constructing a full house, major home additions also come with several requirements and challenges. They necessitate the same permits and adherence to building codes.

Furthermore, they require extensive work such as foundation work, excavation, HVAC service, as well as subcontractors for the installation of plumbing and wiring. Additions that come with all the necessary features for independent living are also referred to as AADUs or Attached Accessory Dwelling Units.

Since this is a significant addition, the cost can vary widely, averaging about $72,000. However, it’s also possible that your total spend could reach $150,000 or even more, especially if you’re using high-end materials or if you have ample space to expand into.

Sunroom Addition

Adding a sunroom to the side of the house provides a protected recreational space, though it may not be classified as a living space. Typically, these areas can be closed off with doors.

Sunrooms are generally smaller than full-size additions and are often constructed from prefabricated materials such as thermal-resistant glass and aluminum, assembled on-site. They can also be built from concrete, lumber, and other materials, providing a solid structure that complements your current house.

It’s important to note that installing a sunroom can be expensive, typically costing around $30,000. However, there are DIY-friendly kit sunrooms available that can cost as little as $5,000, which may be worth considering if you’re a skilled DIYer.

Avoid using sunrooms as permanent sleeping areas, as they usually do not come equipped with bathrooms or kitchens. Since sunrooms are not designed to be permanent living structures, they offer some features that may not be feasible with a conventional addition.

For example, sunrooms can incorporate oversized glass and other types of fenestration that may not be possible with a standard addition. Additionally, heating or air conditioning is not typically required in sunrooms.

Garage Conversion

A garage conversion is a great option if you’re looking to add sufficient space with a relatively small investment, especially for in-law suites.

By incorporating flooring, a ceiling, and replacing the garage door with a solid wall, you can quickly transform your one or two-vehicle garage into a comfortable living space. Garage conversions often result in nice bedrooms and living rooms and can even evolve into full Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) with kitchens and bathrooms, particularly if a new detached garage is built elsewhere on the property.

Converting a garage into a habitable living space is tempting because it already has basic structures such as the roof, subfloor, foundation, and walls. Additionally, essential elements like windows and electricity are often already in place, with some garages even featuring drywall on the studs, reducing the necessary tasks.

However, garage conversions also have drawbacks. Matching the conversion functionally and aesthetically with the main house can be challenging, and major systems such as HVAC and plumbing may not be in the ideal locations, requiring additional installations.

For assistance with your home additions, contact Cardinal Custom Construction at 650-714-5103 or email us at dmadwed@gmail.com.