House extensions enable you to design the living space you want, adding to the home you already love. Extending your existing home may even prove cheaper and less stressful than buying a new house and moving. Whether you want an extra bedroom, a home office, a play room for your growing family, a workshop, larger kitchen or extended patio, house conversions offer the best solutions at prices to suit your budget.
Purpose of the Extensions: When considering extending your home, there are a few points to consider, the most important being the purpose of the extension. Is the new space going to be a self-contained area such as a granny flat, is the new space going to accommodate a growing family or are you using the add-on for commercial use? Regardless of the reason for wanting the extension, they should be seen as an investment to increase the property value of your home. For this reason, extensions should only be done by professionals.
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DIY extensions of any kind are strongly not recommended. Adding construction to your existing home requires specialised knowledge of architecture and engineering and should not be attempted by anyone without the proper training. House extensions directly affect the structural integrity of your home and could result in serious damage to the existing building if not done correctly. Compromising the structures of your home could even place you and your family in danger from structural failure.
Types of Extensions: Before deciding on the dimensions of the extension, consider the size of your property and the general value of the homes in your area. Over capitalising on a smaller property may have adverse effects on your property value in the long run. Typical home extensions include larger kitchens, lounges and patios, extra bedrooms and home office space. Always check with local councils before starting construction as certain building permissions may be required.
Building Up vs. Building Out: If you need more room in your home, but your plot is already very small, you may think there's nothing to do but buy a larger home. In these cases, it may be possible for you to build your extension upward rather than outward by adding a second or even third story to your home. This will depend on several factors, including your home's structure and ability to bear the weight of the addition. It's possible to modify your home to bear more weight, but keep in mind that these projects can become costly very quickly. Conversely, if you have more available plot, you may opt to build your home outward instead of upward. This is often less costly since it requires far less labour.
Should You Consider an Extension? Many homeowners wonder whether they should consider building an extension on their existing home or simply selling their home and moving to a larger one. This is often a challenging decision, but there are several factors to consider. If you can get the building permits, and if you have enough space on your property, a house extension is usually the most cost-effective way to add additional living space. What's more, you can design your space to your liking - including the size and style. This gives you some room for customization that you may not have if you choose to buy another house.
Cost of Extensions: The cost of house extensions depends on the scale of the project, materials required, ground conditions and physical labour involved. Any additional services such as structural re-enforcing, installing new electrical and plumbing systems, adding insulation or installing new heating/cooling system will also affect the price. Affordable options do exist. Don't go cheap just to save a few pennies. Shabby extensions may negatively impact the value of your home.
Planning for Your New Extension: In most cases, the contractors who build house extensions will work hard to keep the rest of your home perfectly liveable for as long as possible. You should expect some additional noise from the building process, however. In some cases, homeowners can stay in their homes throughout the entire process. In other cases, and especially when walls need to be removed, homeowners may need to leave the home for anywhere from a day to a week. Your builder should be able to provide you with more information about what to expect after surveying your property and talking with you about your needs.
The Extension Process: Before a single brick is laid, the architect and or structural engineer will conduct a survey of your home, drawing up plans for the extensions to suit your needs and ideas. Given a satisfactory plan, you will then be provided with a quote for the estimated cost of the job before signing the contract. If you approve of the quote and plans, you will sign the contract and construction will begin.
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Your house extension questions answered
- Can I modify my floor plan at the same time I have an extension added on? Yes, although some layouts are more difficult and time-consuming than others are. Your builder can discuss any modifications you would like during the consultation phase.
- Do I need really need permission for a house extension? Most local governments do require permits before house extensions can be added. There may be exceptions if extending under 10% of your current footprint, but you should always check in advance.
- Can house extensions be a do-it-yourself job? This will depend on the type and size of the extension that is being done. Some small house extensions can be done as a do-it-yourself job, but larger or more complex extensions should be done by a professional contractor.
- Are loft, garage, and basement conversions considered home extensions? Yes. Any time you make alterations to your home, whether they are internal or external, they are considered an extension. It also includes loft, basement, and garage conversions that don't change the dimensions of the room.
- Is there a minimum size that my house extension must be? No, house extensions can be as small or as large as you would like, and are often performed simply to stretch the size of a home by only one or two metres.
- Will a house extension increase my home's value? In most cases, a home extension will significantly increase your home's value. The return on your investment will depend on things like your location, the size of your extension, and the quality of the work.
- Can I add a basement if my home wasn't built with one? This is a common question among homeowners, and the answer varies. In many cases, it is possible to add a basement to an existing home, but it is a very labour-intensive process that requires significant skill and expertise. Remember that the entire weight of the home will still need support. Be sure to put this in your quote request if this is the service you are interested in; not all contractors will provide it.
- Will the extension mimic my home's original architecture? When you hire the right professional, it's possible to build an addition that looks like it's always been a part of your home, whether you live in a Victorian home or a country cottage. You may find that building regulation insist on the style matching in order to approved the extension.
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