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  • Writer's pictureWestring Construction

Home Additions Are Viable Options to Moving

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Adding a second story could be an option – here the project “builds up” and “builds out.” Growing your home, whether through home additions or a whole house remodel, is an option that often proves better than finding a new house. When you really like your neighborhood in Madison WI and the surrounding communities, your property and the home you have, a major makeover might be the answer. Rather than a major move, consider:

  • Building up – can you add a second story to your existing ranch-style home?

  • Building out – is there room on your property to add a third garage, a new wing to the house or to “bump out” walls to expand usable space?

  • Expand from within – is your older home dated and in need of an up-date? Can you create the popular “open concept” by removing some interior walls to improve traffic patterns, sightlines and the overall efficiency of space?

Home additions that include a “bump out” like the one adding windows and space to this kitchen are cost-effective. Before you start drawing up plans for your second story addition or new family room wing, there are local and regional zoning restrictions and building codes to research. In Dane County and the surrounding municipalities, including Madison WI, there are very specific laws governing what you can build and where. Before investing in detailed blueprints and getting your hopes too high, make sure what you want fits within the guidelines of your community. The various considerations include:

  • Setback from the street

  • Space between any structure and your lot line

  • How close a new building can be to a wetland – your existing home may be fine but an addition could encroach

  • Some areas restrict how tall a building can be

Home Additions – Building Up When planning home additions one of the first questions to ask is “what would I want if I was building a new house?” Adding to an existing house requires finesse and style to make the home additions look like they belong. Consider how the roof line will connect and blend in to existing style, how will windows and architectural styles and finishes work together. There are also major utility and heating/air conditioning concerns. Making home additions look like they’ve been part of the house forever isn’t easy. You can add a second floor to a single-story home or even a two-story structure under the right circumstances.

Building up increases usable living space without increasing the home’s overall footprint. No need to give up any valuable yard space or excavate for a new foundation – although the existing foundation should be evaluated and reinforced when necessary. Adding one room means adding a lot of weight, so a whole second floor is a serious load. The benefits include:

  • More square feet without losing yard space

  • No changes in setback restrictions

There are drawbacks, consider:

  • If there are height limits in your community you can’t build up – also consider overhead wires

  • Adding a second floor means adding a stairwell which will take additional space out of the existing first floor

  • The process will require tearing apart existing walls and ceilings to enhance support and install HVAC, electrical wiring, plumbing, insulation and duct work

  • Building up requires a long commitment that will disrupt your life for its duration

Building Out – Another Option

In most cases home additions are thought of in terms of building out rather than up. Adding a new room or “bumping out” walls to gain space are significant elements in whole house remodel plans. Adding a new mud room, family room or home office may require additional walls, roof and foundation. These additions increase living space while also increasing the home’s footprint. Increasing your space via a “bump out” doesn’t necessarily require additional foundation work and it can increase the overall impact of the project without a major increase in square footage. Benefits Include:

  • A less intrusive project – very often, much of the addition can be finished before opening up the walls to the existing home

  • Easier to blend with the existing architecture of the home

  • Immediately contributes to the open concept within the home

  • Even a relatively small bump out can have an extensive impact – visually and physically in rooms like the kitchen or family room

There are drawbacks, too:

  • Building out means giving up yard space

  • There may be zoning and building codes to consider – variances are sometimes possible, but don’t count on it, home additions should not be planned assuming a variance will be obtained

Make Changes From The Inside Out Making structural home additions should be the option when you need more bedrooms, extra bathrooms or more garage space. If you aren’t looking for more space, but want to make what you have more efficient and pleasing, making changes from the inside out is the answer. A whole house remodel leaves the exterior as it is while giving the interior a complete makeover. Whichever plan you’re considering, it’s important to look at how it impacts the value of your home. There are resale considerations – even if you aren’t planning to sell now, you may someday. And there are tax considerations – up-dates increase assessments. Some home additions provide a stronger return on investment than others. Additions, because of their scope, are almost always more costly than a whole house remodel. A Remodeling magazine study suggests the following values associated with additions and remodels:

  • A two-story addition with a family room below and a master suite upstairs = 65% return

  • Master suite only = 63% return

  • A new bathroom addition = 53%

  • A sunroom or three-season porch addition = 49%

To maximize the value of a remodel or addition, include amenities that are most popular in the Madison WI area – master suites, large bathrooms with walk-in showers, first floor laundry and mud rooms, kitchens with islands, pantries and lots of natural light. Costs Beyond Time and Materials

There are two budgets to consider for home additions. The first is to cover the time and materials required for a contractor and crews to get the job completed. The second is an operating budget. Increasing the size of your home means increasing energy bills, especially heating and cooling. New bathrooms will use more hot water, gas fireplaces more natural gas, etc. And the government will want its share in property taxes. These are all costs that will extend well after the whole house remodel or addition is complete.

TIP FROM A PRO: Now’s the time to include HDMI cables and other tech-related features in the walls for wall-mounted TV sets, Smart Home connectivity, etc. It’s always easier to do during construction than later.

Westring Construction LLC has the expertise and experience to review all the options for home additions anywhere in Dane County and surrounding areas including Sun Prairie, Waunakee, Middleton, Verona, Fitchburg, McFarland, Cottage Grove and Stoughton.

Call Westring Construction LLC at 608-441-5435 or email us to get started on home additions and whole house remodeling projects in Madison WI.

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