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There are pluses to remodeling and to adding on, but it all depends on your home and your family’s needs.

It’s time. Whether you’ve outgrown your current home, are frustrated by its functionality (or lack thereof), or want to revamp a tired room or few, you’re ready to take on a home improvement project. The question is, should you remodel your current space, or add on?

The answer will depend on your home’s specific needs and what conditions you have to work with. Read on, and we’ll help you assess your home’s current situation and determine whether a remodeling project or an addition is right for you.


The scope of a remodel can be—but isn’t always—simpler than adding on to your home’s footprint. Again, it depends on your home and your family’s needs. Taking on a remodeling project is a big decision, but might be necessary in order to make your home comfortable and livable for everyone.

You might consider remodeling instead of an addition if:

– You have a smaller lot, or not a lot of room for an addition

– If your home is big enough, but lacks a needed function or flow

– You don’t have the budget for an addition, but you need more functional space or there’s a key layout change to make

– You’re moving into a new home and want to mold it to your needs

Renovating smartly and creatively can provide an alternate to an addition. Think adding space without adding space. There are two great ways to do this:

Basement renovations: You can add square footage to your home without building an addition by finishing your basement. Code requires an egress, so don’t leave that out of your plans. Natural light can be tricky, but there are ways to solve that issue: light wells and enlarged basement window wells being two options.

– Attic renovations: If you have enough headroom, the attic can be a good place to gain footage in your home without the land surveys, excavation, and foundation work required for an addition. If you need more headroom, consider dormers (though technically, dormers are additions).

For some, renovating a few rooms or one area of your house will meet your needs. For others, a whole-house renovation is what you want. Read up on maximizing your whole house renovation for tips on how to take that process on effectively.


If your home and your family’s needs go above and beyond where a renovation can take you, an addition could be the answer. Consider an addition if:

– You need more space, and basement or attic renovations aren’t possible or are already completed

– The space and acreage is available to support an addition

– You have more money to work with. Additions are typically more costly than renovations

– Less intrusion is important to you. You can usually continue living in your home because the addition is a separate, cordoned off area

– You’re interested in resale value. Adding on adds to the value of your home by increasing the square footage

While a renovation can be less expensive and make planning simpler, sometimes adding extra space is the only way to accomplish what you want. But before taking on an addition, there are some things to be aware of.

With an addition:

– The cost of building a foundation, walls, and a roof are about half the cost of a construction project, with the finishes making up the other half

– Building and zoning department approval are necessary

– Land surveys and plot plans are needed to get approval for construction

– Storm water management solutions can be costly, and the price goes up as the size of your addition goes up

Weather is another factor. Rain, snow, sleet, and high winds all could delay your project when doing an addition. Know this going in, and make sure you contractor builds some extra time into the schedule for any weather-related delays.

Middle ground

Still wondering whether a renovation or an addition is right for you? There is middle ground. Try a remodel with a small new footprint. Sometimes adding on just a little bit can make a huge difference providing you enough space to get a necessary new staircase or hallway.

Whatever path you choose, keep an open mind to new design ideas. Have a frank conversation with your design/build team about your budget and what is possible within that limit. You don’t want to over design, only to discover you can’t afford to build it.

Hiring A Remodeling Contractor

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