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Is an addition the same cost per square foot as new construction?
The answer here is no. It is usually higher. This is because there is added cost of demolition of the existing structure. During construction there is a need to protect the existing structure from dust and damage - especially if you are living in the rest of the house. Additions and remodels are designed to use what we think is behind the existing walls. This best guess is just that and once we can see the skeleton of the house there are usually a few surprises to be found which sometimes can be more costly.
Sometimes the addition is only the kitchen or bath. Both of these rooms are more expensive to construct than a bedroom without fixtures, plumbing and extensive electrical work. The high cost of these rooms is averaged with the lower cost of bedrooms when computing the price per square foot for new house.
Should I remodel my present home or build elsewhere?
One of the major reasons to remodel is to stay in the same location. You like your neighbors, schools, proximity to work or facilities and just want to stay put but you want to change or add to the space you have.
Sometimes the cost of remodeling to get what you want is much too high. This is especially true if the existing house has poor wiring, foundations, plumbing, dry rot and the like. It may be that it is less expensive to tear down the old house and start over on the same site.
If where you are is much too small and there is no room for expansion it may be necessary to relocate. You should also be careful about adding so much to your house that you are the only house in the area that is in that price bracket. Having the most expensive house will tend to reduce your resale value.
My house has 2x4 walls. Can I add an upstairs?
In this day of 2x6 wall construction many people mistakenly think that a 2x4 wall will not support an upstairs. This is not true. The purpose of the 2x6 wall is to allow for additional thermal insulation. Going up may require that we add some concrete under the exterior walls to support the extra weight, but it is easily done. The biggest design obstacle to adding up is finding space for the stairs in the existing downstairs floor plan.
Where do I start?
Pictures are worth a thousand words. Look at home magazines and plan books. Cut out pictures of things you like. Take snapshots of houses you like around town. Collect these ideas together and write down lists of things you like and dislike about your house now. You can also contact me for a questionnaire which may get your ideas flowing.