There are all kinds of reasons to consider placing an addition on your home, but the main goal for most homeowners is to increase the livable square footage in their structure. Perhaps you want to transform a makeshift mud room into a warm and inviting foyer with plenty of storage. Or maybe you need extra bedrooms to accommodate your growing family or make a separate space for an elderly parent. It could be that your kitchen and living room just aren’t big enough for your entertaining needs. Whatever functional concerns you have, building an addition will certainly give you the extra space you need for living. And of course, it doesn’t hurt that extra square footage increases your resale value, especially if you’re tacking extra bedrooms and bathrooms onto your listing. However, there are also plenty of ways that you could end up damaging your anticipated return on investment. Here are some home addition mistakes that you should know about so that you can avoid them.
- Foundation issues. Before a foundation can be laid, you should probably undergo a soil study to make sure the placement is suitable and that the ground is going to remain stable. That said, it might not be a bad idea to be present when the foundation is laid so you can see that it’s done right. You might have heard horror stories of contractors that neglect to lay a vapor barrier, for example, leading to moisture seeping in through the foundations, or of concrete that is poured and allowed to set unevenly. Generally speaking, this is not the case, but the foundation is probably the most important part of the structure – if you have to replace or repair it down the line, it’s going to cost you.
- Awkward placement. To some degree, the size and shape of your lot, the placement of your structure, and city building codes will limit the choices you have when it comes to planning a home addition. But if at all possible, you’ll want to make the addition blends seamlessly with your existing structure, as though it had been there all along. Additions that are poorly placed and executed can prove to be eyesores on the exterior of the home and functional nightmares indoors.
- Cheap materials. There’s just no getting around the fact that you get what you pay for. And when you opt to cheap out on materials, you’re not going to get the durability, longevity, or look that most buyers are seeking. This isn’t to say that you need to add marble flooring and crystal chandeliers to an addition on an average family home. But you do need to make sure the structure is sound and that the materials match what is already present in the rest of the home.
- Building code violations. Although you will almost certainly have to undergo inspections by the city throughout the construction process, things can get missed or pushed under the rug. This is exactly what you don’t want. If your home addition is found to have violated building codes when you put your property on the market, you’ll have to get them fixed before you can sell your home. So find out when inspectors are coming and make the time to meet with them.
- Inadequate insulation. There are two good reasons to spend a little extra on insulation for your addition, including windows. For one thing, you want a room that remains cool in the summer and warm in the winter so that inhabitants can enjoy a comfortable interior environment. But the addition also needs to be energy efficient. You can only save money with a programmable thermostat and an energy-efficient HVAC system if you have proper insulation. So don’t skimp out on this crucial element when you add on to your house.