Home Additions: Building Out vs. Building Up Part Two – Building Up

When you decide to renovate your home by expanding the size of your living space, you’ll have to choose between building out by increasing the footprint of your home on the main floor or building up by adding more stories to your existing home. In a previous article, we focused on building out. For this article, we’ll discuss the advantage and disadvantages of building up.

The Advantages of a Building Up Renovation

Adding a second floor to your existing home could be the right path. Building up has several advantages, such as the absence of yard loss and zone limitations, a (possibly) cheaper total cost, and the option of personalizing your upstairs and downstairs for prime functionality.

No Yard Loss or Zone Limitations

Turning your house into a two-story home is an excellent way to increase functionality and space without expanding the footprint of the home. There is no need to worry about zoning restrictions or sacrificing your side or backyard for expansion space when you are building on top of a pre-existing foundation.

Choice of Roof Line Options

Building up vs. out allows you to change the existing roof’s pitch from a low slope to something steeper, such as a cathedral style, for aesthetic and practical reasons. You can also add a dormer, a roofed structure sometimes containing a window that projects out of the side of a pitched roof. This will change the look of your home, add light and potentially allow you to change ceiling heights.

Personalize Upstairs/Downstairs for Your Needs

Adding a second story to your house allows an organization unique to a one-story home. On the main floor, entertaining and relaxing can take place with a kitchen, dining room, and living room area. The creation of another story to the house allows for the bedrooms to be separate from downstairs, making your home conscious of its different functions and the particular needs of household members.

[Related: Home Additions: Building Out vs. Building Up Part One – Building Out]

“Before” Photo of Building Up Home Remodel

“After” Photo of Building Up Home Remodel

The Disadvantages of Building Up in Seattle

Just like with building out, building up also has its share of challenges to work around, such as finding temporary housing while your home is under construction, the cost of retrofitting the foundation, and the reduced first-level footprint by incorporating a stairwell.

Need to Temporary Relocate

Adding another story to your house avoids the hassle of building an entirely new foundation since the contractors will work on your main level’s pre-existing foundation. However, your roof must be completely removed, so you probably will need to find a temporary place to reside while the wall structures and ceilings are exposed and built upon.

Cost of Retrofitting Your Foundation

Depending on the state and strength of the current foundation, you might need foundation work. Retrofitting your existing foundation will make it strong enough to support the added weight of the new addition but make sure to consider the cost, paired with the added expense of removing existing walls to support the structure, and include it in your remodeling budget.

Limited Footprint Caused by Staircase

When building up to add another level to your home, consider the location and the amount of space the new staircase will take up. The addition of a staircase can easily eat up 80 to 120 square feet of your first-floor footprint.

Does It Cost More Building Up or Out?

The answer to whether it costs more to build up or out depends on a variety of factors. Building up usually requires a more significant investment in structural elements such as steel beams, concrete foundations, and other materials needed to support the building’s weight. This can result in a higher cost of construction. On the other hand, building out often involves less material and labor costs but may take up more land and require additional zoning approvals depending on the area. Various other factors may come into play when deciding whether to build up or out such as access to utilities, local regulations, drainage issues, and potential impact on neighboring properties. Ultimately, the decision should be based on careful consideration of all factors and a thorough understanding of associated costs.

Whether you’re looking to add to your home by building out or building up, Harjo Construction can help you create a plan and make your home renovation dreams a reality. Contact us today to start your home addition journey.

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