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Home AdditionsRemodeling home

Are Rear Additions Better than Second Story Additions?

Ninety percent of Canadian home enlargements happen either upwards, or outwards. The other possibility is to dig deeper basements, a downward expansion, but most homes in Canada already have functional cellars, and so going in that direction usually becomes more about remodeling, or simply finishing the basement.

Rear additions or second story additions? They both have advantages and disadvantages. Let’s explore both options from the perspective of homeowners looking to expand their living quarters. Let’s determine which makes the most sense for your family and your budget.

Eastview Homes constructing a second story addition in Burlington, Spring 2019

Designing Second Story Additions

Building upwards to increase a home’s square-footage is always cheaper than building outwards because it requires less material and labor. But for the same reasons, it’s also rather limiting in terms of what’s possible. By building upwards, property owners raise the roof, and literally take the structure to the next level. This can happen over the main floor, or off to the side over the wings, or perhaps over the garage or back porch. It all depends on the existing structure, the weather and residential zoning bylaws. Since the contractors are not expanding the footprint of the house this eliminates the need to worry about zoning restrictions, or digging up any buried cables or pipes.

Another positive aspect of building upwards over the existing structure is that property owners don’t need to give up any of their precious backyard.  Indeed it becomes more about deciding which views are best for windows and where to put the stairs. Remember there will be some square footage devoted to stairs and this could change the ground floor plan significantly. This type of addition can actually subtract from the available living space on the main floor as stairwells can easily require 80-120 sq. and if not placed correctly they can ruin floorplans and make everything unhandy.

Rear Additions Allow Remodeling

Rear additions set the stage for true home remodeling. With a paper and pen the home designer can layout the ideal living quarters. New mud rooms can double as laundry rooms or winter storage and the backyard property that remains can be made more efficient. New decks can surround the home addition.

Building outward is the preference of homeowners with mobility issues or those who dream of growing old and retiring on the property. Such homeowners design open concept layouts wherein they’ll never tire or feel burdened by stairs.

Rear Additions are more expensive. Building outward means excavating, adding foundation concrete, fill rock, exterior walls, and a new roof system. The addition increases the footprint of the home and will require losing part of the backyard which may ruin the property for sports or even for exercising. Proper research will have to occur for excavators at risk of dredging up power lines and sewer lines which could really add to the costs.

How Long Does Home Addition take?

Three to four months. With everything properly planned, and depending on the size and complexity of the job, Eastview can complete a home addition in under four months. One of the biggest concerns for the family and one of our highest priorities is to set a realistic timeline and stick to the schedule. Everyone should know what’s going to happen next, and be able to plan accordingly. The family will arrange to vacation or live elsewhere during the most critical phases. Eastview specializes in estimating project length, and coordinating heavy equipment and materials delivery. Construction site management is an artform and we pride ourselves on being as quiet and professional as possible when working in upscale residential neighbourhoods.

Should I Hire an Architect Before Hiring Contractors?

Certified kitchen and bath designers bring a focused expertise to the work space, traffic patterns, electrical layout, and cabinet and appliance clearances; all of which make kitchens and bathrooms different animals when it comes to remodeling.

Like architects or designers, kitchen and bath designers draw a complete set of up to code plans. And, like an architect, many will provide project management for a percentage of the gross cost of the remodel.

Certified kitchen and bath designers are aware of structural basics, though they should consult an engineer if they propose any structural changes in the walls or floors.

Certified interior designers are what most people call interior decorators. The certifying group is the American Society of Interior Designers.

Generally interior designers do not present building plans to a contractor, but they will consult on space reallocation and assist in designing the finished interior space.

For an additional fee, depending on the range of services provided, interior designers also research, shop, and present you with decorating samples or introduce you to product lines for such things as furniture and lighting.

About Eastview Homes

Eastview Homes has been transforming Oakville, Burlington and Mississauga houses into personalized luxury homes for twenty years.

We offer home consultation, effective design services and professional construction solutions. We specialize in large scale remodeling projects, custom homes, additions, or structural improvements to existing houses.

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Mississauga, Oakville & Burlington