How to Plan & Design a Home Addition

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A well-designed home addition may add significantly to your home's value. Increased floor space that provides room for a bigger family room or master bedroom suite, for example, will be appealing to future buyers. Invest a significant amount of time in the planning process, because there are many excellent options for home additions. Look at interesting floor plans, materials and building techniques to see what's possible for your home. Great ideas don't necessarily cost any more money. Visit homes of friends and associates to review possibilities up close.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tools
  • Sketch pad
  • Graph paper
  • Measure allowable yard space. Develop a tentative sketch for the addition to define how it will fit the house. Take into account any obstacles, such as a garage or large trees, that will be in the way. Define the square footage for the addition and its basic shape.

  • Figure out the roof lines. Draw the roof of the addition to harmonize with the home's existing roof. Keep the roof line simple, if possible, for the added space. Use multiple roof lines or sketch dormer windows if this works best with the home's architectural style. Draw house overhangs for the addition to blend well with existing overhangs, so the new space does not look like an afterthought.

  • Plan how the addition will connect to the house. Look carefully at the home's interior walls, foundation and exterior overhangs to figure out the attachment of the new addition. Decide how the new space will physically open to the facade of the existing house. Will you include a hallway? Will you build a wide doorway to connect the addition to living space? Draw the interior of the house in detail with the new addition.

  • Look at all electrical wiring and plumbing issues. Figure out any special needs, such as a larger heat pump or extra bathroom space required for the addition. Create routing for wiring, pipes and drains in the blueprint drawings. Plan to add an additional breaker box or increase the wiring load for the existing breaker box. Look at needs for exterior lighting for a new porch entry or yard lighting for the project.

  • Draw a detailed floor plan. Sketch the exterior of the addition and the interior on graph paper. Visit city officials to obtain a building permit. Inquire about codes and restrictions on building near property lines. Ask if neighbors must receive notification of the building process.

Tips & Warnings

  • Talk with friends who have built home additions. Get the names of general contractors or sub-contractors you might want to engage for your project.
  • Figure out the need for an additional heat pump early on. It's difficult to install venting and ductwork once a room addition is already in place, in most cases. A room addition can cause an existing heat pump to burn out due to overload if it's not equipped to handle for new square footage.

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References

  • Photo Credit David Sacks/Lifesize/Getty Images
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