When adding on to your home, is it better to build out or build up?
You might think that by building taller, you’re missing out on valuable living space. In reality, building up can help you maximize square footage while making your home more functional. For example, if all of the bedrooms are on the upper floors, they are separate from the more active areas of your home, such as the living room or kitchen. People in the bedrooms can fall asleep more easily and won’t be disturbed by others in the house watching TV or socializing in the living and dining areas.
If you’re thinking about adding on to your home, use this guide to learn more about the benefits of building up and why you might want to build up instead of out.
What Is Building Up?
Building up refers to the process of adding floors to an existing building, rather than building an addition on the ground floor. If you decide to build up during home additions, you create a second, third or additional upper story. You have a few options if you want to add on to an existing space vertically. The option that works best for you and your home will depend on the current design of the home and your budget. Here are some options for building up to consider:
- Remove and replace the roof: If you are building up on a home with a steep-sloped roof, one option is to remove the roof completely, add the additional stories, then install an entirely new roof on top at the end of the project.
- Remove the roof temporarily: A second option is to cut away the existing roof on the home, add the additional stories, then return the roof to the house, rather than install a new one. Using the existing roof can make the addition more cost-effective. You can discuss the pros and cons of replacing versus restoring the roof with the contractor to determine which option will work best for you.
- Build on top of a flat roof: If your current home has a flat roof, your contractor might be able to build up without cutting away the existing roof. Alternatively, you could build up from a single-story attachment on your home, such as an attached garage, without removing the roof.
- Add a modular story: Your contractor has the option of building the new story on-site — meaning all of the work is done on your property — or building modularly. Modular design means that the additional story is built in a factory somewhere else, then delivered to your home intact and completely assembled. The builders add the fully-built story on top of your current house. One benefit of modular building is that it is often quicker and easier to do since the building takes place indoors and can continue on no matter the weather. Many homeowners also find that modular additions cost less than on-site builds.
Benefits of Building Up
There might come a time when the home you live in doesn’t meet your needs the way it once did. When that time comes, you have a few options. You can sell the property and move somewhere else, or you can make changes to the home, such as adding on to it. Whether you are adding on to an existing home or designing a new house from scratch, here are a few benefits of thinking vertically:
1. Gives You More Square Footage on Less Land
One of the most noticeable advantages of building up is the cost savings per square foot. When you stack living space, you can actually add considerable square footage to the design without the added costs for foundation and roofing materials. Multi-story homes feature smaller foundations and rooflines, so they not only require fewer materials, but they also allow you to save on land costs.
For example, depending on the area, a ranch on a 60’ lot could cost $80,000 more than a same-sized, multi-story home on a 40’ lot. You’d save more money on the taller home, and you’d have plenty left over to add features, such as a residential elevator, which would make your multi-story home more convenient.
A more compact footprint also means more options for location since you can squeeze a multi-story home onto a much smaller lot. If you are hoping to build a new home in an area that is already densely built, you are likely to have more choices available to you if you plan on building up rather than building a sprawling, single-story house.
2. Allows for the Future Addition of an Elevator
It is also easier for builders to incorporate a residential elevator into the design of a multi-story home, which is why we encourage buyers or homeowners in their 40’s, 50’s or 60’s to consider making their new homes “elevator ready” by using stacked closets in a multi-story design. Regardless if you can benefit from an elevator today, making it easier to install tomorrow will save you a lot of money when or if you decide to purchase one.
There are many benefits of installing an elevator in your home, including:
- Makes the home more functional: An elevator that glides from floor to floor in your home can make living there a lot easier. You can use the elevator to transport items, such as vacuum cleaners and heavy suitcases, from one story to the next without having to drag those items up the stairs. A residential elevator also allows people who have difficulties with mobility to visit and enjoy your home.
- Increases the safety of your home: Every year, nearly 2.8 million children visit the emergency room because of injuries resulting from a fall. While not every fall is as a result of tripping down the stairs, many are. Providing another option for moving around your home will help reduce the risk of falling, keeping your loved ones safe.
- Can increase your home’s property value: If you decide to sell your home in the future, having an elevator installed can allow you to set your asking price higher. Many homebuyers are willing to pay more for a house that has an elevator, especially if the elevator would allow them to remain in the house for as long as possible or would allow them to get more use out of the property.
Learn More About the Benefits of Building Up and Installing a Residential Elevator Today
Whether you’re a builder designing a home for a client or a homeowner looking to expand your living space, building up has its advantages. If you are interested in learning more about adding an elevator to a home, Inclinator can help. To learn more about the process and to get started, find a dealer near you today!