While naturally adding square feet, room additions are a wonderful investment that allows you to prolong the enjoyment of your home (and your neighborhood) for years to come. But, integrating your addition into your home’s existing architecture isn’t easy. It often involves hiring a design professional to get it right.
Whether you’re building outwards or upwards, home additions are complex projects. Consider these five essential tips when planning your new space. The result? An intelligently-designed home addition that blends beautifully and seamlessly with your home’s original architecture and style.
1. Start with the Foundation
Behind every home addition is a strong foundation and it’s critical to match the floor and roof lines or elevations. It’s also important to make sure the foundation is deep enough to go below the “frost depth” in your geographic area. The depth requirements vary from region to region depending on the local weather. Building above the frost depth will cause the addition to shift over time independently of the main structure as the ground freezes and thaws, potentially causing foundation problems. Moreover, you need to make sure the type of foundation is appropriate for the soil type in your area. Again, failing to do so may cause shifting problems in the long run for your new addition.
For most home additions, it is also best to match the type of foundation used in the existing structure. So, if your existing home is built on a slab foundation, the addition should also be built on a slab foundation. If your original foundation is a crawlspace foundation, then the addition should also have a crawlspace foundation. This way, the addition is strong, level and seamless from the ground up.
2. Match the Exterior Finishes
Start with the roof and move your way down. Your room addition should match every detail on the original home, including trim, windows, siding, doors, hardware and paint colors. If you have a historical home, matching exact finishes can be more challenging, especially if some of the features are no longer in production. Home additions don’t have to match exactly, but the design should always be complementary in these aspects:
- The roof—The roof on your addition should closely match the rooflines on your existing home. This means mimicking the pitch, soffit style, overhang, eave depth, rafter size, and spacing. It also means you may need to consider an entirely new roof. Older shingles on the existing home may be faded making it hard to match shingle shades on a room addition, for example. If your roof is starting to show its age, this may be a good time to simply update the entire roof.
- The siding and other exterior finishes—Watch out for siding colors as well. If your existing siding has faded, it won’t match the new siding on the home addition. Having the same color and style of trim can also go a long way towards tying the two structures together. If you have brick or stone exteriors, these materials can be harder to replace, but there are also creative ways to mix and match finishes that still look beautiful and blend well together. The key is to choose colors and finishes that complement each other.
- Windows and Doors—These days, it’s becoming easier to find custom windows and doors that meet current Energy Star ratings and building codes, while also coming in historical dimensions and designs that might match those on your existing home. At the same time, exact matches are not always easy to find, so consider designs that work in harmony with the existing style. You can also replace older products with newer replacements to keep the design style consistent.
3. Blend the Interior Addition Design
The new room addition should also feel seamless from the inside. So, as you walk from the older part of the home and into the new space you should not feel a jarring sense of incompatible styles. It will be important to match elements like paint colors, window casings, crown molding and light fixture styles between the older and newer parts of the home.
4. Understand Local Building Codes and Zoning Laws
In every town, including here in West Lafayette, there are local building codes and zoning laws that dictate whether or not you can build a home addition on your property. Before getting too deep into your project, you will need to identify any restrictions that might be on your property. For example, some lot restrictions prevent certain types of home additions; and building codes (or the existing foundation on your original home) may prevent you from building up. A remodeling contractor can help you determine what the restrictions are, and then help you plan from there.
5. Don’t Forget Landscaping
Many homeowners are so excited about the home addition itself that they forget all about the landscaping—particularly the cost of new landscaping. Most contractors in West Lafayette will do some basic seeding around the home addition. Beyond that, homeowners will need to factor other landscape aspects into their home remodeling budget and plan.
If you’re considering a home addition, contact Riverside Construction today for a design consultation, or sign up for one of our home remodeling seminars to discuss your ideas with our design-build team and other homeowners in the area. You can also peruse our home addition portfolio for more ideas. If you’re still researching your next remodeling project, sign up for our newsletter to get new ideas every month. We’re always happy to talk with you, so call us at 765.838.1644.