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The Beginners Guide to Expanding Your Home

Smart Reno 101
Apr 6, 2021
4 min read

Deciding to expand your home is an exciting endeavour. Perhaps you’ve outgrown the current space and want to feel inspired by something new. If so, a home expansion project will allow you to push your creativity forward as you dream of bringing new spaces and details to life. When purchasing a new home isn’t an option, the concept of home expansion or simply updating older designs can help keep things modern and fresh without draining your savings account.

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3 things to consider before expanding your home

Whether you have been living in your house for years or have just bought it and want to maximize its features, knowing what’s required to expand successfully requires some detailed planning. Below are three points you should consider before leaping into expanding your home.

1. The purpose of a home expansion

First, you need to know the reason why you want to expand your home. Begin by asking yourself, “What is the purpose?” The expansion needs to be useful and advantageous for you and/or your family. There are many reasons for making a change. Perhaps you are expecting your first child, starting an at-home business, someone new is moving in, or you simply want to create a new space. Define the purpose, and stick to it. For example, if you think the inside of your home does not get enough sunlight, you might want to install skylights or build a veranda or a conservatory greenroom. If you cook a lot and enjoy entertaining guests, a kitchen update could be ideal. But on the other hand, a more practical and comfortable bathroom might be something you’ve had on your mind for a while. Overall, adding on to your domicile must provide benefits. The last thing you want to do is invest your time, money and energy into a new space that you will not end up using.

2. The cost of expanding your home

The cost of an expansion can vary depending on the specifics of the design. When you are planning your renovation budget, keep a few things in mind. Remember that the bigger the expansion, the higher cost. If you are building out an additional room on the ground level, you will need to pay for new foundations. If you are building a new floor, you might need to buy a new staircase. Your initial plan should be detailed enough to provide an outline that will help you narrow down the cost of everything involved from materials, demolition, decor, furniture, and more. Aside from your expansion’s finer details, you will also need to consider the service fees involved.

Below are some examples of contractor services you may require, depending on your plan’s needs.

  • Electrician (averaging around $50–$100 CAD an hour)
  • Carpenter (averaging around $70 CAD an hour)
  • Painter (averaging around $20–$35 CAD an hour)

3. The current value of your home

Consider your house’s added value before expanding, even if you are not planning on selling it soon. If you want to turn a profit on your home expansion, do the research to understand which home expansion holds the most value for resale. These often include added bathrooms and bedrooms where possible. Moreover, increasing your house’s square footage, such as expanding the ground floor, is a trustable payback. Speak to an expert or lean on friends or family who’ve already taken on home expansion projects to get a second (or third!) opinion.

Other things to consider when planning a home expansion

Whether you have developed a plan on your own or with the help of professionals, consult with an architect to ensure that the design looks cohesive with the rest of your house and land. And, for safety reasons, hire a structural engineer to validate the plan. You might also want to hire a general contractor if you don’t want to be in charge of the management by yourself.

When it comes to the finer details, carefully choose the materials required to complete the look of your house expansion. It’s often the smaller things homeowners forget to consider. For example, if you are adding a sunroom, make sure the materials, including the doors and windows’ colours and style, match with the rest of your home. Conducting a proper walkthrough of your home in its current state will help you make the connections necessary to bring your plan to life.

Finally, expanding your house is not a task to take lightly. Research or consult experts regarding council codes and laws of building construction. A major project of this type often requires permits. Once you’ve determined the legalities behind your home expansion project, you’ll be ready to hire the right people and get started!

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