The quest for more space in a home makes homeowners look up in the attic, down in the basement and out in the backyard. These are traditional methods to gain more living area and many renovations are centered around these areas. However, there are other places in the homes that may provide the space you require and may save you the time and expense of other forms of room additions.
Front (or Back) Porch
A lot of older homes have porches that cover the front of the home. These were popular in the first half of the last century because sitting out on the porch was a favorite pastime before radio and television. People used the porch for socializing and the are was a way to speak with people in an informal manner without inviting them into the home. Also, before air conditioners, it was a way to keep cool.
Later on many porches became glassed in to provide a year-round sitting place. They were also used to store boots and winter jackets before entering the home and as a place for storage. The great thing abut these porches was that most of them were built on cement posts which, over the years have settled into a great support system.
In later years porches were built on the back of the home in order to appreciate the garden or swimming pool. The underside of the porch can be insulated or, if the floor is old, the floor planks can be replaced and insulated.
Many porches are just off the front door, or split by the front entrance. This space can be sealed off and a new entrance door can be put in on the outside of the porch replacing the storm door. As most porches had good lighting the basic electrical may be all there. Heating can be brought in with extra ducts, piping or an electric baseboard system.
Another prime place for an addition is one that has already been started: the deck. A deck already has the supports and joists in place so if the deck was just off the back of the house filling it in for extra living space would not be too difficult.
Many people start by putting a roof over the deck to allow a sheltered area. Some also have adjusted the roof line to match that of the main house. The project could be done in stages whereby the roof and supports are put in first and then framed-in for screens. This would only take a carpenter a couple of week in the spring to complete and then you would have the summer and fall to enjoy this area, bug-free. As it is closed in, the underside could be insulated before winter and then the rest of the addition could be completed in the winter. The other perk is that the construction mess is on the other side of the patio door.
A lot of garages are rarely used to store vehicles. They are too busy storing possessions and toys. By getting organized with your storage you can turn one or both bays of a two-car garage into 200-500 square feet of new space complete with electrical wiring, heating and, in some cases, plumbing. In fact, in most cases, a garage addition is cheaper than most basement renovations because the drywall is already complete on the walls and ceiling.
There are downsides to this proposal and one is that the majority of home buyers want a garage. Selling a home without a garage, despite the extra living space, could bring down the price or let is sit on the market for a long time. Another consideration is the, in some neighbourhoods, the covenants won't allow vehicles to sit outside on the driveway.
Garage Attic Addition
If you have a separate double-garage or an attached one going up may be a great opportunity for additional space. Creating a new story on the garage has many pluses:
- Price: For a fraction of the price of adding a story on your home you can have an upper garage living space as the job is smaller.
- Utilities: As with making living space in the main part of a garage the electrical is already there. Plumbing can be easily accessed.
- Inconvenience: Because they renovators will be working over the garage your home will not be required to move out during the renovation period. In addition there will not be near the mess involved.
- Apartment Revenue: If you use this renovation to build a complete living unit for an older member of the family you can use it later as a revenue-generating asset when they leave.
There are many designs that have been created for over-the-garage apartments. Some have dormers while others gain space by using a gambrel or barn-shaped roof. There are a couple of items of concern and one is the zoning laws for height addition and other is the strength of the walls. If the home was built in the last 30 years there is a good chance that the walls are 2 X 6 studs, which would be enough. However, the smaller 2 X 4 walls would have to be shored up. To gain more space the stairs can be placed on the outside of the building.
The cheapest addition would be the classic bay window. The space is minimal but the feature gives your home a new perspective, both inside and out. Storage units under a seat can also be built into the bay area.Posted by: TrustedPros