So You Want to Build an Addition?

Custom Home Addition BuilderBuilding an addition to your home is the best way to add more living space to your life without having to buy a bigger house. But before you jump into action, here are a few things to think about:

What Do You Want to Build?

Without considering the purpose of the addition, and how it fits in with the rest of the house, it can be a waste of money and may not fulfill your needs. But with so many options available, narrowing it down to what works best can seem challenging. Below is a list of some popular types of home additions, along with their pros and cons:

Home Extension

This entails building one or more rooms onto the side of the house, and in that sense, it’s similar to building a whole new house from scratch, then trying to attach it to your existing home. But these types of additions usually bring a considerable return on the investment. The biggest challenge is getting the addition to work well with your existing structure both inside and out. Whether you need an additional bedroom, a larger living room or a den, an architect can help you design the addition so that the interior spaces flow well, and the exterior structure matches your existing house design.

Garage Conversion

This can be a good choice because the costs are less than a home extension since the structure is already present and probably both insulated and electrified. The only real drawback is that you lose a garage, which could decrease your home’s worth.

Sun Room and Conservatory Additions

This is the best type of addition for those on a limited budget, and seasonal use can reduce your costs further. Conservatories are usually meant for plants rather than personal use, and cost a little more due to extensive glass use.

How much to spend building an addition?

This depends on both the type of addition and your location. A good contractor can help you work through this process by considering everything and creating an estimate. Be sure to set aside 10 to 15% of additional funds to cover contingencies. Building an addition will often have unforeseen additional expenses—from finding hidden issues during demolition; or for adding special touches “while you’re at it”.

What is the process for building an addition?

Before you can start building, you may first need to get approval from the local architectural review board, or your homeowners association, depending on where you live. As your contractor, Weston Construction can also explain the city or county’s building and construction rules.

Work with a contractor such as Weston Construction to establish the project’s process and procedures. Building an addition can be a messy business, and special consideration must be taken if you are living in your home during the construction. Develop a plan for phasing the project and protecting existing living space from the inevitable dust, landscaping damage, and general chaos. Set up procedures and communication plans for handling change orders and questions. And be sure to monitor the project as it goes along.

In the end, remember not to let your imagination run too wild. It’s always a good idea to think about whether your addition will work for 9 out of 10 people who might walk through your home when you do eventually put your house on the market to sell.

Todd Buck of Weston Construction can help you from the planning stages through the construction of your new addition. Give us a call today to get an estimate on your next building project.

Home Renovation—the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Common Problems In Renovating Old Homes

Renovating an old house can be rewarding, but it’s not an easy job.  The trouble with renovating old homes is that they may seem in good condition but underlying problems can develop during the remodeling or renovation process. That is why it’s a good idea to hire a professional building contractor; they are always ready to expect the unexpected. Here are some of the common problems found when renovating old homes:

Plumbing
Plumbing problems are a common issue with old homes because galvanized pipes either get clogged or corroded. This issue is not only limited to the pipes in the house, but extends to the sewer lines as well. Galvinized pipes were used before the 1960s and should be replaced with copper or plastic.

Mold
Old homes usually have a stale smell which is caused by mold that usually develops due to water leakage from pipes, walls or the roof. Hire professionals to tackle mold problems during construction — they can detect the source of the leakage and fix the problem.

Dry Rot
A lot of homes have the problem of dry rot which sometimes is not visible until the renovation work starts. This is because dry rot is actually a fungus that grows in wood that has been wet. The wood becomes crumbly and soft. Sometimes it appears to have white stains. Even if the original leak has been repaired, dry rot can continue to spread and damage more wood. If the wood in question is involved in structural support, this is not something you want to tackle yourself.

Foundation Problems
Old houses were constructed in a way that did not allow proper grading for water runoff, which usually leads to mold in basements. Foundation problems can be detected from cracks on the floor, in the walls, and by sticky windows and doors.

Electrical Wiring
Electrical wiring in old homes can be a problem because the system back then was not well equipped to power modern day appliances. Also, the old wiring systems were usually not grounded. You can evaluate this by examining your outlets —two pronged outlets are not grounded—three pronged outlets are usually grounded. Old, brittle and faulty wiring can cause short circuits that can turn into a house fire. Have a professional renovation company check the wiring of your house. This may be a good time to update the wiring system, with a ground fault circuit interrupter, which cuts off power as soon problems are detected, before a fire.

Asbestos
One of the leading problems of homes that were constructed at least 40 years ago is asbestos. It is a fire retardant product that was extensively used in earlier construction. It is found in HVAC system, flooring, insulations, duct work, and roofing. Asbestos isn’t harmful if it is in good condition. The trouble starts when it turns into powder (due to sawing, cutting, and scraping) that can be inhaled, as it causes severe lung damage. That is why it is imperative to have a professional abatement company detect and remove asbestos in your house.

Lead Paint
If the house you are renovating was built before 1978, there is a high chance that there is lead in the paint. Lead is released into the air when leaded paint is sanded or heated. The dust from chipped or peeled lead paint is very hazardous to pets and children as well as adults. Have a professional examine and test the house for lead before you start any.

These issues are just the tip of the iceberg of why it is important to hire a professional contractor, such as Weston Construction, to assist you when you planning a home renovation. If you are considering a home renovation, give us a call. We’re happy to meet with you to discuss your project.

Checklist for Hiring a Contractor

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With property prices rising, many people are opting to turn their home into the home of their dreams by renovation or remodeling. If you have decided to turn your home dream into reality, either by renovation or by building a custom house from scratch, you may want to hire a trusted home builder to do it. Building a home is a serious affair because your home is one of your most valuable assets. Therefore, it is good to hire professional builders or contractors who have experience in building custom homes. You need to do a lot of research before hiring a contractor to renovate or build your home. Choosing the right contractor is the most critical step in the process of home building or renovation. This basic checklist of questions can assist you in finding the contractor who is best suited to build your dream home.

How Many Years Have You Been In The Business? How Many Clients Have You Served?
You need to find a contractor who is experienced and has an established presence in your locality. It is best to go with people who have been in the industry for more than five years. Longevity is an indicator of work quality and happy customers.
Can You Provide Any References From Your Recent Clients?
Any honest and qualified contractor will be willing to provide you references from their previous customers. Client references are probably the best way to find out about the reliability and work quality of the contractor. You can also check the company’s website and social media pages to read reviews by their clients in order to get more information about the company.

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Can I Have A Look At Your Portfolio?
Make sure to have a look through the contractor’s portfolio of recent projects. You should look for projects that are similar to yours.

Can You Provide Me With A Timeline Of The Project?
Before you hire a contractor to renovate or build your home, ask them if they can provide you with a timeline. Ask the company if they can provide you with a start date and a completion date. The contractor should be able to provide you with a schedule of the project, so that you can see progress of work once it is initiated.

Do You Have All The Required Licenses? Are You Insured?
Make sure that you work with a licensed builder. Ask about the insurance status, and make sure that both the contractor and you are covered during the project.

How Much Will It Cost?
For some people, price might be the most important aspect of home renovation or building process. It is important to discuss the budget to save yourself from any hidden or extra costs at the end of the project.

These questions can help you choose the right contractor to build or renovate your home. Hiring the right contractor can lessen the stress, cost, and time in the process of building your dream home; and a wrong decision can turn your dream home into a living nightmare. Make sure to choose vigilantly!