Craig Custom Builders

Home Additions, Craig Custom Builders, New Jersey

Ground Floor Additions and Second Floor Additions

Should we look for a new house to buy or should we add a level to our existing home or should we expand the first floor? These are the questions that homeowners ask themselves when they feel that they have outgrown their current home. Space constraints are a big reason homeowners wish to expand, especially as the family count grows! The decision to add a second level or build an addition on the first floor, vs. buying a new house, usually stems from the fact that the family is happy and settled in that particular neighborhood and likes their lot of property. And when you choose to add on to your existing house, you can get exactly what you want-it will be your taste, not someone else’s.

How do you decide which way to go? Checking with your township first is the best way to see what you can and cannot do. The towns have specific zoning rules and restrictions, building setbacks (front, side, and back), height restrictions, lot coverage restrictions, etc. Once you know which way you can build – up or out – on your piece of land, then you can start the planning process. Working with an experienced contractor who builds all types of additions and their architect will help you determine which option will fit your budget and needs.

Both types of additions require the contractor to evaluate the existing electric, heating and air conditioning systems as the existing systems may not be enough to power the additional rooms being added on. With these evaluations, systems recommendations are made so that you will have an accurate budget number to work with. Windows are an important part of the equation also as today’s new windows really help with energy efficiency, which goes hand in hand with the heating and air conditioning systems of your home.

With either a first floor addition or a second floor addition you will have to discuss with your contractor if you can actually match the existing siding and roofing as closely as possible or if you have to completely select new materials. New product introductions in siding have come a long way and replacing your existing outdated, peeling wood siding with low maintenance vinyl or fiber cement siding will not only increase the aesthetic value of your home but also the resale value.

First Floor Additions for NJ

A first floor addition is always interesting in the fact that you can choose to build the addition on a concrete slab, crawl space or a full basement. Budget will help you make this decision once you see the differences, for example: with a full basement foundation walls and interior finishing costs need to be considered. Kitchens and family rooms are the most requested rooms to add on when it is a first floor addition, along with a deck. However, first floor bedroom/bath suite are becoming  more desirable as many families are interested in ‘aging in place’ and this type of addition will enable easier accessibility should a household member no longer be able to climb the stairs. All of these first floor additions add value to your home and increased living space.

First floor additions usually connect the new space with the outside so that a new deck and/or patio becomes another extension of your living and entertaining space with easy access from the new addition. Using man made decking materials may be more costly upfront, however, they are considered a good investment as they are low maintenance. Another option for new decks that are included in first floor additions are whether they will be covered or not and if they are covered you can add lighting and fans at the ceiling. This really extends your living space as you can utilize the deck more often and not be dependent solely on clear, sunny weather conditions.

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Second Floor Additions for NJ

Adding a second floor to your home can be as simple as more bedrooms, keeping and updating the existing shared bath or more complex and costly by adding a new master bathroom on to the master bedroom, creating a ‘master suite’. Of course, master suites are immediate eye catchers and raise the value of your home. Planning a second floor addition also requires the contractor, their architect, and a structural engineer to evaluate the proper load bearing support whether it needs to be increased for this additional level to be built over the first floor. Again, it is very important and cost effective to do all of this planning in the beginning stages so you know where you stand with the budget and there are no surprises.

Updating the bathrooms on the second level and/or adding a new bathroom will vary greatly in costs as the finishes selected make the difference here. More often than not, we find ourselves value-engineering bathroom materials with manmade materials that replicate natural looking stones. These manmade materials are very popular today for bathroom renovations because they are low maintenance and the costs are reasonable. Half the time even the experts cannot tell the difference between natural and manmade!

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