As your family grows, the need for your home to grow becomes a reality for many homeowners. It’s difficult to decide whether to build up or out. As with any decision, there are pros and cons to both.

Building up is a great way to add square footage to your home, without increasing its footprint. There are many ways to build up. You can add another level to your one-story or two-story home, or add a room above your garage.


Something to consider when you are building up is that even though you may not have to sacrifice a portion of your yard for a new foundation, it is very likely that your existing foundation will have to be reinforced, in addition to the wall structure under the new space, in order to ensure that the structure can support the added weight of your new space.

With any structural decision, there are pros and cons. The major pro to building up is that you won’t lose any outdoor space. Also, your contractor follows the existing footprint, and you are less likely to have setbacks, zoning restrictions or floor-area ratio limits.


The con is that there are limitations to allowable heights for homes, which can be an issue when building up. In addition, the homeowner will need to account for a stairwell, which can easily take up around 80 to 120 square feet, or more, of living space. The average budget is $175-$200 per square foot.


The majority of home additions require homeowners to increase the footprint of the ground-floor level of the building. This only occurs if the buildout is a first floor addition. This process will typically require excavation, so that a strong foundation can be established. From there, your contractor will construct the framing for the walls and the roof of the addition, before opening up the existing exterior wall and linking the new and old spaces.

The pro of building out is that this typically requires less disruption to your existing living space, and your life, if you are living in your home while construction is taking place. The con to building out means losing your yard space, and may require a zoning variance from the state.

There are also limitations on the floor-area ratio. The average budget for this is typically $150-$175 per square foot.


United Pacific Builders LLC is a locally owned and operated general contractor, providing homeowners islandwide with swift evaluations of how to best expand living spaces. Call today for your free estimate at 366-0575.

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