So, your family has grown out of its home. Should you consider an addition?

The children are growing and your former cozy abode is now feeling cramped and overcrowded. You need to increase your living space, but should you move into a larger home or build an addition to your existing one? We spoke with Andrew Bridi, owner of On Centre Design Build, a custom home builder and renovator in the GTA, about what to consider when thinking about building an addition.

Compare costs of moving versus adding

While adding space to your existing home means avoiding uprooting the entire clan, Bridi warns an addition isn’t always a cheaper option. Additions can cost $150,000 to $200,000. Plus, you may not be able to live in your home during the renovation. “A lot of times, the homeowners need to vacate the home in order for the addition to be built,” says Bridi.

City restrictions

In addition to a building permit, you may also require a zoning variance from your municipality. Your architect will typically take care of this.

Build up or build out?

While building out typically involves less disruption to the existing living space and may mean you can live in the home throughout the renovation, building out means you will have to excavate in the yard and install a new foundation. “Excavation costs can be about 25 percent of the project,” says Bridi. Building out also means losing some of your yard and may require a zoning variance from your municipality. Building up – into the attic, or above the garage, for example – means avoiding high excavation costs, but will still have you dealing with the city since most municipalities limit the allowable height for houses in particular neighbourhoods. It’s also less likely you can live in the home during the renovation as your contractor will need to add a stairwell and tear apart walls and ceilings in the current living space to beef up structural supports and feed electrical, plumbing and heating lines.

Can you match the existing material of the house?

In many cases, you won’t be able to match the existing home’s exterior. To deal with this issue, Bridi says he will typically use a cladding that is totally different to make the addition a visual feature. For example, “if the home is brick and I can’t find the same brick, I will use a complementing stone for the addition,” he says.

Check out the On Centre Design Build profile on our website for more information and read customer reviews! Plus, check out their photo gallery. It’s sure to inspire anyone thinking about a home addition or renovation.

001-New Upper Level Washroom

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