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How to Avoid Common Issues with Additions

Creating an addition for your home is a great way to provide extra space for you and your family.  It’s also a huge project that requires a lot of forethought and planning.  You’ll have to weigh your wants and needs to arrive at a solution that fits your house, your style, and, ultimately, your budget.  Here are a few common mistakes we see in the field:

Supersize Me

We understand your quest for additional space—after all, that’s why they call it an addition.  However, your add-on shouldn’t dwarf your original house.  In some circumstances, it’s possible to nearly double the square footage of the original dwelling, but it has to be done correctly.

You want to match the proportions of your home, not necessarily your lot size.  Thus, just because you have more room to the right side of the property than you do in the back does not mean you should construct a large wing only on one side of your house.  Not only will that leave your property looking lopsided, but also it could deter potential buyers when you go to resell.

Most additions do extend the back of the property, but there are very tasteful expansions upward—especially if you add a second floor to a rancher-style home.  With historic houses, it’s particularly important to place your additions in the background and leave the original façade undisturbed.  Which brings us to our next point.


When you have a historic home, it can be particularly difficult to replicate the original style of your house.  However, if you don’t at least make the attempt, it can throw off the look of your entire house.  There are ways to highlight your new addition and utilize different materials, but that should be done carefully with the help of an experienced planner.

For example, you can contrast a brick home by building a small addition created using the same materials/color as the trim.  This would look a little odd on a grand scale, but it can be quite difficult to match new brick to aging brick.  Thus, switching the siding to something that coordinates elsewhere just makes more sense.  Also, a sunroom/conservatory approach allows for a lot of windows and light, as well as a little more experimentation.  The design can also be coordinated to the time period of your original home to add an extra layer of authenticity to the construction.

Blown-Out Budget

An addition is a big investment and a big expense, overall.  Above and beyond that, it’s also easy to get carried away when you’re trying to fit everything you want into your new space.  Many people try to be conservative on the front-end, by trying to plan and find materials on their own.  However, these same cost-saving strategies can end up causing delays and other issues down the road.  If you’re not an experienced architect, your design may or may not be feasible.  That’s not something you want to find out in the middle of construction.

Moreover, that salvaged wood you wanted to use for the space has a finite supply.  If you run out, that can stop work halfway through the project, leading to extra labor expenses that were not in your budget.  Also, try to avoid disturbing the structure in other parts of your house that could lead to more unexpected, not to mention costly, projects.

Ultimately, if you take your time before you even begin and build a team of professionals, like those at Custom Build Maryland, to assist you, you can avoid many of these pitfalls.