Should Your Home Addition Build Go Up or Out?

When you decide to build an addition on your home, there are only two choices that you can really make. Should I go up or out? That is, do you want to build an addition that goes vertically or horizontally? Many times, this question is answered by the purpose of the addition. It would be weird to add to a kitchen that goes up. But a lot of the times, it isn't always as easy as it seems to figure that out. That is why the best option is to consider the pros and cons of each option.

Building Your Home Out

Most of the home additions that happen are ground-floor level additions. This can be adding a family room, expanding your current one-story home or even expanding the kitchen.

Normally, a contractor will use some type of excavation equipment, such as a backhoe, to dig up whatever part of the yard is involved with the addition. They will then install a new slab or foundation, construct any walls and add the roof. After this is all done, they will open up any exterior walls that will link the old space with the new.

Let's take a look at the pros and cons of building a home out:


  • • Typically involves the least amount of disruption to an existing space
  • • Is much easier if you plan on staying in your house during the addition
  • • If it's a small addition, you may be able to leave the foundation alone.


  • • Building out will mean that you lose a part of your yard
  • • It also may require a zoning variance depending upon your town
  • • City regulations may prevent you from expanding your home

Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of building your home out with a bump out, let's take a look at what the pros and cons are of building your home up.

Building Your Home Up

Expanding your home doesn't necessarily mean that you have to build it out. You can easily add another story and build your home up as well. Adding a living space above a garage, sunroom, porch or any other part of your home is also a great way to add some extra living space and increase your homes square footage.

While there is no yard given up with an upward expansion, it is more than likely that your contractor will have to rip off the roof and enhance the wall structure and foundation to support the new space.

Here are some pros and cons of building up:


  • There will be no loss of yard or any type of bump into a zoning restriction.


  • • Most localitites have a height limit on houses
  • • You may need to take into account that a new stairwell needs to be put into place
  • • Walls and ceilings may need to be torn apart in order to strengthen your house structure, as well as update any electrical, heating and plumbing lines

No matter what option you decide to go with, an addition is a great way to increase the size of your home. Whether it be outward or upward, consider all the factors that you will have to face to make it happen, and it will surely bring you much happiness.