How to Plan a Home Addition in 2022

If you are planning a home addition, you will want to know that there are standard procedures and considerations that must go into your plan. Considering that home additions usually involve the foundation, roof, or any other technical structural elements, failure to follow due process may set you up for failure. With Penn Construction + Design onboard as your design-build contractor, you can trust that your home addition will not look like an afterthought, but will be done right to your perfection.

From the design and budget stage to logistics, building permits, and construction stage, this article will walk you through how to prepare for each stage of the home addition process. The following are the basic questions your home addition and improvement plan must address:

What is the purpose of the home addition?

Is your in-law moving in? Maybe you feel the need to convert your basement into a new room that can accommodate an extra occupant. Other reasons for needing a home addition include the need for outdoor living where you wish to unwind after a stressful day, a home office — since you have finally decided to become a work-from-home mom, or a bigger kitchen because your kitchen appliances and fixtures are outdated and not functional to your cooking routines. To know the direction you are heading towards at the beginning of your home addition plan, you will want to highlight the exact problem you are looking to solve in your home. This is the very first step in planning any home addition.

If these problems make your home less functional to your needs and moving into a new home is not a consideration, then a home addition/improvement may be necessary. For example, you may want to add a new living space by finishing your basement, attic, or garage.

What types of home additions are possible?

There are three basic factors that will determine the types of home addition that are possible in your home. They are;

  • The available square footage

The size of your unfinished basement, front yard, or garage can limit the kind of home addition you can go for, considering the kind and size of fixtures as well as furniture that will be needed in the space. For example, adding a new bedroom may require more square footage compared to adding a home office.

  • The location of the space

Some home additions may not be suitable for the area you want to use. For example, a detached garage may not be convenient for the children’s playroom, because you want the playroom to be in close proximity to the other rooms in your home.

  • Local building code

The moment you begin to nurture the thought of any kind of home addition, you will want to know if the scale of your project is allowed under the city or county’s set of construction regulations. Examples of construction that may not be permitted in a city or county include a new-level basement, new story, or wall demolition for extra square footage.

How should the room look and feel?

You will want to think about how you intend to live in your new living space and ensure it is functional for your needs. Whether you want it to be minimalist, rustic, or luxuriously fully automated, the ambiance and decor of your new living space should be considered when it is time to design. For example, if you’re planning to convert your garage to a bedroom, you may want to add extra square footage to it if you want your new bedroom to have a master bath.

What is the right budget?

Budget is one of the most important aspects of planning your home addition. Whether you aim to fund the project with savings, a home equity loan, or a credit card loan, you will want to be prepared for the possible cost of your home addition and be sure that it is within your expectations and affordability. Factor in other expenses such as additional heating and cooling costs, the cost of building permits, and rental costs (if you do not have family or friends to stay with during the construction timeline).

To get a rough estimate, carry out personal research on homeowners around you that may have embarked on similar projects. This will prepare you for the costs to expect when you reach out to your contractor. Usually, it is easier to make a good decision when you get bids or quotes from more than one contractor. This provides you the opportunity to compare quotes and also widens your chance of getting a better deal.

According to HomeAdvisor, whether you are looking for a balcony or a bump-out, the national average for home addition is $49,662. The cost of a home addition typically ranges between $22,394 and $81,031. However, the price can surpass $100,000, depending on factors like the room type, style, and square footage, as well as the materials used.

To arrive at the right budget, you will want to discuss your expectations and needs with an expert contractor. After which your space will be inspected to know the general condition and square footage of the space. In addition, be sure that all major and miscellaneous costs are spelled out in the budget to avoid any unforeseen future costs or misunderstandings.

Which contractor do I want to hire for my home addition?

To guarantee the perfect delivery of your project, getting an expert contractor that has experience taking on home addition projects similar to yours is very important. An experienced contractor will save you time and eliminate your worries concerning technicalities such as construction hazards or premature repairs after project delivery. To find good prospects, you will want to use the resources and connections around you to research contractors. For example, you may ask friends or homeowners in your neighborhood who have used the services of a contractor, check professional listings online, or read and review testimonials. Unless you already have a tested and trusted contractor, vetting a new contractor from a number of prospects can be challenging.

Once you have outlined some prospects, make calls or set up one-on-one meetings with each contractor to gather further relevant information such as their portfolio and a run-through of their method. You may use your judgment as well as the counsel of your loved ones to decide on the contractor that best suits your budget and building expectations. Have it in mind that a cheaper budget does not mean better, so while you are going for a favorable budget ensure you will not be missing out on a quality job.

What is the project timeline?

From start to finish, all home addition projects comprise different stages. From carpentering and flooring to HVAC and fixture installation each stage has a standard delivery time that can be merged to help predict a realistic project time frame.

Having the knowledge of a realistic project timeline will help you know how to prepare yourself for the routine or lifestyle changes that will emerge once construction begins. For example, if the scale of your home improvement project will turn your entire home into a major construction zone where vibrations from power tools, hammering, and other heavy construction activities could cause noise and air pollution, knowing the project timeline will help you decide on how long you and your family need to stay out of your home.

What permits do I need?

It is okay if you do not know the permits that are mandatory for your home addition project. To get the right information about the permits required for your project, get in touch with your municipality. However, hiring a licensed design-build contractor will save you the stress of fulfilling building permit requirements. For example, at Penn Construction + Design, our services include helping you get all required building permits on your behalf. We understand that there are local zoning directives regarding quality control, height limits, safety rules, and building material requirements that should not be overlooked.

List your non-negotiables

When planning any home addition or home improvement project, separating your wants (what you can live without/would-be-nice-to-haves) from your needs (what you can not live without/must-haves) is fundamental to creating a space that is functional to your needs. For example, if you really hope for your new bedroom to have a traditional hardwood floor, tiles with wood patterns can be a good alternative if all you care for is your love for rustic home designs. If trimming down your budget becomes necessary at some point, it is easier for you to opt for wood-patterned tiles.


After having a consultation with your contractor, during which all your needs and expectations concerning the structure and layout of your new space have been communicated, the next step is designing. This moment of brainstorming will guide the architect on the information to use when designing your new addition. Our designers at Penn Construction + Design will not stop at designing the structure of your home addition, but will also go further to plan the interior decoration and finishing. Following the approval of the final blueprint and budget, construction begins.

Bottom line

For over 15 years, Penn Construction and Design has been rendering home addition services that have transformed homeowners’ visions into reality. Our track record spreads across Delaware County PA, Montgomery County PA, and the City of Philadelphia. Our consultation line is open for you to begin your home addition plans right away, contact us today.