Home Additions: Should I Build Out or Bump Up for my Remodel?

You need more space, but you don’t want to move. Whether you’re adding another bathroom to ease the morning squeeze or building a new bedroom to accommodate a growing family, where you put the extra space is as important as the space itself. When you’re considering an addition, your choices are to build up or out. We’re here to ensure you start your planning off right by selecting the best option for your situation.

Creative Building Concepts serves Carlisle, Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg, and greater Central Pennsylvania with stunning remodels to suit every dream and design. We’re excited to advise you through the process to ensure that you wake up every day in a space that exceeds your expectations.

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When Should I Build Out?

A first-floor addition is the right call under these circumstances:

  • You have room in your lot- Building a first-floor addition trades yard space for built space. Building out can be an excellent option if you have an ample lot.
  • Your addition is bigger than your current space- You can’t build a second story bigger than your first, but you can build a first-floor addition that more than doubles your square footage.
  • You want an addition that belongs on the first floor- 
    • Kitchen Extension
    • In-Law Suite
    • Accessible Owners’ Suite
    • Mudroom
    • Sunroom

When Should I Bump Up?

Sometimes, it’s better to go up than out. A vertical addition may be a better fit if:
  • You don’t have the space or approval to build out- If you don’t have the lot space, building out may not be an option. Some Homeowners’ Associations are more strict about extending your building’s footprint than extending your home vertically.
  • Your home can structurally support a second story- Your builder will assess your property’s foundation and plan for extra structural support if needed.
  • You have somewhere to stay during major phases in the build- Sometimes, you can live in your home during your remodel or addition. Some things are deal-breakers. Building up requires that your roof be torn off and rebuilt. Most people enjoy living under a roof and must arrange to live elsewhere when your home does not offer one.
  • Your project belongs in a more personal space- Some projects make more sense on a second or third story. These are more intimate spaces. Projects like guest bedrooms and owners’ suites can be great options for bumping up.

Cost of an Addition Vs. Adding a Second Story

It is cheaper to build out than up unless something unusual in your property and lot changes the equation. An experienced contractor can help you understand the options and costs for your specific situation.  We often use a materials list to help us illustrate why building out can be cheaper.

First floor and vertical additions may both involve the following building components:

  • HVAC additions and upgrades
  • Permits
  • Materials

Project components related to building out: 

  • Extending plumbing
  • New foundation (if needed)

Project components related to building up:

  • Adding staircase
  • Removing roof and re-reroofing
  • Structural supports and footings

Additions for Historic Homes

Our Carlisle, Harrisburg, and Mechanicsburg service area is rich with historic homes. This has allowed us to marry modern and vintage spaces with unique remodeling solutions. We love building new things that honor old traditions and bring daily living into the modern age. We have created some absolutely stunning first-floor and vertical additions for historic homes in our area and are proud of the expertise we have developed in this area.

What is the Cheapest Way to Extend my House? 

We just talked about why building out can be cheaper than building up, but not all first-floor additions are created equally. Some first-floor additions require adding a new foundation, whereas some can be accomplished without pouring a new foundation. Bigger projects are more likely to require a new foundation.  Adding a basic foundation will add ten to fifteen percent to your budget.

How Far Can you Bump Out a House?

You can add extra space on your first floor without pouring a foundation for a project that adds between two and twelve linear feet. Bump-outs are great for making a room larger or adding a single room.

How Much Does a Home Addition Cost in Central PA?

The cost to complete a mid-range to upscale addition in Central Pennsylvania ranges from $75,000 to $200,000, depending on the size and type. Home additions are new construction and require many of the same materials and processes used in new home construction. This takes time and craftsmanship.


Need additional addition inspiration? Check out our blogs about remodeling trends here and here.

Your Central Pennsylvania Home Addition and Remodeling Experts 

If you can imagine it, we can build it. We’re excited to share ideas and create your dream space together. Creative Building Concepts cannot wait to add you to our list of happy Central Pennsylvania clients. 

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