by Dan Fritschen

Are the spaces of your home being outgrown by your family? Do you feel that your ground floor layout does not provide your family a secluded space? Do the toys on the floor give you embarrassment when guests have to pick their way around them just to find a place to sit? Maybe a family room addition is what you need.


Photo by Carrie Qualters

A family room addition can be the perfect space for your family.  It will provide extra room for you to define and redefine as your family’s needs change. It will also add value to your home. Based on Remodeling Magazine’s latest cost/value estimate, a homeowner can recoup about 83% (on average) of the cost of the addition when the house is sold.

Here are the steps if you are planning a family room addition:

• Do a property assessment. Consider the grade of your lot, easements and landscaping to identify the spot for your construction.

• If your home is positioned on a sloped lot, how much additional cost will it take to create a spot for the new room that will be level with the existing structure? If you have to raise the level of the addition, can you use the space under the new room? Can it be used for storage for lawn and gardening materials and supplies, or bikes and other outdoor items?

• Consider also the requirements in your local building codes. There might be restrictions on the size of the addition or the materials you will use.

• Think about the access to the new family room. Consider how you will connect the additional room to the existing structure.

• What changes will be required to the exterior of your home to accommodate the addition?

• Are there any changes that will be made to the interior of your home? Will the addition affect the functionality of the existing rooms?

• What is the ideal size of the new room? Consider the size of the existing structure when you make this decision. Having the two in proportion is critical, especially when considering resale value. Do not make the new family room so big that it overwhelms the house, or so small that is does not fit with the rest of the house.

• Will the addition give you the opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of your house? Should skylights or solar panels be added?

• How will the exterior portion of the new family room, including any doors and windows,  complement or match the rest of the exterior of the house?

• Consider as well the roof-line, so that will work with the existing roof. The roofing material should be matched with the rest of the house.

After you have addressed these things, make a checklist of tasks for the construction. These include the demolition of some portion of the existing exterior walls; construction of the foundation, the framing, roof, and exterior walls; installation of electricity, heating and cooling, and plumbing (if necessary); construction of the interior walls, flooring, and ceiling; installation of lighting and plumbing fixtures, and additions such as built-in cabinets and a fireplace; and painting or wallpapering.

This work cannot be done over one weekend. Some tasks, such as removing walls and installing wiring, duct work and dry wall will definitely be messy. It is therefore important to plan the project so that it will disrupt your family affairs as little as possible.

Considering your long- and short-term needs, planning for the interior and exterior design, and remaining consistent with the style of the house, you can build a magnificent new living space with a family room addition. This will not only improve the quality of lifestyle of your family, but also increase the resale value of your property.

You can use our free Calculator to get an estimate of your family room addition cost. We can also help you find a reputable contractor in your area.