Surviving Your Home Addition

It's your first, and perhaps only, home addition project. Don't be overwhelmed! Here's a list of what to expect to help guide you along.

1. Day to Day Arrangements

You've chosen your contractor. Great! From day one of the project, expect your life to become a little busier. Although you will not be responsible for ordering materials and scheduling (your general contractor will handle this), you should still keep in mind there will be a number of deliveries and trucks coming and going. This includes a dumpster, a portable potty for the onsite workers, and materials throughout the job. Keep this in mind when parking your car, needing to mow your lawn, with any pets, and all other daily activities at your home.

2. Minor Wear & Tear to Your Yard

As mentioned, there will be deliveries. Expect some minor wear and tear to your yard, as trucks may from time to time need to drive over your lawn. There will also be a lot more foot traffic back and forth. If you have any concerns regarding your yard, discuss them with your general contractor and the onsite crew beforehand to avoid any mishaps. The crew should be used to taking care when it comes to the customers lawn. If there is a new foundation being put in, expect a lot of dirt to be displaced and moved around. This is unavoidable and a part of the project.

3. Dust and Drafts

At some point, the addition requires cutting into your existing house. This means some slight drafts from time to time, and also the inevitable dust. Any crew involved with the demolition stages should take all precautionary steps to avoid letting an abundance of dust into your home, which requires hanging plastic or cloth sheets upon your floors and walls to isolate the dust. This also means avoiding unwanted scratches or blemishes to existing floors and walls. The workers will also do there best to seal up any openings which may be causing drafts. However, be prepared for some dust and the occasional draft throughout the project.

4. Project Delays

Before the project begins, there should be an outlined plan for the entire project provided by the general contractor. Look it over thoroughly to ensure there are no conflicts with your own schedule. Keep in mind though, there is always the chance of delays or change of schedule for various reasons. These could be change orders made by you the homeowner, or poor weather conditions, both of which are out of the general contractor's control. If such cases arrive, expect some minor delays. We recommended you keep an open dialogue with the crew and the general contractor throughout the project to make sure everybody is on the same page.

5. Change Orders: Price and Delays

What is a change order? Throughout the project, you may gain inspiration from another home you saw, decide to go with a different window location, or other similar changes. A change order is when you bring some alterations or changes to the initial contract. Keep in mind any changes made along the way will effect the overall price and schedule. Each change order should be clearly documented and approved by both the homeowner and the general contractor before being processed and completed.

6. Wiring Options and Future Planning

If you're considering installing specific wiring for speakers, alarm systems, or similar, make sure the onsite electrician and crew are aware. Such systems will most likely be installed by separate companies hired by yourself, and so you'll need to ensure there are no conflicts of scheduling. Announcing such plans after the walls have already had sheet-rock or drywall installed will cause delays and perhaps additional costs. 

In line with this, if you're planning on an in-law moving in with you, or intend on living in your home long-term, you may consider adding some aging-in-place concepts. This could be adding wider door frames and hallways, additional blocking within bathroom walls for future grab bars, or other similar concepts.