Experiences with additions?

marys1000June 24, 2008

There is a new listing today I am going to drive by. If it isn't too dumpy looking I will ask to see it.

I checked the county and it has an addition. My experiences with additions on ranches in the lower end of the price scale is that they seem to be poorly done and cause problems. And its not always just the roof but spongy feeling floor joists/floors or sloping floors, plus where the house and addition roof meet thing, the eavestrough drainage thing - its complicated and I think a lot of small contractors don't get it right. I talked to a realtor 5 or 6 months ago and she mentioned a leak between the house and bedroom addition that "patches up fine when they do it"??? or something to that effect (I suspect you can guess the first thought that came to mind)

I have shy'ed away from these in the past but I'm feeling a little more desperate.

Any experiences good or bad here? Things to look for if I end up seeing it?

I suspect there's no way to really tell without going on the roof?

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lyfia

Getting on the roof isn't going to tell you much unless you are an experienced roofer. Look in the attic instead and see if you see evidence of leaks.

Valleys are fairly common on houses and as long as they slope downward and away from the house there shouldn't be too much of an issue except for if the roofer didn't know what they were doing.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 5:43PM
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marys1000

I wouldn't think that the attic would go all the way through? Or are you saying in the attic you would look at the two walls?
In a ranch I don't think I'll be able to get into the attic either - maybe if I get to the point I want an inspection.
I remembered another story problem - a friends parents put on an addition without something right, proper ventilation underneath? and mold grew underneath and was really bothering her when she went over there.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 5:59PM
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popeda

All I know is that when the DH was asked to do a large addition for a friend, he told her he would not do it unless he could re-design and re-roof the entire structure. He said it just never works out to stick an addition on. Never may be too strong, but it convinced the friend (who needed a new roof anyway).

With this economy, it seems like it might work out to try patience, if you can, and see if some deals don't appear eventually, without additions. Sad, but likely.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 6:01PM
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mariend

Most additions need permits. Ask to see the permit, or go to your local building office--patching a leak is not acceptable--sorry, my DH has seen too many that even pull away from the house later. Also it may not be insurable or you might not be able to get a loan on it.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 6:08PM
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marys1000

I was thinking, people add garage all the time right? Is that much different?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 6:30PM
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kathyg_in_mi

We put an addition onto our old ranch back in 1982. We sold in 2006. Never had a problem with it, unless you count the tree that fell on it! We did have an access to both the crawl space under it and the attic. There was one spot in the attic that you could see daylight so DH went in and fixed that. Don't know how that happened!
Never had nail pops in it (unlike the rest of the house), it never pulled away from the rest of the house, and DH, his brother and dad built it!
Yes, they did pull permits.
Kathy G in MI

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 7:47PM
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marys1000

Was that spot in the attic where the addition joined the house? Or just a spot in the middle of the roof somewhere?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 5:34AM
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lyfia

My old house had an addition and the attic was open all the way between new and old. It was a fairly normal tie in to a straight part on the roof.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 9:21AM
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chisue

Our old house had a family room addition that was uncomfortable in winter because it had no cold air returns. The heat floated up to the ceiling and stayed there.

Neighbors converted a one-car garage to living space -- same heating problem, plus it still looked like a garage because of the shape. (Would have helped it they'd added some windows on a side wall.)

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 12:05PM
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stir_fryi

I also have a $70,000 addition (kitchen) on my house that is beautiful, but very cold in the winter. I wish I could figure out how to fix it.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 2:04PM
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chisue

stir_fryi -- Is it on a slab or can you get underneath it? The HVAC guy on our new house was an eejit; didn't feed enough (gas forced air) heat into north-facing rooms. We retro-fitted by installing a small boiler in the basement that feeds hot water through tubing under the floors. These are now our favorite rooms. I wish the whole house had in-floor heat!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 4:19PM
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kathyg_in_mi

The spot was along the facia(?) somewhere. Near the corner at the porch, but not where house met addition.

Kathy G in MI

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 11:29PM
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stir_fryi

chisue -- it is on a crawl and the kitchen faces west. At first I thought the problem was drafty can lights. So, I had them come back out and reinsulate the can lights.

It did not help. The cabinets on the outside wall are freezing inside.

The addition was done four years ago. My DH is so tired of me complaining about the cold (ie: "put a sweater on") but my relatives have commented on it as well.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 9:15AM
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lyfia

stir_fryi - Do you have insulation in the walls and underneath the floor? If you do is it possible the insulation is fiber glass and it was crammed into a space that is too small for the recommended size of that particular batting? Fiberglass shouldn't be squished.

When we looked at a house for sale that was owner built they kept saying they had r-19 in the walls and I look at the walls and they are framed with 2x4's - essentially the insulation is less than if they'd used R-13 that is commonly used in 2x4 framing becuase they must have packed the R19 in there.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 9:24AM
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laurie57

I know this is an older post, but I had to offer my two cents. I bought my house 20+ years ago -- originally a 1951 2-bedroom bungalow. I've done 2 major additions, including renovations, and now I have a 3 br/2.5 bath ranch with a large living room, family room, and updated kitchen. I've had no problems as a result of either addition, and I am glad I did both of them.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 10:53AM
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marys1000

Hey Laurie thanks for chiming in, it sounds nice. For knowledge sake were these add on add ons or did you sort of open up the whole roof and change the whole roof line? Did you let the contractor figure it all out or did you hire an architect?
At the time were there discussions of the "right" way to do it to forestall problems? Guess I'm trying to figure out what to look for in a successful addition vs. one thats not.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 11:00AM
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laurie57

I'm so sorry I'm so late - probably too late now, but I did not "open up the whole roof." On the first addition, the roof joined the existing roof - same plane, etc. on the back, but extended higher at the ridge. No problems with it so far (15 yeears). I replaced the shingles on the old roof so they would match. On the 2nd addition 5 yrs ago, the roof "L'd" in to the back of the house, and again nothing special was necessary for the existing roof.

I did not use an architect. I drew my own plans using a software package, then had them re-drawn (1st time by my uncle who has an architectural engineering degree, and 2nd time by a plan drawer who my contractor suggested).

This will sound strange, but one of the things I was worried about was the ceiling heights matching between the kitchen (old part) and dining area (new part) with an open design. I got around it by running a soffit above the kitchen counter and installing recessed lights. It may have worked out fine without it, but the oldest part of my house had 8'7" ceiling heights and I was worried it might be off a little.

To me, a successful addition is one that doesn't look like an addition - it fits with the style of the original house and has good traffic flows. That can be very hard to achieve without getting into expensive structural changes. In my case, I had to "trade-off" a little in the traffic flow area. On my first addition, the orignal living room became the master bedroom. To access the bedrooms, you must walk through the kitchen. The kitchen layout helped here, and it has never been a problem -- I don't think anyone has ever really noticed it. On the second addition, the new family room is also accessed through a doorway in the kitchen. I would have much preferred to open up the entire wall, but the original house was masonry and it was a load bearing wall. It would have been quite expensive to change it. On the upside, it gave me a nice long wall in the family room to put a bar/cabinets. It turned out very nice, and I'm happy with it.

The process can be trying, especially if you're living there during the construction. You wouldn't believe what I lived through on my 1st addition (no kitchen for 6 months and dust galore!). The good thing about that though is you're there everyday and you will be able to catch mistakes quickly.

Good luck with yours! Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 10:22AM
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