Second Story Additions, Anyone? Things to Consider

Second Story Addition House          Many houses can benefit from a second story addition. If the space available in the house is getting smaller because of growing kids or growing family, and lateral extension is out of the question because of lot space, then vertical additions make sense. From a real estate perspective, doing second story additions also increases the value of your home.

Builders always tell homeowners any extension or any major construction work will have a drastic effect on the overall functionality and design of your house. An extension may seem only an addition of another floor or another room, but there’s a lot more to it. Most people don’t realize is that it entails new electrical wiring installations, plumbing work, duct work installation, and structural work too. These elements all have to be connected to the  existing structures and facilities. That presents a challenge for contractors, and this is why is always favourable to use the best home extension builders possible.

Strength Enhancement to Existing Structure

If you replace your current roof system with a floor complete with rooms and furniture, this means a whole new weight for the existing framework to cope with. Builders don’t just construct a new story on a house without assessing the strength of the existing structural support system which always needs further reinforcement via the addition of steel supporting connections. A good builder will be able to assess the load bearing capabilities of your present roof before work commences and will factor any structural modifications into the initial quote.

Alterations to Existing Floor Design

It is inevitable to add new structures in the main-floor when making second story extensions. An absolute necessity will be the construction of stairs, which reduce your current floor area. How much area the stairs take up depends on the available space and the stair design. Your architect will balance your visual preferences with the overall functionality of the room where the stairs must be. Improper staircase design and location can impede the free movement inside your home.

Installation of HVAC System, Electrical Connections, and Water Pipes

Image of A Bungalow With Second Story AdditionImage of A Bungalow With Second Story Addition. Since you want your second story to be habitable and functional, you have to set it up as such. This is a big task for any builder, and some builders may subcontract electrical installations and plumbing work to electrical engineers and plumbers. However, there are building companies who use their in-house licensed tradesmen, and these are types of house extension builders you should use. Everyone is after energy-efficient systems now, particularly with air-conditioning and heating systems, which is now possible through geothermal heat pumps and solar energy powered HVAC systems. If you have specific ventilation needs, let the contractor know.

Upgrading or Replacing Your Chimney

These types of repairs are definitely not much of an issue for people who have since switched to natural gas fireplaces, which no longer need vertical vents. However, this could be an opportunity to do away with your old fireplace and make room for energy-efficient heating units. By performing these types of renovations, you can get rid of having to free extra space for the chimney. However, if you prefer a classic fireplace, you can always keep the old one and include a vent extension in the new upper story which will heat the top floors too. Your builder deals with the work.

Vacating Your Home for a While

Surprise! You will probably have to move out of the house during the construction process. You won’t be able to live conveniently while the construction is going on. Imagine going about your usual daily activities while workers are tearing down your roof and making wild noises above. It’s also a safety concern as workers can’t be tip-toeing around all day constantly on the look out for your family members.

read more

Rewards and risks of granny flats

Are You Interested in Having Granny Flats? Here are the Pros and Cons

Granny FlatsMany homeowners call up contractors to inquire about the cost of building a granny flat. Who wants to keep that idle space forever when there’s always an opportunity to make something out of it, something that increases the value of your property too. For most people, this is a worthwhile investment that also has the extra bonus of added living space. Its an excellent opportunity and one that’s easily attainable, especially in areas such as Sydney where local regulations allow for quick approval of such additions.

This building niche has well and truly taken off, and many Sydney granny flat builders have taken full advantage of this miniature housing boom. But experts who have been in the industry of home extensions, additions, and flats know there’s more to building these units than only increasing the value of your property and making profitable use of vacant space. It’s time you knew the pros and cons of having a granny flat in your backyard.

Pro: Rent out the flat and gain revenue.

If you keep your empty backyard, it will never generate any extra income and will only cost you additional maintenance expenses. This is the way smart property owners think about the costs of adding granny flats. Most Sydney homeowners don’t take this investment lightly because spending roughly $70,000 to $100,000 for an addition to your property is not to be taken lightly. However, with apt management, you can recover this money in a few years.

Con: You may not actually see revenue.

A Rendered Sydney Granny FlatRenting out a granny flat takes time, and it’s possible that it can sit idle and vacant for weeks or months. If you’re like any busy property owner who has a 9-5 job to wrestle with, finding the time to interview and acquire a tenant can be burdensome. So its possible to end up with a new granny flat in your backyard with no one renting it. When you’re not generating any money of out it, you may have a $80K case of buyer’s remorse.

Many property owners don’t have experience in finding tenants and renting out their property. They don’t know how to advertise it properly, and they don’t know how to find possible renters. They fail to grasp current market values, and they don’t know how much rent is a reasonable amount to ask. These same granny flat owners’ are often poor landlords and don’t know how to manage tenants or enforce the lease and will be hesitant to knock on the door and collect the rent.

If you spent $75,000 to construct a granny flat and you’re leasing it for $200 a week your only seeing a return of $5,200 per year. It would take quite a few years at this rate to recoup your costs, and you may not experience any measurable gains until you sell your entire property. At $200 per week, you’ll see no returns for 12 years without even factoring maintenance expenses and vacancy periods, during which your granny flat generates no revenue at all.

Pro: You get to have a neighbor.

You may be thinking ‘what’s the big deal’ because you already have neighbours, but there are definite advantages gained from having a neighbour in your backyard.  Having a tenant right on your property means someone can watch over your house and take care of your pets while you’re on a holiday. It’s also good to have someone to invite for a barbecue or tea party.

Con: Your new neighbor may be more of a nuisance.

We all have different personalities, and you’d have to be lucky to find someone to lease out your granny flat who shares the same interests as you. Common complaints include renters who love playing music too loud and who frequently invite friends over for parties. Other complaints include suspect activities, tenants who don’t clean up, and residents who disappear for long periods without notice.

read more

7 Common Kitchen Design Mistakes

Kitchen is the busiest part of the house. If you’re designing your kitchen or redesigning it, you should ensure that the new design works for free mobility in this active place. If you look at kitchen design photos online, you will notice that they are not only fantastic but also functional. Don’t get too caught up in your own idea of what’s beautiful and sacrifice function in the process. You will regret this choice. The following are some of the don’ts.

One of the Kitchen Mistakes1. Too much obstruction.

         Pay attention to the sink, stove, and fridge. Interior design specialists call them the kitchen triangle. This triangle is where the much movement goes on. This area benefits from no obstruction. The idea is to have as much access as possible. Unfortunately, this can be sabotaged by wrong placement of the plumbing system in relation to the sink and placing the sink, stove, and fridge too close together. Ideally, you want to put 4-8 feet of space in between them.

2. Lack of counter top.

           It doesn’t matter whether you have a small or spacious kitchen. If you have no counter top space, it’s impossible to properly perform everyday food preparation activities. You have two options. One is to free up space. Two is to add an island. The right choice depends on the size and shape of the kitchen area.

3. Consider available space.

              The greatest mistake homeowners make is ignoring how much space is available and how to work with this available space. This often leads to crowding the kitchen with too much stuff and constructing built-in cabinets in wrong places, both of which constrict space and hamper movement.

4. Bad lighting.

             This may seem solely an aesthetic issue, but one which you cannot dismiss as trivial. The kitchen should create a warm, cozy ambiance. Moreover, good lighting emphasizes overall design. However, good lightning in the kitchen is more than just an aesthetic concern. Poor lighting could sabotage food preparation. If less light hits the sink or cooking area, that’s a problem. You cannot prepare food properly if the counter isn’t sufficiently illuminated.

Kitchen Renovation Techniques5. No ventilation.

            The kitchen easily gets smoky, putrid, and muggy after all the cooking. When your kitchen starts smelling funny and feeling sticky, it’s no longer an inviting place, and staying in it to cook food becomes an unpleasant experience. Kitchen ventilation should not circulate stinky air around the room. Instead, it should improve indoor air quality.

6. Too much trendiness going on.

         Seasoned designers frown at going with the trends when it comes to designing anything in the house. The problem with fads is they all die too soon. It is always best to invest in timeless themes. Ask your contractor about it.

7. Kitchen island in the wrong spot.

               It’s easy to overlook the importance choosing the right kitchen island and right spot for it, because you were caught up with counter top design or lighting fixtures or other things. In small kitchens, islands may be out of the question as they’re more of a nuisance than a usable area. Size and space are not just the issues when considering a kitchen island. Another issue is the shape of your kitchen and how an island will affect the flow of traffic and movement. Again, we should go back to whether a design choice would promote or hinder free movement. Wrong choices lead to a design fiasco that needs to redone. Redoing designs means additional expenditure.

read more

Avoiding Common Mistakes in Home Renovations

Image Where Workers are Busy In Renovating HomeRenovating your home is time-consuming and stressful. Ask anyone who recently had their kitchen renovated. It’s difficult work whether you do the work yourself or even if you hire renovators. It’s expensive and usually you don’t even know whether you’ll achieve your expectations. These are just some of the gripes people have during the whole ordeal. Nonetheless, this doesn’t have to be an entirely dissatisfying experience for you and your family.

Know what home renovation mishaps to avoid.

Mistake: Having No Clear Goals

So you just want to change how your kitchen looks because you saw a fantastic kitchen design in a magazine, and you want your kitchen to look exactly like it. Wait! What’s in it for you and your finances? Renovating a part of your house can cost you an arm and a leg. So if you’re doing it out of your whim, you’re probably overspending and shortchanging yourself.


Don’t make quick home renovation decisions. Assess your finances. Assess your family needs.

Image of People Who Made Mistake in Home RenovationMistake: Underestimating the Project

Oh, it’s just a simple repainting job. The tiles just need to be replaced. You think it’s too easy, so you muscle up and probably call your oldest son to help. A week into your so-called renovation, the whole place is a mess, and you couldn’t figure out how to fix it. You decide it was time to call up renovators. What a waste of energy and money!


Before you buy materials, before you even think of doing the job yourself, ask if you have done it before, if you have the necessary skills, and if you can do exact measurements. Most of the time, what seems easy is quite difficult. And sometimes what has the potential to look like an excellent accomplishment will be sabotaged by your substandard procedures. A lot of builders are called to fix bathrooms a month or so after some DIY renovation, and this is the reason.

Mistake: Failure to Comply Legal Requirements

The law requires that you seek building approvals before doing home renovations. If you’re unsure whether a permit is necessary for the project you wish to do, ask your local council. Local authorities can issue a stop order if they catch you tearing down your kitchen walls and making home extensions without securing the correct permits beforehand. Nonetheless, individual fixes like repainting or cabinet replacements need no permission from your local council. The reason we built this site is so people don’t have to get caught out with these mistakes. You can learn more about what compels us to write here.


Your builder most likely will seek a building permit on your behalf. If not, then consult your local building authority. They will provide you a list of required documents to process the approval. As a property owner, you’re the one responsible for securing the correct documentation, not your builder.

Mistake: Making Wrong Structural Changes

Changing or removing lintels, columns, or buttresses can lead to weakening of your house framework, which leads to future problems. Your house may become vulnerable to even minor tremors due to incorrect building methods during the renovations.


This is another instance wherein the expertise of builders comes into play. Average DIYers are not too familiar with the engineering involved in building construction and renovations that they do anything without much forethought, often leading to a fiasco.

read more

Are You Planning Ground Floor Extensions?

Are You Planning Ground Floor Extensions? Here’s What You Can Expect

Ground Floor Extension               Home extensions all over the country cost more than a billion dollars every year. Builders bank on these projects as one of their staple sources of revenue. Homeowners, on the other hand, perform renovations to increase property value and accommodate their growing families. One very common type of home improvement is a ground floor extension. The best thing about this type of extension is you rarely have to get out of the house while the workers do the job.

But let’s get to the real deal. What are the things you must expect when having an additional space constructed?

Cost: How much are you willing to spend?

What’s the budget you can afford to spend for a home extension? From the type and quality of materials you want to use through to the design you have in mind, your budget will be the governing factor. If you don’t have the budget to meet your requirements, your preferences will have to bend. Good contractors can maximize your results, but ensure you have enough monies set aside to begin. Quality ground floor extensions tend to pay for themselves when selling your home and doubling your initial investment is quite common.
If You Pay More Money You Will Get More for Your House

Don’t rely on advertised rates per square meter of floor space. Experienced Sydney builders will often knock down such rates to entice owners to use their services. What property owners need to watch out for are any hidden costs that can potentially arise. Treat all cost-per-square-meter rates as a baseline for final expenditure. Usually, cost is directly proportional to the size of the planned extension space and relative to the type of materials used, and the complexity of the design.

Because the new addition will have to look like the rest of the house, unless you want to attract curious glances from your neighbors, your choice of material and design depends on the existing structure. That means, the range within which you can work a budget is limited. So having realistic expectations is important to avoid frustration.

Project Duration: How long will you have to deal with construction noise and inconvenience?

How long will you have to deal with construction noise and inconvenience?For what period do you have to deal with the construction noise and inconvenience? Most builders can finish ground floor extensions within 90 days. Realistically, it’s hard to give an exact amount of time for any such project as there can be unforeseen variables such as weather and materials availability. Builders will give you a rough estimate that ranges from 60 days 120 days. If your extensions are time sensitive then it’s wise to leave a buffer of 30 days no matter what the builder says.

To give you an idea, typically, this is what happens. The first week is about laying the groundwork and framework, setting up the structural elements and building the walls. The next two weeks is for plumbing and electricals, flooring and wall enhancements. Construction of the roof, windows, and doors will not begin until at least a month into the project. Finishing work can run for another 2-3 weeks, during which the electrical, plumbing, and ductwork are performed. Walls are then plastered out. Final touches and polishing are carried out during the last few days, by which time the project has run for about three months.

The duration of the project can easily turn out to be a few weeks shorter or longer depending on the scale of the extension.

read more