photography by Christina Kiffney Photography
This is one of the main topics that people search for during their initial discovery period. Sadly, there isn’t a magic calculator that you can use to find the answer. Keep reading to help determine how much your addition might cost.
Many people cling to the idea of using a price per square foot. While it is a highly effective tool when doing new construction, with many builders across the country finding it predictable and profitable, it can be a disappointing practice to use in the world of remodeling and additions.
If you are going to use this method, I’d suggest aiming high...not low. The days of a $250 per square foot addition are long gone. You should be wary if you are getting quotes for $300-$350 per square foot. Aiming more for $400-$500 per square foot if you are looking for a modern, high performance space will help with the caveats that come with remodeling, like blowing a large hole in the side of your house to help connect the new addition and the collateral damage that comes with it. The old floors will have to be connected, the old walls will have to be painted, the old roofing will need to be tied into.
The price per square foot can swing wildly for doing an addition with a kitchen in it versus an addition with a family room in it. Kitchens and bathrooms are very intensive with finishes. The lighting is more developed, the plumbing is complicated, the cabinets and counters demand consideration. These all add costs to these spaces, compared to just finishing a living room.
Luckily, outdoor spaces can be enjoyed for many of our seasons in Boulder. Things like front porches and decks can provide tremendous relief from a cramped home, and for a decent value. These spaces are less complicated; for example, there aren’t any walls and there isn’t any HVAC, so the price per square foot can be less than interior spaces. Be mindful that a deck on a second floor will cost more than the same size deck at ground level. This is due to the increased engineering, stairs, and railings. Read my previous blog about outdoor living spaces.
It’s funny how people have certain perceptions that a main level addition can cost less or more than a poptop addition. Honestly, there really isn’t a big difference in cost per square foot between the two. If you are going through all the work to tear off the roof and add a second story, then it makes sense to add at least 400 sqft. This will get a primary suite with a new stairwell. But you can put a smaller addition onto the rear of a home. A 200 sqft addition on the main level can open up the floorplan just enough to make the house more comfortable. Thus it could be cheaper to do a ground floor addition if this is the case. See Mike’s previous blog about how to add space to your existing home.
During your initial consultation with a Designer or Builder, it is nice to get some ballpark pricing for the different categories you’re interested in. For example, kitchens start at $135,000, 3-piece bathrooms start at $35,000, and front porches start at $50,000. This “menu” can help you decide what the first course will be. But we can’t forget about design fees. I have found that an additional 15% of your construction costs will be needed to cover the design period, including designing, architectural services, interior design, and permitting. For example, the $135,000 kitchen mentioned above will also require $20,000 in design and permitting services. So your all-in number is closer to $155,000.
I hope this helps answer some of your questions surrounding the potential cost of your future addition. As you can see there are many factors that can affect the cost of the project, so it can vary, but this blog post should give you a launching point.