Adding an Addition to an Older Home

October 25, 2017

Adding space to your home can be invaluable if you live in an older home in a great neighborhood. Mature, tree-lined streets and architectural charm are what captivates many when it comes to older homes, but there are also things you must consider when renovating an older home. Take a look below to make sure you are prepared for your home remodel or addition. 


1. Structural Stability:

 A second story with occupied rooms will weigh much more than your old roof system, so engineers will need to calculate how much weight the main-floor walls and foundation will carry and how to hold that weight up. Second stories require structural support that includes adding plywood and steel connections at main-level walls and down into the foundation to meet code requirements. This is particularly important in older homes, as they were built with different standards in code compliance. If you have the exterior yard space, building out may be a better option. 


2. Existing Chimney: 
 When you add a story to your home and have a masonry chimney, you need to eliminate the chimney or build it up (with brick or a metal flue) to above the roof level. This can be a simple decision, particularly if you never use your fireplace or want to convert to a natural gas fireplace. 

It’s also possible to save a wood-burning fireplace and remove a separate mechanical chimney by replacing older equipment with new energy-efficient units that can vent horizontally (instead of vertically). The space that a mechanical chimney took up can also become a convenient chase for duct work, plumbing or electrical to run to the second floor. The brick in older homes fireplaces may be too old to be salvaged, but instead could be used as a focal point within the home or in the exterior yard space. 



3. Replacing Windows and Doors: 


Depending on the age of the home, the original windows may have already been replaced for more energy efficient models.  If there are no covenants on your older home, meaning it is not a historic landmark, replacing the doors and windows should be on the top of the list in your considerations during the design phase. Not only will it increase your energy efficiency, but it will also allow for all the windows to match within your home. It's important to make sure that you discuss the best options in not just appearance, but efficiency with your designer. 


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 4. Roof & Siding Replacement: 


When adding an addition to an older home it's important to consider the overall look of your addition from the street view. If your home is older, it will be difficult to find an exact match in the roofing or siding materials, so replacement would be the best way to go. 

Some older homes may contain asbestos in the composition of their siding, especially if your house was constructed prior to 1972, when asbestos became illegal to incorporate into building materials. It's important to consult with a qualified building professional before tampering with the siding on an older home. 

Adding an addition is a great time to replace your roof, as it will give an overall appealing aesthetic. If your current roof  is not very old, it may be possible to find a match. 







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5. Insulation: 
One of the biggest complaints in older homes is their lack of insulation. Renovating an older home when adding an addition is a wonderful time to incorporate insulation because a permit has already been pulled for the renovation. 
The process can be as simple as cutting a small hole in the top portion of the drywall in each room and spraying loose insulation into the walls. Sprayfoam insulation requires the removal of interior walls and then the replacement of the drywall. Sprayfoam is recommended for rooms that will already be opened during the remodel, while loose insulation is good for rooms that are only having light cosmetic changes. 



Photo by StarCraft Custom Builders





Ready to design and build your new addition? Give me a call or shoot me an email. Let’s go over your “Wish List” and start designing your gorgeous, functional and safe new home addition.


Stacy Lensis, AKBD

office/showroom: 703-367-8999

mobile: 703-856-5963


If you live in the Northern Virginia area and you’re interested in a free estimate, or would like to know how Lensis Builders, Inc. can make your home even better, give us a call at 703-367-8999 or fill out a short contact form. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next project, visit our Pinterest page.