Design News, Design Tips

Up or out? Adding a second storey vs extending out

Should we go up – or out?

A question often asked by clients who are either happy in their current home but need some additional space or have purchased a home they love, but the current footprint does not meet their needs. So do they go up or out?

Second Storey Addition Considerations
Issues to consider and factor in.

From a safety perspective, you probably won’t be able to live in your home while a second storey is being added. You will need to move out for a while until the builder advises its safe to return.
From a cost perspective, removal of all or some of the roof will be necessary. The existing home needs to be well protected against any weather and even with the best preparation not always possible. The work involved in this process is very labour intensive and can add a considerable cost to the build.
The current footings, slab, and framing may not be designed to carry the weight of an upstairs addition. We engage services of an engineer to address these issues in the initial planning stages. Council approval will also form part of this process. Approval may not be granted if any of your neighbours lodge an objection to this development. This process can be timely and expensive.
The benefits of a second-storey addition can be terrific, despite the issues outlined above. In most cases, it’s the bedrooms a family room and additional bathrooms that are located on this level. Second story addition is also more favourable to smaller plot sizes.

From the new storey, you might capture some lovely views you’ve never really seen before from the lower level.
In most cases, you will achieve around a 30% increase in footprint.
You will not lose any garden space.
Extending Out Considerations
In most cases this is our preferred option, depending on whether the site is large enough, and if the proposed extension will fit the site and give the owners the space adequate for their needs.

The process is less expensive as most of the work can be undertaken with minimal impact on the homeowners. In most cases, they can remain in the current home, as we can block off the construction area and access the construction area externally.
The design of the extension should be sympathetic to existing home whenever possible so that there is a coherent feel between the existing and new. We don’t recommend using a design that is entirely different to the existing home, although this seems to be in vogue at the moment for some developments. If you have decided to stay in your current home and add an extension, it is rather apparent that you are happy with the current design. Then why not add to that rather than a completely different style? This never makes sense to me.
It is obvious that you will lose some of the outdoor areas. However with a clever design incorporating outdoor rooms and workable spaces, often the outdoor area can be better than it was before.
In summary extending out is always the better option if you have space and cost is a key consideration.


If you’d like help deciding on the best option for your place, whether to go up or out or even redecorate, please contact us or give us a call – 07 5504 7709. We’ll schedule a time to view your property and provide recommendations.

Additional resources
You could also get inspired by other sites, such as Houzz, Pinterest, and Instagram.