Top Tips for Building an Extension

Finding the right house involves a lot of compromise, so the last thing you want if you’re found a great house in a desirable location is to let it go because it’s a smidge too small. If this is the case for you, or if you simply don’t want to move, building an extension could be the solution for you.

More and more people are building extensions onto their properties in a bid to add value and make the space more livable. It might seem simple as so many people are doing it, but extensions are major building work that can cause a lot of disruption.

Before you start the process, we’ve put together some top tips you need to think about that could make the process easier.

  1. Look at other people’s extensions

Firstly, it’s a good idea to look at other people’s extensions. Odds are someone down your street has already taken the plunge and extended their property, so it may be worth your time to ask them if you can see their extension to get an idea of what could work in your space.

Being slightly nosey can help you gain some inspiration, and you can also ask them questions about the process itself and how they found it. This will assist you with planning timescales and what disruption may be in store. You can also get an idea of what you definitely like and don’t like, helping you to reduce the time spent going back and forth in the planning stage.

  1. Think about the exterior materials

Many people are concerned about how the inside of their extension will look, and rightly so, but this isn’t the only thing you need to think about. Budgeting is important, but not at the detriment of the exterior materials. Rather than choosing the cheapest bricks or stone, instead try and match the bricks to your existing house. If this isn’t possible, it could be best to go for a white render. This will clearly define the old from the new, but it won’t look as out of place as mismatched bricks that clash.

  1. Get planning permission well in advance

Before you even think about building an extension, you need to consider planning permission. Visiting neighbors who also have extensions can be handy in this regard because you can see what is likely to get accepted, and you can ask for advice on the planning permission process. That being said, do bear in mind that your extension may not go exactly as their did. For example, if you live in a terraced house in London, the amount of space between mid-terrace and end-terrace houses will be different. One might have a garage and the other might not, in which case one will require permission for demolition in London (not always the easiest to obtain) whereas another might not.

In contrast, detached houses in Ohio will be entirely different as no two tend to be the same, so the planning permissions required will change drastically. With this in mind, make enquiries and request permission before you buy materials and hire a builder.

  1. Scout the best builder with positive experience

The final tip we have for building an extension is to spend a long time scouting a builder who will do a good job. Too many people get stung by cowboy builders when they’re doing home improvements. The best way you can avoid this is to prioritise word of mouth recommendations. Ask your neighbors, friends and family who they used, eke out lots of genuine reviews, and make sure you ask to see real projects they’ve worked on where possible. This should minimize the chances of you getting stung.


Hopefully these tips help you on your home extension journey! If you’ve recently had an extension, what are some tips you would share?


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