Adding an extension to your home can be a great way to obtain more living space without going to the huge expense and effort of moving home. However, if your property is situated on a narrow lot, finding the extra space for a conventional, ground-level home extension can be next to impossible.
If your narrow lot home has an attached garage, building an over-garage extension may be the best way to add an extra room to your home or expand an existing room. This unique type of home extension has several advantages that make them particularly suitable for narrow-lot homes. However, there are also drawbacks to choosing an over-garage extension, so you should do some serious research and consider your needs carefully. Once you've decided, contact a home extension builder.
What are the advantages of choosing an over-garage extension for my narrow lot home?
They use little to no ground space
The chief advantage of choosing an over-garage extension is that they take up little to no extra ground space on your land -- you may have to sacrifice a few square feet to install HVAC systems, new plumbing, etc., but otherwise, your home's floor plan will not change.
This makes an over-garage extension the best type of extension for many narrow lot homes where ground-level space is at a premium. Even if your narrow lot does have space to spare, building a ground-level extension means sacrificing valuable outdoor space. A ground-level extension may also end up crowding homes on neighbouring lots, reducing your privacy and potentially leading to planning disputes.
They make use of existing infrastructure
Because your garage already has sturdy concrete foundations to support its weight, building an over-garage extension can be the best way to expand your home without going to the significant trouble and expense of having new foundations built. Building over your garage can also make it easier to attach your home's existing utilities, such as gas mains, electrical wiring and water plumbing, to your new extension. This can be particularly useful if you plan to use the extension as an additional kitchen, bathroom or laundry room.
They can blend seamlessly into your home design
Many homeowners are wary of adding single-story extensions to their homes because of the way they look, and a poorly integrated extension can easily ruin the elegant lines of a well-designed home. Over-garage extensions are attached directly to the second storey of your home and built over a pre-existing structure. This makes it much easier to match them to your home's overall architectural style, and a well-crafted over-garage extension will look indistinguishable from the original structure of your home.
What about the disadvantages?
Extensive modifications may be required
Many attached garages are not built to withstand the extra weight of an over-garage extension, and your garage will need to be professionally inspected before any extension building can take place. Your garage walls and ceiling may need to be strengthened to accommodate the extra load, and the garage foundations may also need to be reinforced if they are particularly shallow or your home is built on shifting soils. These modifications can increase the cost of your extension significantly.
Insulation can be a problem
In most cases, attached garages are not insulated to the same extent as homes. If you plan to build an over-garage extension, both the garage and the extension will need to be extensively insulated to prevent excessive heat exchange between the poorly-insulated garage and the extension. Without this added insulation, your new extension can become unbearably hot, and may cause warm air to leak into parts of your original home.