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By: Amy Ballinger
So, you need more space in your home? Who doesn't? Whether you need another bedroom for your family or guests or you just need more recreational space adding a room to your home can be rewarding now and when you sell. The average cost for a room addition in the U.S. runs between $50,000 and $65,000 when hiring a professional remodeling contractor. One consideration you may give if you are adding the room specifically to increase the value of your home is, what is you home worth per square foot? Just take the appraised value and divide it by the number of square feet. This is a rough estimate, but may help you decide if the increase in value is worth the outlay.
Because a room addition is an expensive home improvement, it truly brings to light the time and experience versus money dilemma. You may want to save that outlay by undertaking the effort yourself. But, be prepared, adding a room is a big project, it requires a certain skill set and it can be very time consuming.
Most room additions should be carried out with the help of a professional contractor. But if you're good with tools and have the time and patience, there are aspects of the project that can be completed with minimal help and can save you money when the contractor comes in to complete the job.
Professional remodeling contractors are recommended for laying foundations, dealing with complex zoning or permit issues, anything to do with load bearing walls, electrical and plumbing.
But, if your project is simpler you may be able to carry it out yourself. Converting an attic into an additional room is within the ability of most who have some experience with home projects. Converting a closet is usually even simpler. Dividing an existing room into two can sometimes be carried out in a few weekends.
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So, if you are considering dividing an existing room, here are some basic tips:
First remember, sufficient planning is the single most important aspect of any home improvement project.
Measure the space and decide where you want to divide the existing room. Get estimates for 2 x 4's, panels, moulding, screws and nails, etc and form a materials budget.
One plan for dividing an existing room, for example, is simplicity itself. It uses a homosote panel - a kind of pressboard in service for over 100 years - held between strips of moulding. The panel is placed along a line to divide the room and held in place at the top with L-braces screwed into studs. Some materials provide soundproofing as effective as ordinary plaster drywall.
Next up in the level of difficulty is the classic skeleton of 2 x 4's. With an assistant to hold ends, tools, etc this can be erected in a few weekends. Be sure to take the time and care to make cuts at right angles and fit pieces together precisely.
Some are simply nailed together, although L-braces will provide for better structural integrity. Sections, and sometimes the entire wall, can be constructed on a cleared floor and hauled up into place.
Be sure to develop plans for any needed wiring or computer cabling before you get out the hammer and nails. Unless you have extensive experience, electrical work is almost always better carried out by a professional electrician. Non-professional wiring work may violate home insurance policy rules, so read the fine print and consult your insurer.
If your project is more extensive than converting or dividing an existing room, then be sure to research any permit, environmental, safety codes or other legal issues before getting started. The room addition inspection and permitting process usually has different components. Basic foundation and carpentry aspects are covered. But, depending on the kind of construction, plumbing and electrical permits may be required. You don't want city, county, or state inspectors requiring you to make expensive adjustments after you're done.