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Types of House Extensions

Are you thinking of expanding your home, but feel a bit overwhelmed at all the options out there? You’re not an architect, after all. So how will you know which type of extension will suit your family best. Or even what half the terminology means?! Well, let us put you right on that score. In this article we’ll outline the various types of house extensions available to give you an idea of what’s involved, the costs, and how they’ll add value to your home:

Single Storey Extensions

No mystery here – a single storey extension is indeed an add-on building which extends to the same height as the first level of your existing home. For that reason, it’s usually less expensive than a double storey extension and an over-structure extension. There are three main types of single storey extensions available. These are rear house extension, side extension and wrap around house extension. Bellow is a detailed explanation of each: 

Rear House Extension

An extremely popular form of single storey extension, this form of home renovation is the type you’ll find in most interior design magazines and lifestyle newspaper supplements. That’s because it beautifully takes in the fashion for the large open-plan dining room, kitchen and seating area, with glass sliding doors to extend the space out into the garden too. This type of extension gives a house a more communal feeling, with the family able to spend more time together in the one space. At the same time, it will add considerable value to the price of your home. As the name suggests this type of extension is built onto the back of your property so isn’t usually visible from the front.

Side Return Extension

You know that sizeable alleyway at the side of your home that’s used for storing the bins and the kids' bikes? Well, you could really do something special with it by turning it into a side extension. Often regarded as the least expensive form of house extension, it’s pretty amazing how much this type of home renovation project can alter the look and feel of your home. You could create a bright open-plan kitchen/dining area by adding floor to ceiling sliding glass doors or panelling and roof lights. Or, use the space to add a guest bedroom or home office. Because it’s visible, if it’s a large side extension you’re planning to build, then you will need to apply for planning permission.

Wrap Around House Extension

To maximise ground floor potential in your home it’s possible to have a wrap-around extension built. This type of renovation project involves using the side of the property as well as the back – hence the name because the additional space ‘wraps around’ the property. It means you get the benefit of extra space without having to use up too much of your precious back garden. It’s particularly popular with owners of older Victorian and Georgian tenements (which tends to have the side alleyway ‘wasted space’ and which, as we’ve already mentioned above, is perfect for adding on extra room). Planning permission is usually required with this type of extension.

Types of Extensions Wrap Around House Extension

Double Storey House Extension

It may be more expensive at the outset, but a double storey extension is far more cost-effective than its single storey cousin in the long-run. Why? Yes, you’ll need double the amount of materials for the walls and additional flooring but, the cost-saving comes in when you consider you will be using the same foundations and roof for both (and which just happen to be the most expensive parts of the build overall). Two storey extensions are typically used to create an open plan kitchen, dining, sitting area with bi-fold glass door access the garden on the lower half. The second half can, of course, become anything you like, such as a large family bathroom, additional bedroom, library/study etc.

Types of House Extensions - Double Storey Home Extension

Over-structure House Extension

A clever way of using an existing building, such as one storey kitchen/dining area or an attached garage, is to create a new extension on top of it. In other words, you are ‘building over’ the existing structure. This type of home extension project is ideal if you want to add a large bedroom with en-suite to your home or a large playroom for the kids etc. It can prove one of the most expensive types of extension though in the event the existing structure has single-skin brickwork (in which case more work would be required to strengthen it).

Types of House Extensions - Over Structure Home Extension

Can I just go ahead and ask a building company to build me an extension?

If only it were that simple! Actually, with some types of house extensions, it can be since no planning permission is required thanks to the permitted development rights, which has recently been permanently extended by the government. This is usually for a rear single storey extension (which tends not to be visible from the front of the house) and even a double storey back extension. A side extension and wrap around may be ok provided they don’t exceed the height of the existing property. Over-structure extensions are more problematic from a planning point of view. However, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be built – just that you’ll have to get permission to go ahead from your local authority first. They may want it to comply with certain aesthetic guidelines, for instance, and even the positioning of sewers and water pipes can come into it. This is the reason it’s a good idea to consult an architect or a design and build construction company first before going ahead and making other plans. 

Benefits of adding an extension to your home

As well as the obvious advantages for you and your family of an extension, such as more space to co-habit in, it will also add light to the existing structure (thanks to all that glass), making it feel like a space you’ll all want to gravitate too. This can help make your home feel more communal. Financially, yes, an extension can be a lot of money to fork out, but you will undoubtedly get your money back when it comes time to sell and move on, since it will most certainly have added to the value of your home. 

Most common uses for home extensions 

By far, the most popular use for a home extension today is to extend the back of a property into a communal kitchen/dining space, while utilising garden space by ‘bringing the outdoors in.’ But other uses include an additional bedroom, games room, play room, home office and gym. What would you use yours for? 

Our recently completed house extension projects

Modern house extension in Mill Hill - Buit by MB Master Builders Construction Company London

Modern House Extension in Mill Hill, North West London 

Contemporary Rear House Extension in Barnet, North London

Contemporary Rear House Extension in Barnet, North London

Contemporary two storey house extension in Hampstead, London

Contemporary two storey house extension in Hampstead, London

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