30 January 2019

Extend Up or Out? Second Storey Additions vs Ground Floor Extensions

Home renovators are often confused. Should they build a second storey addition or ground floor extension? In this blog, we’ll help you answer that question!
Second Storey Additions vs Ground Floor Extensions

For many homeowners, especially in the suburbs, building second storey additions and ground floor level extensions are realistic options. You can build upwards or outwards. The question is… how do you know which is best for you?

In this blog, we answered that fiery question that almost all home renovators ask. We prepared a few guidelines for you, and we hope these help you decide in time for your renovation.

Factors that help you decide

There are five factors that affect your decision. It’s best to go through them one by one:


This is the biggest concern that you should tackle.

If your budget is tight, consider extending your ground floor. It is more affordable than building a second storey addition.

Building upwards requires serious structural work to improve the strength and load capacity of the original structure. You also need to disassemble your roof and put it back on again. Not to mention, you need to pay for scaffolding when you choose to build a second floor.


Extending is more convenient than building a second-floor addition too.

Imagine this. When you build upwards, you need to remove your roof. Without protection from the elements, you and your family need to move out until the builders finished the renovation.

This is not necessarily the case when you extend. If you opt for a small home extension, you and your family may stay during construction. Just brace yourselves for the construction noise and mess!

Space available

The size of your property is a factor that you must consider as well.

If you have a spacious backyard, then extending your ground floor makes more sense. Your outdoor spaces won’t feel cramped.

For this reason, more homeowners in semi-rural and suburban areas extend their homes outwards. Most homeowners in the inner city extend their homes upwards because their property is situated in a small plot. It’s hard to let go of their small outdoor space.


Another thing you should factor is the view from your house. If there’s great scenery around you, consider building a second storey addition. Homes in the city and the suburbs that extend upwards get the best views! Also, a beautiful view from your home adds value to your property!

Your taste

At the end of the day, it all boils down to your personal preferences and what looks good from your perspective. If you’re lucky to have a decent sized block and a home that you can extend in either direction, your choice and your budget are the factors that matter the most.

Why build a second storey addition?

If you need more room but don’t want to or can’t extend your home outwards, extending upwards is your best option.

Also, a second floor addition lets you

  • Build extra bedrooms for your children, extended family, and guests
  • Create a second living space and other rooms like a small library, home office, or mini theatre
  • Save the ground floor’s layout
  • Capitalise on the natural landscape or cityscape around you


  • You don’t have to give up your outdoor space
  • You enjoy lovely views
  • You add value to the resale price of your home


  • This is not suitable for all houses
  • Building stairs take up floor space

Why build a ground-level extension

If your block of land can accommodate an outward extension, then it’s a good option. It is also ideal for it gives you:

  • Additional room for living and entertaining
  • A better, open plan living space
  • An indoor-outdoor space that you’ll love, and
  • A more accessible home for people with mobility issues


  • You open your indoor living spaces to your outdoor space
  • It’s easy to build, provides that you meet all the requirements


  • You must give up a portion of your outdoor space
  • Prepare to let go of wider lawns and gardens

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