Modern Ranch Renovation and Addition Toronto

Why Ranch Style Homes Are Perfect For Room Additions

In general, classic ranch style homes are well known for their spaciousness and typically large lots. However, following the Second World War these types of homes were often erected on smaller lots of land and the homes themselves were reduced in size. This has led to many homeowners deciding to add additional living space to these homes over the past several years. The good news is that ranch style homes are considered to be ideally suited for room additions and/or remodeling projects.

There are thousands of older ranch style homes here in Toronto and it is probably the most popular style of home to renovate as they are usually located in older parts of Toronto that have become desirable places to live.


Ranch Homes Are Easy To Expand

Instead of building or buying a new home, you may want to remodel or construct an addition to your existing home by taking out non load-bearing walls to create a more open floor plan. Ranch style homes are also well regarded for their solid construction and additional living space can be created by building upwards or outwards.

The building up option is often referred to as a pop-top addition and can be achieved by constructing another story on the home. You could also decide to build outwards instead by expanding the side or back of the home on the same story. 

You can almost double the square footage of the home by adding a story without altering its footprint. Homeowners are able to come up with their own designs for additional living areas such as bathroom, bedroom, family room and kitchen etc. The exterior of the home will also be significantly transformed with an additional story. 

On the other hand, building outward is generally referred to as a bump out. This method of adding living space is typically about 25 percent less expensive than building upwards and usually involves building an L or U-shaped addition to the home or enclosing an existing carport. However, to consider a build out or bump out, the lot your home sits on will need to be large enough. Also, you need to realize that you’ll likely be losing some of your yard space with this option.

A home can usually be bumped out in any direction as long as there’s enough room on the lot and if you aren’t interested in constructing additional rooms you may simply decide to add a back or front porch or a sun-room. In-law suites are also popular these days as they can often be constructed over an existing garage. 

ranchs tyle home in Toronto - Home Renovations

Consider a Basement Remodel

If you own a ranch style home and don’t believe you require an additional story or a build out you may be able to create more space if your home has an existing basement. Remodeling the basement is usually another feasible option for ranch style homeowners as the space can be transformed into additional bedrooms and bathrooms etc. for additional square footage, 

These options are popular for ranch style homes since they’re typically more flexible than two-story and split-level homes. Homes that sit on smaller lots are ideal for adding vertical space with a second story or by adding dormers and finishing the attic. Natural and essential light can be brought in with dormers and height can be added to an attic’s pitched ceilings.


Understanding Your Local Zoning Laws

When trying to decide how to increase the size of your ranch style home you’ll of course need to consider the cost but if you’re thinking about dormer additions or a second story you’ll need to know if the new weight load can be safely supported by the home’s existing foundation. You’ll also need to check on the local building codes, rules and regulations to make sure your remodeling project is completely legal. 

A ranch style addition can also combine horizontal and vertical renovations to suit your custom needs and existing space. Careful planning will guarantee the changes made will result in a wonderfully cohesive home once everything has been completed. 


About Novacon Construction

Novacon Construction is a Toronto based home addition contractor specializing in home additions in the GTA. Check out our stellar customer reviews online and contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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Three Major Home Addition Mistakes To Avoid 

The right  home addition will provide more living space to your dwelling and can end up being a profitable move down the road if you ever sell the home as it typically adds value to it. It’s basically a no-lose situation as you’ll enjoy the added space and quality of life and will generally recoup your costs at a later date.

However, you need to be aware that it’s certainly not a foolproof remodeling venture as costly mistakes can be made along the way if you’re not careful.  

Below are three major mistakes that you should try to avoid while planning a home addition.


Keep the existing aesthetic in mind

When adding on to a home or specific room the end result should be seamless. This means you shouldn’t really be able to spot where the addition begins and the original structure comes to an end. Therefore you need a comprehensive plan and make sure your selection of materials doesn’t result in something that’s obtrusive to your eyes. 

It’s important to design the addition with the structure’s current aesthetic being adhered to. If not, the home addition may be noticeable for all the wrong reasons and it won’t add much value to the home. Also, the home addition needs to blend in well with the existing landscape. A good design build contractor can visit the property to get an overall feel for the existing style of the home and the landscape and try to retain it.


Don’t underestimate the costs

Before jumping feet first into your remodeling project it’s important to establish a financial budget and try to stick with it. It’s true that a home addition will typically upgrade the value of your home, but you need to realize you’ll need to lay out some cash to get it done. To put it bluntly, a home addition can cost a considerable amount of money. However, you can consider this to be an investment in most cases. This doesn’t mean you should search for the least-expensive materials and contractor though as you don’t want the quality to suffer. Be sure to carefully budget the project from the beginning and haven’t overlooked any aspect of it. If you decide to add a story or room to your home, it’s not something you can easily back out of so it’s imperative that all details have been carefully taken care of.

Don’t be tempted into cutting corners or deviating from your plans along the way to try and cut costs as you may not be happy with the end results. A few alterations to the original plan and design could be inevitable though during the building process but be aware that change orders will add to your costs and typically extend the timeline for construction. You may want to add an extra 15 to 20 percent of your original budget to cover any unforeseen events during the renovation. An experienced contractor can provide realistic estimates since they are aware of hidden costs you may not have considered.


Be sure to find an experienced contractor

Regardless of the size of your renovation or remodeling projects, it’s important to find and work with an experienced contractor who’s fully equipped and able to handle the job. The contractor you hire will determine the success or failure of the project. It’s important to spend a good amount of time researching and selecting the right contractor for your project. Ask friends for referrals and also search Google to read customer reviews for contractors in your area.

You’ll also need to obtain the right permits for your location and comply with the municipality’s zoning regulations. The contractor needs to know exactly what’s required and how to plan, carry out and oversee the work. It’s a good idea to meet with a few potential contractors for quotes and don’t be afraid to ask questions and for references and a portfolio of previous jobs. It’s not really a good idea to go with a contractor who has never dealt with a home addition before as remodeling a home is quite different than constructing an addition.   Also consider going with a design build contractor as they bring all of the processes and people involved in the project together and manage them all for you in a streamlined process.


About Novacon Construction

Novacon Construction is a design build contractor located in Toronto.  We specialize in custom home building as well as large home addition and renovation projects. We are one of the highest rated contractors in Toronto and have a reputation for delivering exceptional workmanship along with award winning customer service.  Contact us today for a free consultation.

What You Need To Know When Adding a Second Story To a Garage

What You Need To Know When Adding a Second Story To a Garage

When adding a second story addition to your home over an existing garage it typically provides a great deal of extra living space and also adds value to the home. Most single car garages range in size from 12-16ft wide and 22-24ft deep and double car garages typically range from 20- 24ft wide and 22- 24ft deep.

Many homeowners build an extra story for bedrooms and bathrooms however the space can be used for whatever suits your needs. But before getting started be sure to look into your community’s zoning and building laws, etc. It’s also a good idea to bring in a professional contractor to answer your questions and to consult with you on your options.

Planning For a Second Story Addition

An additional story doesn’t affect the house’s footprint but there are unique planning and construction challenges to consider such as making sure the structure can bear the extra weight. You may need the help of an engineer to make sure an addition is possible as the foundation and garage will need to be thoroughly inspected. If the foundation is too weak it may need to be bolstered or replaced, which can be quite costly.

You may want to make sure features such windows and gables are harmonious and seamless with the home’s existing style and be sure the addition is well insulated. A bathroom can be installed above an unheated garage but the plumbing will need to be in heated areas to keep the pipes from freezing. This means you’ll need to work closely with the contractor and plumber to be sure the piping is properly installed.

If the existing wastewater drain is located in a central area of your home you may need to work through a great deal of drywall when connecting your new drain to the current one. Some of the walls may even need to be re-framed or duct work may need to be moved. .

When adding a story to your home don’t forget you have to access it from your existing space. You’ll need a stairway and hallway to reach your new rooms and the additional story will need to be aligned with one below it. To do this you may need to increase or shorten the height of the garage walls as well as alter the existing door and window headers.

Most two car garages are approximately 20 to 24 feet from side to side with a similar front to back, it can be difficult to build a stiff enough floor above it. The flooring will need to support the new story without interfering with your parking space and garage door below. Be sure the floor doesn’t bounce or flex and the tiles won’t crack.

The new space will need a good balance of heating and cooling and a new or additional HVAC system may be required to achieve this. This is where spray foam insulation may come in handy.

Depending on your garage, the challenges of an additional story above a garage can sometimes be substantial as it isn’t a simple procedure. There are numerous things to take into consideration and it’s important that you don’t overlook any of them. The cost and time frame of the project will depend on how complex it is and how much labour and materials will be involved.

About Novacon Construction

Novacon Construction is a home addition contractor in Toronto. We offer award winning service and have been voted by the public as the best Toronto Contractor to work with on Houzz and Homestars. For more detailed information on building a story over an existing garage please feel free to contact our team of professional contractors at Novacon Construction.

How Difficult Is It To Add a Second Story To a Home?

How Difficult Is It To Add a Second Story To a Home?

Toronto has one of the most expensive real estate markets in North America. Land is at a premium and most residential lots are on the smaller side.

There's a benefit of adding living space vertically especially if you live on a relatively small lot. You'll be adding space above you rather than outwards so the addition won't affect the size of your garden and yard etc. At the same time you'll have the chance to increase the height of your first-floor ceilings.

Options For Adding a Second Story

Adding a second story addition to a home isn't an easy job but most homeowners have a few options if they're interested in adding some living space above them.

You can tear the roof off your home and build an upper level from scratch or you can also expand a new level across a current one-story section such as a porch or flat-roof garage.

Cost Factors

The cost and length of time the project will take all depends on the method you choose and if any foundation work needs to be performed. The foundation will need to be inspected to make sure it can handle the additional weight of a second story. You'll also need to inquire about building codes, possible height restrictions and permits and find out exactly what you need before proceeding.

If your existing foundation won't be able to handle the additional weight of another story you'll need to add structural support somewhere or have the foundation strengthened. Also, be aware that rafters in single-story homes aren't typically strong enough to be used as second-story floor joists. This is why it's important to have your home's foundation evaluated by a professional structural engineer. Detailed plans including things such as beam sizes need to be developed with an engineer approving them.

When you add a second level you'll want to make sure the style matches the rest of the home, including window shape and size. Other individual elements such as shutters, trim, eaves, dormers and columns also need to be in proportion.

There's a good chance you'll need to move out of your home and find somewhere else to live while the work's going on to add a new story. So that should also be taken into consideration. The time frame of adding a new level could be between four and six months if you add in all of the planning and details etc. However, you should be able to remain in your home if you're adding a partial second story on top of a garage.

Other things that need to be considered include insulation, plumbing, electrical work, the HVAC system and the addition of stairs.

Hiring a Professional

Adding a second story requires the assistance of experienced professionals as it's not a do-it-yourself job. You'll need to find a person or company with the necessary skill and experience to handle this type of project. They'll need to know how to knock out structural walls as well as tie into the existing mechanical system.

The cost of a second story typically depends on the style and size of your home as well as its location and the quality of materials you plan on using. However, you should plan on spending at least $200,000 to 300,000 these days.

About Novacon Construction

Novacon Construction is a home addition contractor in Toronto and has been providing award winning Design-Build construction services within the GTA since 2004. For more information on adding a second story to your home please contact us at Novacon Construction Inc.

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Should I Renovate My Basement or Make a Home Addition?

Renovating a basement or adding an addition to a home is often a dilemma homeowners face when they’re looking for more living space. It’s not the easiest question to answer since every home and living situation is unique. If you’re looking at price only, then finishing a basement is generally the least expensive option along with less red tape than an addition.   

However, you need to realize that most basements will need preparation before finishing it, like removing moisture issues coming through your foundation or the need to increase the height of your basement to make it livable.

Do you have room to expand?

If you’re considering an addition to your home, then you’ll need adequate space outside of the house to build it. An addition will also require a foundation, roofing, windows, and walls. Some people also consider building upwards by adding another floor to their home. In this case, the house’s foundation will have to be strong enough to handle the additional weight and a staircase will need to be added. In general, an extra story is less expensive than an addition as the foundation is already there.

Finishing a basement is a lower-cost way of building a family room, bar, games room, workout room, office, home theatre, etc. As mentioned when compared to an addition, the benefits to finishing a basement are the price and the existing room. The basement may be a dark and damp concrete dungeon at the moment, but the area already exists in the home. This can make it more affordable than building an addition and you can often come close to doubling your living space.  

The condition of your basement

Most basements in Toronto were not made to be living space and often lack the adequate height to make it a living area. Other issues such as water/moisture in the basement or inadequate lighting/plumbing can mean the costs to make your basement livable could end up being more expensive than a home addition.

If you’re planning on finishing a basement or building an addition to the home, be sure to check out the local bylaws and building codes regarding the necessary permits. You’ll need to abide by the height requirements for the ceiling and also consider the windows and doors that may need to be used as an escape route in case of emergency. 

If you’re planning on several lower-level rooms, each one should have it’s own escape route. Stairways will also need to be considered as they may have to meet local building codes. In some instances, existing staircases may need to be replaced, which will add to the cost of the renovation.

The basement’s existing plumbing and electrical wiring can often be relocated, but will also add to the cost. In some cases, they may be hidden in a closet, wall or a drop ceiling with acoustic panels. The proper type of insulation will need to be installed to help fight off moisture and cold air. 

As for the flooring, there are numerous options such as carpeting, tile, laminate and vinyl. Hardwood flooring isn’t as popular since moisture could negatively affect the wood. A masonry sealer should be applied though before installing the flooring.

Benefits of a Home Addition

When it comes to home additions, the major benefit is that they can create more living space than a finished basement. Of course, in some instances you can always do both if they’re within your budget. 

While additions are usually the pricier option, these costs can sometimes be recouped when selling the home as the additional square footage added to your above ground living space will increase the value of the home.

A home addition will also give you more flexibility and design creativity as you are creating an entirely new space as opposed to a basement renovation which will often limit what you can design and build.

Have questions?

Novacon Construction is a home addition contractor serving Toronto and the GTA.  If you have questions adding additional living space to your home or remodeling your existing space, you can contact us today for a free consultation.

How Much Does a Second Story Addition Cost?

When you’re looking for additional living space and the option of moving to a bigger home isn’t in the cards you can always consider a second story addition. Here in Toronto, the ever increasing real estate prices makes adding a second story home addition an attractive option compared to buying a bigger home. 

Adding a second story addition to your home enables many homeowners to nearly double their existing living area at a more affordable price than buying a new home. It is a complex project though and will add weight to your original home, so you need to make sure your structure can support an additional story before getting ahead of yourself on the project. You’ll then need to come up with some detailed plans for the addition.

Second Story Addition Costs

The cost of a second story addition will obviously depend on the location and size of your home and how much square footage you’ll be adding. Each home is unique, but in general, a full second story addition to a typical Toronto 800-1000sqft  bungalow will start in the $225,000 range. Our most popular addition for older semi-detached homes is the rear main floor family room/kitchen with a 2nd floor Master bedroom and ensuite. These additions are usually in the 4-500 square-feet range in size, and  would cost approximately $180,000 to $250,000 depending on the scope of work and big ticket items such as kitchens/bathrooms. If you’d like to add a new two car garage of 20 by 22 feet with a finished dry walled interior you should expect to pay between $80,000 and $100,000. Laneway and coach houses are a very hot topic now and vary tremendously, but expect that they would start in the $250,000 and up range.

It’s interesting to note that adding a second story may in some cases cost more per square foot than it will to add additional living space on your ground floor. This is due to potentially having to replace major items such as the roof, electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems etc. and a set or two of stairs. And don’t forget the rearranging of the existing living space on the main floor will inevitably require attention as you may have added the bedrooms upstairs and now want a gorgeous great room, or that larger kitchen you have always dreamed of. The cost will also depend on what exactly you plan on including on the upper floor. For example, a laundry and bathroom will be a bit more work and money than just adding a couple of bedrooms.

Hire a Professional Contractor

Adding a second story isn’t a do-it-yourself project since you’ll need to work hand in hand with a contractor with experience creating second story additions as structural work will need to be carried out and the existing mechanical systems will need to be worked on. There are other costs involved with a second story addition that aren’t exactly hidden, but many homeowners often forget about them when budgeting for their project. For instance, when looking for a contractor you should ask for a fixed-price deal just in case the cost of building materials and supplies such as lumber, concrete and shingles fluctuates during the job.

Additional Costs For Adding a Second Story

Also, you’ll need to budget for building permit fees, design and architectural fees, project financing and interest, insurance premiums, and possible landscaping. In general, our design and planning fees will be approximately $10,000 to $15,000  and since your home is now worth more after the second story addition your insurance premiums and property taxes may rise to reflect it. The exact percentage of property tax and insurance increases will depend on the new value of your home. As for the landscaping, you may need to remove or replace items such as shrubs, bushes, trees and/or flower beds etc, after the work has been completed.

For more information on second story additions, other home remodeling and renovation projects in the Greater Toronto Area,  Contact us at Novacon Construction to schedule a free consultation.


Home Additions: Additional Costs To Be Aware Of  

Nobody likes to be given a quote for the cost of something only to find out later the actual price is quite a bit higher than originally thought. It happens in all walks of life such as auto repairs and maintenance contracts etc. and it’s usually no different when it comes to home additions.

There are typically hidden or additional costs with any type of remodeling project and it’s a good idea to find out exactly where you may have to shell out more money before it has been completed.

For example, the contractor doesn’t really have any idea what’s under the floors and behind the walls of your home until the work is well underway and you may also find out the home doesn’t live up to new building codes in certain regards. However, if you take these things into consideration when planning the project you can add them to your budget so you won’t be taken completely by surprise. This includes items such as loan interest, financing fees, unforeseen repairs, the fluctuating cost of building materials, increased property taxes, landscaping costs and higher insurance premiums.

When hiring a contractor for a home addition or remodeling project you should always insist on a fixed-cost quote and contract which outlines exactly what is going to be done and how much it will cost. Of course, once the contractor gets started the price may still rise due to unforeseen circumstances such as mold or dry-rot. However, you can ask the contractor beforehand how much more it will cost if rot is found for instance. A good contractor should consider the possibility of something such as rot and mold when giving you a quote. In addition, a fixed-cost contract will cover you if the price of building materials should happen to jump midway through the project.


Design Fees

When budgeting for your home addition, don’t forget to include architectural fees as well as construction costs. If you’re using an architect you’ll find they don’t work for free, but some contractors will include these fees in the quote. Either way, the design will end up costing you something.  Novacon Construction is a design-build company, meaning we include all aspects of the project including the design, architecture and related fees.


Financial Fees

If you plan on borrowing money to finance the remodeling project you’ll likely be facing processing fees along with the interest fees unless you’re fortunate enough to land an interest-free loan somewhere. In addition, the lender may also insist on an appraisal and inspection which will add to the cost.


Permit Fees

In most cases a building permit is going to be required for the addition or remodeling work and you may also need plumbing and/or electrical permits. Be sure to ask the contractor if these have been included in the quote.


Higher Insurance Premiums

Once the home addition or remodeling work has been completed your home will now be worth more than it was before you started. Naturally, your insurance company may want to raise your premiums because of this. The exact cost or percentage of this increase will depend on how much the value of your home has been elevated.


Increased Property Taxes

As well as paying higher insurance premiums the government will also want its share. Again, this is because your home is now worth more due to the work done on it. Your yearly property taxes will go up when the worth of your home has been evaluated.


Landscaping costs

If you’re planning an addition to the home it will likely affect the landscaping of the property. You may need to get rid of shrubs, turf, trees and flower beds when making room for the addition. Even if you don’t have to remove them you may need to replace them when all the work has been completed due to the wear and tear of daily construction.


Be Prepared

Be sure to make all of your remodeling-related decisions are planned in advance as the contractor will need to organize the labour and building materials in a timely manner to get the job done on time. Materials will need to be ordered well in advance to make sure they reach the job site on time. If you have questions about your upcoming home addition project, you can contact us here.  Novacon Construction is a Toronto based design-build company that offers an all in one solution for your home renovation project. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.