The pros and cons of building an extension

The pros and cons of building an extension

So, I’ve been considering an extension. I want to square off the back of my Victorian house, which is currently L-shaped, thus creating a larger living space, as well as better feng shuey.

Here’s some advice if you are thinking of open plan living.

You may gain wow factor. However, you’ll be decreasing the number of rooms you have, so make sure you are not decreasing the value of your property. You don’t want to sacrifice more than you gain. Why not consider simply adding an extra room onto the property, as opposed to creating one living space? You may find less disruption, and work will get done quicker. Plus, you get a room to call your own when your kids are on their Xbox, whilst still enjoying the extra square footage.  This is the more cost-effective option to increase floor space, while still adding value to your property.

Give consideration on how to zone your new open plan living area as you may need a lot more furniture to fill the space. Other costs to consider: bi-folding doors spanning the width of the house look amazing but are likely to pinch your pocket at around £800 per leaf. There will be significantly higher heating bills to consider as well. Open plan spaces need far more energy. Underfloor heating is a great heating solution. It feels luxurious and frees up space where you had ugly radiators on the walls giving a seamless look, but again, will push up your costs.

NB. A great way to tackle the privacy issue is to consider installing sliding panels, concertina doors, or moveable screens, so you have the best of both worlds. If you have kids, there will be times when you want to keep the rooms separate rather than put away the Lego.


Open plan may well mean you need a larger kitchen - complete with island - so be careful of costs rising, particularly if you’re having stone or granite worktops, not to mention extractors that hang above islands, at around £1,400 rather than a hood which starts at around £70! …just food for thought…

Surprisingly, in my case, I have to say the layout of the house I am currently renovating seems to work much better without knocking every wall down. The zones seem to flow far better and I get my log burner, which would have been otherwise lost in the kitchen; so make sure you think it through before the builders arrive!

Here’s my advice before you start anything…

Get advice from local estate agents. Ask them what the current value of your home is and get their views on what buyers are looking for in the area. Weigh up the pros and cons, as you may find the cost to do the work you want outweighs the value the house can actually achieve.

Contact your local council to find out about restrictions there may be before you can do the work you want to.

Work out if it’s a load bearing wall you want to take out. If it is, then it’s likely you will need steels, which will require a structural engineer. Make sure you seek professional advice. Try the Institute of Structural Engineers to find yours.

If you live in a flat or a terrace, you may need the agreement of your neighbours to do the work, you may need to refer to the Party Wall act 1996.

Hope this has given you some food for thought?


PS... please feel free to contact me for advice.

Lisa Gershinson