Which is Best – Building Up VS. Building Out

There are three main ways to add square footage to your new home – up, down, or out. This decision is often dictated by the shape of your lot and your budget. There are many ways that a builder can utilize the space given to them in order to get the size you want. So lets explore the reasons you may or may not decide to build up, down or out.

Building Up

When building up on an existing home, your contractor will have to ensure your foundation and wall structure can support the added weight.


Building up generally uses less material making it a more affordable option. When adding onto an existing home, building up is a wonderful option because it doesn’t expand the footprint of your house. This saves you from having to give up precious yard space or run into zoning issues.


When adding additional space vertically, a staircase is necessary. A stairwell will easily take up around 100 square feet or more of your existing living space. A contractor will have to rip out the walls and ceilings near the new stairs and need to plan for electrical, heating, and plumbing lines. If changing the layout of your existing living space is a deal breaker for you – then building up may not be your most attractive option.

Building Out

Building out from a home is a great way of increasing the footprint of a home without altering much of what already exists. What you will need in order to build out is lot space and patience. The weather will play a significant role because builders will have a harder time when the ground is excessively wet or frozen.


Since building out is less invasive to an existing structure, it is less disruptive. So long as you have the lot space available, it is a simpler way of adding space without the limitations of any sort of structure below it.


Of course, when building out you will have to say goodbye to part of your yard. It also requires new foundation and that means the land will require excavation work in the yard.