Raise the Roof! Your guide to room additions

Do you love where you live now and your local community, but have found that you lack space inside your home? If you see yourself in this situation, you might have a lot to gain with a room addition. Whether it’s a garage, bathroom, full story or single bedroom, there are a number of tips you need to keep in mind in order to make your dream project a reality. 


Many homeowners in Jacksonville and surrounding areas like Jacksonville Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach and St Johns, FL; feel as if they’ve “outgrown” their home and are ready for the move but for a number of reasons aren’t able to. It could be their attachment to their present house, a family oriented neighborhood or maybe a lack of funds, placing additional square footage in your home could just be the solution for your predicament. 


A room addition in Jacksonville is not new, the beautiful weather is one of the primary reasons local residents opt to expand their home by way of sun rooms, glass rooms and enclosed patios. Here is a guide for those contemplating a room addition in Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach, Orange Park and St Johns, that will spare homeowners time, money and headache.


Plan Ahead of Time


Major household renovations should not be rushed. Planning takes time and entails a number of mundane requirements like acquiring the necessary permits and financing. A knowledgeable and licensed general contractor like Smarter Investments Corp can be a key ally in navigating the often complex world of permitting and putting you in touch with mortgage brokers that can help you with financing. 


When planning for the remodel, inspire yourself by looking at magazines, going to showroom displays and consulting with local experts. You can also look around your neighborhood and see what others have done. Try to find the right balance; you wouldn’t want to go over the top and stand out in a negative way.


As an important reminder, take care in planning the layout and appearance of your room addition Make sure that it will blend well with your existing house design. If you have a ranch style home, placing a modern or Asian inspired room addition in Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach, Orange Park and St Johns would look quite perplexing. 


It’s during this planning stage that you can let your creativity run wild and adjust as necessary. Try and have your own ideas jotted with your own sketch before seeing a consultant so you have an idea of what you want and can make simple changes after consultation. 


Budget for the Project


It’s best to establish a detailed budget early on. This would require you to look realistically at your present financial standing and make your mind up if you can afford the total cost of the renovation or you will be applying for a loan or refinancing scheme. The cost of a room addition in Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach, Orange Park and St Johns will greatly depend on what you want to add and working conditions. This is when a true, honest and reliable general contractor like Smarter Investments Corp will come really handy to help you plan the room addition you need within your budget. When you have your estimated cost, make sure you allot a 10 to 15 percent additional contingency fund for unforeseen expenses. 


At this point, determine whether you will be contracting a professional construction team to handle the entire project or doing part of the project yourself. This is a crucial decision because a major bulk of the cost in the budget will be going to labor. You can save some money, if you have the time and the skills, by handling some of the tasks like: painting, installing flooring or maybe running trim. Of course, structural work should be left to the professionals. 




Find a timeline that works well for you and the construction team. Additions usually require mostly exterior work so you will need to plan the months you will be doing this. If you have family members or housemates, inquire as to their schedule so you will have minimal concerns like visitors, events and the like that can delay work or put anyone at an inconvenience. 


Usually for moderate renovation, the work duration is, on average, about eight to 12 weeks. If you will be doing part of the work yourself and you only have time during weekends, this will take you anywhere between four to six months. You will need to consider if money saved is worth all your weekends for the next six months. 


If you have a contractor, you may want to consider asking them to indicate milestones that will monitor their progress. This will keep you informed if they are behind, ahead or right on schedule. 


A home addition has the potential to transform your home and increase your property value due to the extra square footage. You will be able to feel more comfortable and enhance the look and feel of your home.


Do It Yourself (DIY) or Contactor


As mentioned when discussing the budget, decide as early as possible what your exact role is in the project. A home addition in Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach and St Johns, FL; isn’t rare so there are lots of contractors you can get quotes from. Remember, you get what you pay for and if you the people you hire are not experienced, you might not be happy with the outcome and end up paying twice for a true professional to come in to redo your work. 


If you decide you want to hire a professional, allot a bit of time to search for the right one. You will need a professional with experience with this type of work in the past. Request a reference list of previous clients and ask about their work ethic, timeliness and quality of work. You will want to look for someone who has a detailed budget and timeline. A good contractor will be willing to take the time and explain to you exactly how they envision this project to turn out. 


Price is important but it shouldn’t be your only consideration when choosing a contractor. You need to consider the quality and sustainability of the project that you will be left to live with. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. The more questions you ask, the more information you have as to how your project will turn out. 


An efficient and experienced professional should be able to advice and handle permits and codes. Do not, under any circumstance, attempt to undergo a renovation or room addition without permits. Should the potential contractor or architect says otherwise, find someone else who is willing to do the work properly all throughout. 


Most importantly, make sure the contractor you hire is properly licensed and fully insured. It’s common, in Florida, for people engaged in construction to obtain a Workers’ Comp exemption from the state. While this is completely legal, this exemption ONLY covers the person listed on it, nobody else. So if your contractor only provides you with an exemption but then brings employees or other uninsured people to work in your project; you are putting yourself at risk of losing lots of money and even your home in a lawsuit.

Also, some contractors will try to save costs by having a liability policy for handyman work or carpentry, or just one or a couple of trades. This is not good enough when they perform as General Contractors since in case of a claim their policy won’t cover you. A reputable contractor will declare all his work and licenses to the insurance company and obtain a liability policy that covers him as a Licensed General Contractor and protect his customers for the full scope of work performed.

Protect yourself and your assets by only hiring licensed and fully insured contractors like Smarter Investments Corp which carries Liability insurance for up to $2,000,000 as a General Contractor and Workers’ Compensation insurance to cover all its employees. We also require proof of coverage from all our subcontractors before they set foot in any of our projects. We do this to protect ourselves but most importantly to protect our customers from potential claims.


Our ties to the community are strong. Not only we are major sponsors for sports’ teams, being named in 2013 the Official General Contractor of the Jacksonville Sharks, but we donate countless hours of labor to help local organizations like churches and schools every year. Our commitment to the community has remained unchanged during the years and will continue to grow for many years to come.