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A Guide To Home Horizontal And Vertical Extensions – [2023]

by Jonny S | 30/10/2020

Image Credit: Unsplash

When choosing to add to your home, a lot of stress lies with the decision to build up or out. Making the right decision comes from weighing up the pros and cons. 

Deciding to extend a house is both a stressful and exciting project to undertake. There are obvious elements to deal with like budget and a construction schedule. However, arguably the hardest decisions center around how to design and therefore build the addition. 

There is more than one way to plan expansion, so it’s important to consider the inherent advantages and disadvantages of each option. While the purpose for the addition will often dictate the blueprint, sometimes deciding between building up or out isn’t that simple. Here the Houseace construction experts explain all. 

Building Up 

When it comes to expanding a dwelling, going vertical is a great way to make additions without having to expand the overall footprint of the house. This type of renovation involves adding another story, even if the property currently has one or two stories. 

Going up involves expanding an existing top floor by installing large dormers in a pitched roof. Or, extra living space can even be placed above an existing garage, porch or wing of the house. 


This technique means you won’t lose any portion of the front or back yard to this new part of the residence. This means that by constructing upwards, you really aren’t losing any space, in fact, you are gaining room. 

Another advantage is the fact that this type of renovation doesn’t interfere with any current zoning restrictions. Meaning that you can map out the area and later design it exactly how you wish.  


While there are no zoning restrictions to consider when constructing a vertical addition, there are limits when it comes to the overall height of a home. This could limit the views and overall use of vertical renovations. 

It’s also worth noting that this type of build requires a lot of construction work so consider this before you start. The builder will have to add to the existing foundation and wall structure that exists under the new space in order to ensure that it can support the added weight.  

Building Out

Adding a horizontal expansion is the most popular option when it comes to renovations. This is because this option increases the footprint of the ground-floor level of the residence which is often required for kitchen, family room, and bedroom additions.  

These types of additions involve expertly linking the old part of the residence with any new features. Therefore creating a larger and yet coherent space that enhances the liveability and overall benefits of the dwelling. 


One of the main benefits of this design is the fact that it actually causes the least disruption to the existing space and property overall. In fact, you can still inhabit the dwelling during this type of renovation. 

Other positive centers around the notion that foundation work can be avoided. If the proposed changes are small enough, the new space can hang off the side of the building. Doing so can eliminate the need to install a new foundation altogether. 


The main negative associated with such a project is the simple fact that going outwards involves losing some of either the front or backyard. Additionally, some projects may even require a zoning variance. 

This type of build should be considered carefully. The whole point of adding an extension is to gain more room. Therefore, it’s worth weighing up if more room inside, and therefore less room outside, is worth it. The answer will depend on the purpose of the extension. 

The verdict 

Planning a property expansion is an exciting time. Whether building up or out, your home is still going to be transformed into an oasis with extra space and room to live in. However, in order to achieve the purpose of the renovations, planning should be thorough, and you will definitely need to enlist the help of a project manager.  

If you are thinking of extending or renovating your home, give our friendly team a call on 1300304367 or email on hello@houseace.com.au. Read about the Australian Renovation Grants and the new HomeBuilder scheme and check whether you’re eligible.

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