Building up or Building Out

Building up or Building Out

While they may sound like similar concepts, building up and building out are two very different ways of planning home additions or major renovations. Building up is about adding rooms to the top of your house, increasing upward living space while building out refers to adding rooms to the sides of your house. Here’s why that matters and what the differences are.

Building Out

Building out is a common way of adding a new family room, a sunroom, a bump out for a new kitchen, bathroom, expanding a dining room and many similar projects. These are popular renovation options because they tend to be easy. It’s fairly simple to add onto a foundation and expand or join a roof (and for smaller projects, this may not even be necessary). It’s also a lot easier to use the rest of your house when building out since most of the activity will take place outside the new home addition.

However, building out does require careful thought about your property and space. Every new foot of home space is a foot of yard space that you will lose. Major additions will also require serious yard work, including backhoes, which means you may need to change your irrigation, get rid of a deck or patio, or say goodbye to a flowerbed.

A little research can also show if your addition will run into problems with regulations. There’s a concept called “setback” in most areas where you are not allowed to build your home out within a certain distance of your neighbor’s property line (usually several feet or so). Other locations may even limit how much of the property can actually be your home vs. free lot. Check these details and see if you need to get a permit or if another approach may be necessary.

Building out is a common way of adding a new family room, a sunroom, a bump out for a new bathroom, expanding a dining room and many similar projects.

Building Up

Building up means adding another story onto your home or fully upgrading an attic into a new living space – and sometimes expanding the second story of your house, but not the first! There are many possibilities, and you get to keep your yard as it is without worrying about irrigation or electrical lines, which is a nice option if you have significant landscaping already and don’t want anything to change. It’s also less likely to run into regulation problems with your property and local requirements (although there are limits to allowable heights to consider).

However, building up is a big project that affects your entire home. It usually requires a large amount of roof work, new plumbing, and new wiring in many different parts of your house. This can make it difficult to live in your home while the renovation project is ongoing and can increase some costs for the renovation. You are also limited in how large or small your home addition will be, whereas building out often allows you to choose a more specific size for a new room.


Both building up and building out have their pros and cons. If you have any questions, Quality Craftsmen will be glad to help you find the information you need. We specialize in interior and exterior renovations throughout the East Cobb area that are perfect for aging in place. We’ll help you create a space that you’ll love for many years to come.

Ready to upgrade your outdoor living area? Contact us today!

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