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A quick guide to two-storey extensions

If you’ve been thinking about ways to gain more living space without moving, you may have been drawn to the idea of a side return extension or a loft conversion, and either one is certainly a great way to expand your home. However, if you really want to go large and already live in a detached or semi-detached home that has full-Permitted Development rights and a large back garden, you really should consider the possibility of a two-storey extension.

Why go for a two-storey extension?

With a two-storey extension, you gain a massive amount of new living space over two floors. This kind of extension could allow you to transform your downstairs kitchen into a massive open plan kitchen diner, with bifolding doors that open out onto your garden patio. Upstairs, you could add two small double bedrooms or, for a bit of luxury living, even a massive master bedroom with an ensuite and walk-in wardrobe.

Permitted Development

Many homeowners assume that while a single-storey extension is the no mess, no fuss option, (since it can be carried out without planning permission) a double will be a headache as it will always require a planning application. This, however, simply isn’t true..

As long as your home is not on designated land, a two-storey extension could be carried out on a detached or semi-detached property by staying within certain restrictions. The extension can project up to three metres from the original rear wall of your home, for instance, but only if total extensions (including any previous ones added to the house) do not make up more than 50% of the total land around the original house.

Also, the new extension can’t be any closer than seven metres to the rear property boundary. The ‘original house’ here means the building as it was first built, or how it stood on 1st July 1948 if your house was built before that date. Permitted Development also stipulates that the roof pitch of your extension should match that of the existing one “as far as is practical.”

These all relate to detached or semi-detached homes. Terraced properties and houses in designated areas will most likely require planning permission in the vast majority of cases.

More bang for your buck

While a two-storey extension will almost always cost more than a single-storey one, the efficiency here is that the difference in price is not that great. Since two floors won’t cost you twice as much, two-storey extensions are far more cost-effective and can take roughly the same amount of time to build.

This is because the two most expensive elements of any extension are the new foundations and the roof, With a two-storey extension, you get twice as much floor space as with a single for a bit more money, since the new foundation and roof costs are very similar.

What you can do

We suggested the idea of a master suite bedroom with an extended kitchen below; at the moment, this is one of the most popular uses for a two-storey extension. But there aren’t really any limitations to what you can use your new space for. Whether you want a playroom, living room, or even a home spa, so long as you’ve got the budget and you conform to building regulations, you can more or less do what you like.

Think about a contemporary look

While your personal preference might be to carry out an extension that matches the existing aesthetic of your home, if you live in an older property, it may actually be more satisfying to consider carrying out a striking contemporary extension.

These may require planning permission if you use different building materials to the ones original used in the property’s construction. But at the same time, due to modern building regulations, certain older building techniques can no longer be used. This can mean that attempts to replicate a house’s traditional aesthetic with the modern features demanded by regulations can end up looking like a parody of the original. If this is the case, adding a contemporary glass extension can compliment the period character of a property, rather than seeking to copy it.

What is right for you?

Most home owners have a wide range of options to increase the side of the house and while loft or garage conversions can work, they aren’t suitable for all kinds of home. If your property has enough space outside, a two-storey extension could be the best way to gain the most new space inside.

Want to learn more about two-storey extensions?

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