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pros and cons to home addition options

Pros and Cons To Home Addition Options: The Homeowner’s Guide

There are lots of different home addition options out there, which can be overwhelming for homeowners looking to begin a home renovation. How much space do you need to add? What type of addition suits your needs? Where do you even begin? Start by learning about the pros and cons to home addition options. Knowing what your options are will help you to decide which one is right for your home.

Pros and Cons to Home Addition Options

Bump Out

Some home additions are very simple, and only require expanding an existing room. This type of addition is common for creating full bathrooms, a bigger bedroom, or expanding a kitchen.

Pros: This is the simplest and least invasive addition option. The process is usually knocking out a single wall and building outward from there. Because it is such a small addition, it costs less than any other addition type, making it a good solution if money and space are both tight.

Cons: This is a single-room solution. If you need a lot more space in your home, it will not fit your needs. On top of that, the cost of a bump out addition may be misleading. It is less expensive than the other addition types, but actually costs more per square foot. This is because of additional costs associated with building, such as acquiring the correct permits and expanding your foundation. You would have to get this information no matter what type of addition you do, so you don’t save that cost when you make a smaller addition.

Single Room

When a bump out isn’t big enough, but you don’t want to add an entire apartment, a single room addition might fit your needs. This type of addition might be a sun room, porch, or garage.

Pros: If you need some space, a single room addition allows you to create the room you’ve been missing. A sun room will allow you to spend some time with nature year-round, while an extra bedroom can accommodate a growing family. A single room gives you the space and functionality you need without taking up a lot of space. Because it is relatively small, it is also fairly inexpensive.

Cons: A single room may not provide the amount of space you’ve been looking for. They are also typically attached to the side or back of the home, taking up space in the yard. If you don’t have enough property, or you don’t want to give up room to play outside, a single room addition may not fit your needs.

Build Out

This is probably the most common addition type. Homeowners who want more space in the home can build out the side, back, or even front of their home.

Pros: Flexibility! Building outwards gives you lots of options. Need more space than a single room? Build several rooms or an in-law apartment. This type of addition also gives you a lot of artistic freedom, especially if you’re expanding the back of your home. It can’t be seen from the street, so it’s the perfect place to add a little bit of your own private design flair!

Cons: Unless you plan on building into your neighbor’s yard (please don’t), this type of addition is bound by your property lines. You’ll also need to take city regulations into account; you may not be able to build to the edges of your property. If you don’t have the space for outward expansion, this addition may not be for you.

Build Up

If outward expansion won’t work or doesn’t fit your needs, consider a second-floor addition to a single story home.

Pros: Space is a big pro for this type of addition. While outward additions can certainly cover a lot of ground, they are bound by property lines and zoning restrictions. Adding a second floor nearly doubles your home’s square footage! On top of that, you won’t sacrifice any space in your yard!

Cons: Adding a second story requires adding stairs, which take up a lot of space. It will also involve a lot of work to the existing structure of your home. Adding on top of what is already there requires work to ensure adequate support. A contractor will need to add supports to your existing walls, ceiling, and sections of your foundation.

No matter what type of addition suits your home renovation needs, you should work with a general contracting company you can trust. Mason Sky has extensive experience with building home additions. We would be happy to work with you to decide what type of addition is right for your home. Request your free consultation today.

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building regulations for home additions

Understanding Building Regulations For Home Additions in Massachusetts

Has the time come to start building that home addition you’ve been dreaming of? When you begin a home renovation project, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. What will be legally required to complete the project? If you’re about to begin the renovation process, make sure you understand these building regulations for home additions.

Building Regulations for Additions You Need to Know

Most building projects in Massachusetts require that the person or company doing the work hold a construction supervisor license (CSL). This license certifies an individual to perform or supervise certain types of construction work. The license is issued by the Board of Building Regulations and Standards, and it is vital to most construction projects. However, the state recognizes that many homeowners are capable of doing work on their homes by themselves or of hiring someone to do the work. In that case, you are entitled to a homeowner exemption, which allows you to hire any contractor or company, or to do the work yourself, regardless of whether you or someone in the company possesses a CSL. Should you choose this path, you are responsible for ensuring the project adheres to building codes and laws. In that case, there are a few building regulations for additions that you should be aware of.

Permits. Before you begin a project, you must make sure you have all of the necessary permits. Different projects will have different requirements, but pay special attention to these permit types:

  • Building – if you’re building an addition, it is very likely you’ll need a structural building permit. These permits ensure that your project adheres to the most current building and safety codes, and are an essential piece of your project.
  • Electrical – your new addition will likely need electrical wiring, and that means you’ll need an electrical permit. After all, you don’t want to spend all that time building an addition that’s always dark.
  • Plumbing – not all additions require plumbing, but if you want to have any running water, you’ll need a plumbing permit.
  • Gas – do you use natural gas for fuel? Consult your local permit office to see if you’ll need a gas permit for your new addition.
  • Additional permits – every town and every addition is different. Be proactive and consult your permit office to make sure everything is covered.

Building codes. As the person responsible for the work being done on your home, you need to be familiar with all building codes associated with your project. Common codes that affect home additions include setback restrictions, flooring materials, and foundation regulations. Familiarize yourself with the Massachusetts state building code before you run into any problems.

Inspections. Check with your town to make sure you are getting the proper inspections. Depending on the project, inspections may be necessary before, during, or after completion of the addition. Being responsible for the project means making sure it is properly inspected throughout the process.

When to Hire a CSL

While a homeowner exemption may be the right course for homeowners who want to do the work themselves, it often makes much more sense to hire a contractor or company with a CSL holder. These contractors are licensed because they know and understand the regulations and laws that govern home additions. They can help the process go smoothly from start to finish. Often, CSLs also carry insurance, meaning that if something goes wrong you may be covered. If you do the work yourself, you will be the one responsible.

Want to know if a contractor or company you are thinking about hiring is licensed? CSL records are public domain; you can check the status of a license on the Massachusetts government website.

Mason Sky is a licensed general contracting company; we are familiar with the laws and building codes so that you don’t have to be. We can help you plan and implement your project from start to finish. If it’s time to start your home renovation project, request your free consultation with us. We look forward to speaking with you.

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reasons an addition will improve your home

7 Reasons an Addition Will Improve Your Home

Building an addition is one of the most flexible ways to transform a home. Whether you’re considering expanding a room or adding an in-law apartment, additions are a great way to get the home you want without having to move. There are lots of reasons you may be considering an addition, but is it the right option for you? Take a look at some of the reasons an addition will improve your home.

Top Reasons an Addition Will Improve Your Home

Make your dreams come true – One of the biggest benefits of building an addition is that it can be whatever you want it to be. Maybe you simply need to expand a room. Maybe you need to add another bedroom, or even add a new wing to the house. By working with your contractor, you can plan your home renovation to be exactly what you want it to be.

You need some space – Is there a homeowner in the world who hasn’t wished for more space from time to time? Because of the flexibility that additions provide, you can add space where you need it. Whether you’re making a room bigger or adding whole sections to your home, you’re creating space for storage (or people!) that wasn’t there before.

Make way for visitors – Have you been avoiding inviting family members or friends to your home because there’s no place for them to stay? If hosting gatherings at your house ends up with everyone feeling crowded and uncomfortable, and addition might be the answer. A guest room can make room for the people in your life to comfortably stay with you.

Growing family, growing home – More room for visitors is great, but an addition can be vital if your family is growing. If you’re expecting a new baby, your adult children are coming back to the nest, or your elderly parents are moving in, your existing home might be fit to burst. An addition can create the space you need to accommodate new family members. The more the merrier!

Spend money to make money – You may not need more room for your family, but making space for renters can benefit you in the long run. Renting out a portion of your home is an excellent way to make some extra money. Investing in an addition to your house now can mean some added income later!

A better alternative to moving – Of course, if you want more space in your home, moving could be an option. But moving is a huge process – do you really want to pack up your entire house and go somewhere new? On top of that, moving gets very expensive, and in most cases is it much more cost effective to build an addition. As a bonus, you get to stay in the home you love.

Increase your home’s value – A well thought-out addition can increase the value of your home. It’s important to remember that not every addition adds value, but if you are adding features to your home that are highly sought-after, buyers may pay more when the time comes to sell.

Before you commit to an addition, make sure you know exactly what the process will entail. There are a lot of things to consider when building an addition, so it’s important to be prepared. Talk to your contractor to ensure there will be no surprises. Are you ready to build an addition for your home? Mason Sky is an expert general contracting company. We will help you plan the addition you’ve been dreaming of and we’ll make it a reality.

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4 Benefits of Using Composite Decking Material

When one homeowner in Somerville grew tired of their rotting wooden deck, they decided it was time to invest in a new one, made with a material that would last longer. They reached out to us for advice in deciding which material would be best for them. While there are many options when it comes to decking, we decided that the benefits of composite decking material made it the right choice for this home renovation project.

What is Composite Decking?

There are several different types of decking materials to choose from when doing a project like this. While wood is the traditional building material of choice, composite decking is becoming a more popular choice. Composite is a combination of recycled materials, such as plastic, wood chips, sawdust, or even bamboo. It often looks like wood but feels much more like plastic. It is a lightweight and stain resistant material, which makes it perfect for outdoor use.

Benefits of Composite Decking Material

When working with this homeowner, we decided that composite decking material was the best option because of the many benefits it offers. This material is:

  • Environmentally friendly: Composite decking is made of recycled materials, which makes it the right choice for eco-friendly renovators!
  • Weather resistant: Composite material resists damage from the sun, wind, and rain. When your decking resists the elements, it is also less susceptible to splintering and rot and will have a much longer life.
  • Pest free: Wooden decking material can be invaded by pests unless it is infused with pesticides. The trouble is that these pesticides can be dangerous to children or pets who spend time on the deck! Composite material naturally resists pests, so you’ll have more peace of mind.
  • Low maintenance: While wooden decks need proper maintenance to prevent splintering and rot, a composite material is much more resistant to these problems, which means less maintenance work for you. And while wooden decks often need to be repainted, composite decking is made in a variety of colors and is fade resistant!

After comparing their decking options, it was clear for this homeowner that the advantages of composite decking made it the right material for their new deck. Do you have decking or other general contracting questions? Mason Sky can help. Schedule your free consultation today.

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simple small bathroom design ideas

Simple Small Bathroom Design Ideas to Inspire You This Fall

Ready to create your dream bathroom, but not sure where to begin? Every trendy remodel website has grandiose tips for big bathrooms: hide the toilet, add a huge vanity, add a hot tub. What if you don’t have the space (or budget) for such huge renovations? Many historic homes in Massachusetts simply don’t have bathrooms big enough for these big projects. Looking for simple small bathroom design ideas? We’ve got you covered.

Simple Small Bathroom Design Ideas

1. Use your floor plan.

Unless you hate the floor plan of your bathroom, it’s a good idea to use the layout you already have. Reversing plumbing and moving fixtures can be done, but it can get expensive. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with your use of space! Consider a trendy tiny tub, or get rid of the tub altogether and replace it with a simple standing shower. Need storage space? A vanity provides storage and looks great. If you’re all about minimalism, forgo the vanity for a standing sink instead.

2. Refinish

Building a beautiful bathroom doesn’t mean you have to start over. Determine what parts of the bathroom you want to stay the same or slightly change, and go from there. If you have a great vanity that’s the wrong color, stain or paint it rather than buying a new one. Keeping some of the old fixtures means less waste and you get to focus your budget on the things that really need to change.

3. Focus on Floors

Time to get rid of that old tile? Select your new flooring carefully, because it will get wet. Ceramic tile is usually a good waterproof selection, but make sure the grout is properly sealed. You don’t want to have to scrub tile weekly to keep your new bathroom beautiful.

4. Light it up

Bathrooms have more than one purpose, so they should have more than one lighting fixture. Overhead lighting is great for general use, but it can be pretty unflattering when you’re looking in the mirror. Consider the different ways you’ll want your bathroom to light up; the right lighting can really brighten up a space.

5. Ventilate

Don’t let all your hard remodeling work go to waste! A general contracting company can help you think about ventilation from the beginning of the project, because mold and mildew can ruin a great bathroom. At the very least, you should have a fan that vents outside, but a functional window can really help to clear the air.

Bonus tip: Budget, budget, budget.

While your budget isn’t technically part of the design, it is an essential part of the home renovation process. Nothing is worse than designing the bathroom of your dreams only to face the fact that your budget just won’t cut it.

Are you ready to start the bathroom renovation process? Mason Sky is an expert in home remodeling. We can help you plan your project from start to finish, and we’ll make sure the job is done right. Schedule your free home renovation consultation today.

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adding an addition to your home

The Best Seasons for Adding an Addition to Your Home

When it comes to adding an addition to your home, there are many different things to consider. You can take it from the renovation experts at Mason Sky that the time of year is at the top of that list. There are benefits for starting a remodel during different seasons or times of the year, which we’ll explore in greater detail throughout this blog post.

Before Adding an Addition to Your Home

Before considering which season would be best for adding an addition to your home, here are some things to consider:

  • Trips and Vacations: Do you and your family tend to travel more during a particular season? For example, are you more likely to book a week’s vacation during the summer when the kids are out of school, or is visiting family for the holidays your tradition?
  • Hosting Events: Are you planning on hosting any major events in the upcoming year? Would you prefer to save the construction for after the event, or would an addition make your event better? Also, do you usually host for the holidays? Do your kids seem to have more friends over during the summer?
  • Busy Work Seasons: Are there specific times during the year that you tend to be less burdened at work, and better prepared to work around disruptions at home? Or perhaps a time when you are busier–and less likely to be home–might be your preference.
  • Using Your Addition: Some additions, like a bathroom, might be put to constant use once they are completed. Others, however, might be enjoyed more in some seasons than others. For example, if you tend to spend a lot of time cooking or baking in the fall and winter, you might want to schedule your kitchen expansion for the spring.

 

Seasonal Considerations:

Now that you’ve taken some time to consider how to best fit adding an addition into your personal calendar, let’s take a look at some seasonal considerations to think about.

Adding a New Year’s Addition

The first few months of the year are usually colder months in the Boston area, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not the right time to add an addition to your home. If your summers tend to be busy with activities, travel, and entertaining, starting a home addition after ringing in the new year means having your project completed on time for the warm weather. Plus, winter months tend to be slower for many design+build firms, which could cut down on the overall time it takes for your addition to be finished.

Spring Expectations

When the weather starts warming up, so does the remodeling industry. Along with adding an addition, many contractors are also busy with outdoor projects like bringing simple patio ideas to life, or building new sheds, decks, and other outdoor spaces. Depending on the complexity of your addition, a project started in the spring can be completed before summer is in full swing.

Summer and Early Fall

Contractors remain busy throughout the summer and early fall, especially as people push to have major projects completed before school starts and before the holiday season begins. If your summers tend to be more relaxed, then this might be just the right time for your remodel. Summers are also a great time for adding an addition to your home as you can take advantage of cooking outdoors on the grill. If there was ever a perfect time to finish that unfinished basement playroom, the time would be in summer or fall before the cold weather begins.

Winter Considerations

When the back-to-school sales are over and everyone is back to their regular schedules, you may find that winter is the perfect time for your remodel. There’s typically a bit of a rush to complete remodeling projects in time for the holidays, after which remodeling companies tend to slow down. If you do not celebrate winter holidays, or someone else hosts the holiday events, the end of the year is a great time to take advantage of this slower season.

Focused on You

When trying to decide on the right time to add an addition to your home, the simple answer is the best time is one that makes sense for you and your family. Whether you’re looking to add a bedroom for a new addition to the family, or expanding your kitchen so you can entertain with plenty of room, it’s your schedule that matters the most. If you’re thinking about remodeling your home, then feel free to reach out to us for guidance. We’re always happy to help.

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kitchen updates

Kitchen Updates For a Beautiful and Functional Space

kitchen updates

For this homeowner in Grafton, the time had come to make some kitchen updates. Their current kitchen was old, outdated, and no longer meeting their needs. They took the time to think about what they wanted from their new kitchen: something that was stylish, comfortable, and functional. Together, we came up with a design plan. Once we knew what needed to be done, we got to work.

Kitchen Updates to Create a Beautiful and Functional Space

We decided to keep the basic layout of the kitchen, but it was in dire need of some updates. Our first step was to gut the whole room.

kitchen updates

We removed the cabinets, floorboards, and appliances. With a clean slate, we were able to build the kitchen the homeowner wanted.

We replaced all of the wiring and removed the overhead lights to make room to install recessed lighting. These lights brighten the space without taking up much room, which makes the area look more spacious. We also moved some of the plumbing so that we could relocate the sink and install a dishwasher. These behind-the-scenes updates were essential, because they set the stage for a functional kitchen.

Next, we installed new cabinets and marble countertops, followed by new flooring and a tile backsplash. The new layout allowed for the installation of new appliances. The final touch was a fresh coat of paint and newly installed trim. Altogether, these updates made the kitchen look and feel more spacious and modern!

Is your kitchen stuck in the past? Schedule a free design consultation with Mason Sky today. We’ll help you assess your kitchen needs and do the work to bring you the kitchen you’re dreaming of.

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siding and windows

New Siding and Windows Bring a Classic Home Into the Modern World

siding and windows

This Millbury, MA homeowner decided that it was time to update their home’s look. Their old wooden clapboard siding just wasn’t cutting it anymore – they were even experiencing a leak in one of their walls! The time had come to switch to siding and windows that would look nice without taking a lot of work to maintain. With that in mind, we came up with a plan and got to work.

Give Your Home a Facelift With New Siding and Windows

This project was actually done in two parts. Because a section of their home was leaking, we had to begin with that part right away, despite the fact that it was winter time! The rest of the project was completed at the beginning of the summer, when the weather was much more favorable.

siding and windows

We stripped the home of all the original siding and windows and began replacing everything. We chose vinyl Energy Star rated windows. Not only do these windows look good, they are energy efficient too! This is a big deal, because windows tend to be a big area of energy loss. Energy efficient windows mean that the home will be more comfortable and the homeowner will save money on their energy bills.

We decided to change to vinyl siding because it is much easier to maintain than wood. It is water resistant, never needs to be repainted, and is much easier to install than cedar clapboards. We used a vinyl “shake.” This type of siding is textured to look a lot like classic wooden siding, and it has no visible seams. This resulted in siding that is easy to maintain without sacrificing the classic look of the home. For the finishing touches, we replaced the old wooden door and the wood stained trim around the windows. The updated home looks great!

Is your home in desperate need of an update? Whether it’s time for new siding and windows, you need to update your bathroom, or you have another home renovation project to tackle, contact Mason Sky for your free design consultation. We’ll help you make your dream renovations a reality.

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small-bathroom-updates

Small Bathroom Updates Lead to a Great Modern Bath

This great family in Shrewsbury reached out to us about updating their bathroom. The small bathroom had a decent layout, but it was simply outdated. We decided to stick with the original basic layout, but we had a few new ideas to introduce. We came up with our new design and got to work!

small bathroom updates

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Small Bathroom Updates for a Great Modern Bath

The whirlpool space didn’t need a lot of help. We custom made new panels and took down the wall separating the whirlpool from the shower. The result? The space felt so much bigger already! We decided to spruce up the shower a bit: we made the space bigger, added some custom tiling and a clear glass door, and topped it off with a hidden “niche” area – which can only be seen from inside the shower!

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With the shower and whirlpool out of the way, the rest of the space needed a makeover. We removed the closet and replaced it with a built in cabinet. We also replaced the vanity. Of course all of this was custom made to fit the family’s needs. The result of all of our work was an amazing modern bathroom.

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When remodeling a bathroom, you’ll want to consider function as well as looks. The design team at Mason Sky is ready to help you through the design process and has the expertise to create the bathroom that meets your needs and looks great too! Schedule a design consultation today!

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simple-patio-ideas

Simple Patio Ideas to Inspire You This Summer

In preparation for summer, a homeowner in Auburn, MA reached out to us seeking help with some simple patio ideas. Two things we had to keep in mind were: using materials that could withstand changing seasons in New England, and a quick turn around.

Bringing Simple Patio Ideas to Life

Before we could get started, we needed to prepare both our ideas and the location of the pending patio. The client was keen on updating their existing patio, which was located underneath their second floor deck. While the original rubber tiles on their patio floor had helped them to envision their design space, what they truly wanted was a more permanent solution.

Being that Massachusetts is susceptible to the harsh realities of New England weather systems, we wanted to provide them with a permanent solution that could withstand the seasons. Based on the homeowner’s feedback and desired result, we agreed upon using a 4,000 psi concrete before breaking any ground.

With that decision behind us, we were ready for the fun to begin. We began by ripping up all of the old rubber tile, and prepared the area for its new concrete pad. The next step was to install wire mesh before laying any concrete. In order to help prevent cracks, it’s important to reinforce the work space with steel before filling in the grid.

simple-patio-ideas

The homeowner wanted to make sure that their new patio extended right into their yard, so we had to make sure that it lined up with the grass line. Last but not least, we surrounded the finished concrete with loam and grass seed to help bring their final vision to fruition.

When deciding upon simple patio ideas, it’s important to consider more than just your budget. The design team at Mason Sky has experts on hand to help walk you through the creative design process, and will make sure to tackle each and every item on your wishlist.

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