House Extensions – How To Choose The Best Type Of Extension

A house extension is a popular choice for homeowners looking to add value, improve living spaces, and enhance the functionality of their property. Choosing the right type of extension can be a daunting task, especially with the vast array of options available. In this article, we’ll help you navigate the world of house extensions, answering the most commonly asked questions and offering some house extension ideas to inspire your project.

What is the best material for house extension?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the ideal material for your house extension will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. Some popular materials include:

  1. Brick: Durable, low-maintenance, and provides excellent insulation.
  2. Timber frame: Eco-friendly, lightweight, and can be quicker to construct.
  3. Steel frame: Strong and versatile, with a modern aesthetic.
  4. Glass: Creates a light and airy space, perfect for contemporary designs.

When choosing the right material, it’s essential to consider factors such as durability, cost, aesthetics, and energy efficiency. You may also want to consult an Architectural Design company to help you make the best choice for your specific project.

What’s the cheapest way to extend a house?

The cheapest way to extend a house will depend on the size and complexity of the extension, as well as local labour and material costs. In general, a single-storey extension, such as a conservatory or loft conversions, will be less expensive than a multi-storey extension. To keep costs down, consider the following:

  1. Choose a simple design that doesn’t require complex structural alterations.
  2. Utilise permitted development rights to avoid the need for planning permission.
  3. Source materials and labour locally to reduce transportation costs.

What is the most expensive part of a house extension?

Typically, the most expensive part of a house extension is the foundation work and structural alterations required to support the new space. Other significant costs can include:

  1. Labour
  2. Materials
  3. Architectural and planning fees
  4. Building regulations compliance

Keep in mind that unforeseen issues or changes to the original design can also increase the overall cost of the project. Always have a contingency fund in place to cover unexpected expenses.

What is the most cost-effective way to build an extension?

To build a cost-effective extension, consider the following tips:

  1. Plan ahead and stick to your budget.
  2. Consult a professional Architectural Designer to create an efficient design, that maximises space and functionality.
  3. Source materials and services at competitive prices.
  4. Utilise house extension planning permission and building regulations knowledge to avoid costly mistakes or delays.

What can go wrong with house extension?

Several things can go wrong during a house extension project, including:

  1. Structural issues: Insufficient support for the new structure or incorrect load-bearing calculations can lead to structural problems.

  2. Budget overruns: Poor planning, unexpected issues, or changes to the original design can lead to additional costs.

  3. Delays: Weather, contractor availability, or delays in obtaining planning permission or building regulations approval can impact your project timeline.

  4. Quality issues: Poor workmanship or substandard materials can result in a low-quality extension.

To minimise the risk of these issues, work with a reputable Architectural Design company and choose the right builder for your project.

Which extension is the most expensive?

A multi-storey extension, particularly one that includes a basement, will generally be the most expensive option. This is due to the increased complexity of the structural work, additional materials, and longer construction times.

What is the best floor for extension?

The ideal floor for your extension will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. Popular flooring options include:

  1. Hardwood: Durable, attractive, and easy to maintain.
  2. Engineered wood: Offers the appearance of hardwood at a lower cost.
  3. Laminate: Affordable, easy to install, and available in a wide range of styles.
  4. Tiles: Durable, water-resistant, and suitable for underfloor heating systems.

Consult with an Architectural Designer to determine the best flooring option for your extension.

Are house extensions worth the money?

House extensions can be worth the investment if they add value to your property, improve your quality of life, and enhance the functionality of your home. Factors to consider include the potential return on investment, the cost of the extension, and the impact on your lifestyle. Consult with a professional Architectural Design firm to determine if a house extension is the right choice for your property.

What time of year is best for house extension?

Spring and summer are typically the best times for house extensions, as the warmer weather and longer daylight hours can help speed up construction and reduce the risk of weather-related delays. However, contractors may be busier during these months, so plan ahead and book your project well in advance.

How much should you spend on a house extension?

The amount you should spend on a house extension will depend on your budget, the value of your property, and the potential return on investment. As a general rule, try not to spend more than 15-20% of your property’s current value on a single extension project.

Is it cheaper to build up or out extension?

Building outwards, such as a single-storey extension, is generally cheaper than building upwards, like adding an additional storey. This is because building outwards requires less structural work and fewer materials. However, the specific cost will depend on the size, design, and complexity of the project.

Which is better: brick-built or timber frame extension?

Both brick-built and timber frame extensions have their advantages and disadvantages:

  • Brick-built extensions are durable, low-maintenance, and provide excellent insulation. However, they can be more expensive and time-consuming to construct than timber frame extensions. 
  • Timber frame extensions are eco-friendly, lightweight, and can be quicker to construct. However, they may require more maintenance and may not provide the same level of insulation as brick-built extensions.

Ultimately, the best option will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. Consult with a professional Architectural Designer to determine which type of extension is most suitable for your project.

In conclusion, choosing the best type of house extension involves considering factors such as materials, cost, design, and planning regulations. By researching and consulting with professionals, you can make an informed decision and create a house extension that not only adds value to your property but also enhances your living space and quality of life. Explore more house extension ideas and get expert advice from Shear Architectural Design to ensure your project’s success.

Free Design Consultations

Shear Architectural Design offers free house design consultations for stylish, practical, and affordable house extensions in London and throughout the UK. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation.

Architectural Designers can create spaces that promote wellbeing and enhance quality of life. It’s time to prioritise the health and comfort of building occupants and design buildings that are fit for purpose in the 21st century. An experienced Architectural Designer can assist you with any questions you may have, contact us today, at Shear Architectural Design, to learn more.


As part of our comprehensive approach, we offer services to design a house plan tailored to your unique requirements.

Our Architectural Design process involves the creation of detailed Architectural Design drawings, which meticulously capture every aspect of your dream home. We also navigate the complexities of building regulation plans, ensuring that our designs adhere to both building regulations and planning permission guidelines.

By incorporating innovative Architectural ideas and working closely with you to draw a house design that reflects your vision, we strive to make the planning and design process as seamless and enjoyable as possible. Our commitment to excellence ensures that you receive a bespoke, high-quality living space that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.

Our Services

At Shear Architectural Design, we offer a range of services to help you bring your vision to life:

We can also assist with gaining planning permission and building regulations, ensuring that your project meets all necessary requirements.

Contact us today, on 01273 740642 to learn more about how we can help you create the home of your dreams!


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