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Biggest Problems in a Room Addition 

August 1st, 2023 | 5 min read

By Ray Stillions

Due to the size and many phases of a room addition, there are plenty of opportunities for problems to arise. Many common issues can be avoided through planning, craftsmanship, and reputable trade partners. Contractors should always try to avoid as many of these problems as possible.

In our 25 years of experience, RWS has done our fair share of large-scale room additions. This article will discuss the biggest problems you or your contractor could encounter during a major remodel. This includes: living in the home during construction, inadequate blueprints and the surrounding area of your home. 

A room addition under construction in Olathe, Kansas

Problem 1 of a Room Addition: Living in the Home 

One of the biggest hardships for a homeowner during a remodel is the fact that you are living in your home while it is under major construction. During a bathroom remodel, you can use another bathroom. During a kitchen remodel, you can set up a microwave and a hot plate in a different room. 

In a room addition, it is much more difficult to make it work while an entire floor or wing is under construction. RWS is currently working on a renovation so extensive that the homeowners are moving into a different house. Of course, this is not an option available to everyone and every project.  

Make sure you can continue to live in your home comfortably and without significant hardship during a room addition. Talk to your contractor to make sure you have a clear understanding of the expectations and understanding of the challenges associated with a room addition. Patience and flexibility will be the most valuable skill if you have a large project. 

Problem 2 of a Room Addition: Inadequate Blueprints 

When adding onto a house, it is critical to have accurate measurements and plans. There is no way we can be prepared for a project if we make plans based on inaccurate measurements. We often run into problems, especially when working on a room addition, if the blueprints are inaccurate or inadequate. This can get dicey especially if the property lines are not clearly defined in your plans. 

The most common issue is when we see multiple measurements from different sources. Sometimes the homeowner may have a blueprint with one measurement, while the city may have a different number. This is especially problematic when an independent survey comes up with a third measurement. 

In this situation, we will work with the city and independent surveyors to make sure we have the right measurements, angles and property lines. 

Problem 3 of a Room Addition: Surrounding Area of the Home 

When increasing the footprint of the house, the foundation must also be expanded. Pouring new foundations is difficult, and the trades involved are expensive. During new construction, pouring concrete is usually done in a wide-open lot or development. This makes it difficult for these professionals to do their work in a crowded environment.  

The physical location of your house will be a huge consideration when you are building a room addition. The property lines will determine how easily materials can move into and out of the site. You may have to get in touch with your neighbor if their house is in close proximity to yours. 

If you live in a busy neighborhood, a room addition is likely to have more problems than one in a wide open, rural area. 

Problem 4 of a Room Addition: Weather 

Inclement weather can significantly prolong the duration of a project. Some construction tasks are either rendered impossible or subject to delays due to weather conditions. Sometimes these issues are minor, such as paint taking an extra day to dry. However, there are instances where weather-related challenges pose much larger obstacles. 

Recently, our team had masonry work that was being delayed because of cold weather. After a few days of delay, we needed to get the project up and running. We built a heated tent around the area so we could get back to work.  

When a project has substantial delays, it is difficult to recover lost time. Although some time can be made up, contractors are limited in their ability to make up for lost time. Consider what time of year you are planning to renovate your home. Each season brings with it unique challenges. Heat, humidity, rain, and cold can delay projects at all times of the year. 

Problem 5 in a Room Addition: Supply Chain Issues

Issues in the supply chain can often cause problems or delays. Everything that goes into your project has to be built, delivered, installed and finished. During all those steps, there are a lot of opportunities for things to go wrong. 

While your contractor will not have much control over the logistics during the preconstruction phase, through sufficient planning, a good contractor can adjust. Companies that build appliances and cabinetry have their own busy schedules. There are often schedule changes based on the timeline of those companies.

Some materials simply have a long turnaround time. A custom sliding glass door usually takes three months to be constructed and delivered. We try to have as all the materials on site before we start. It is better to have product waiting on us than for us to wait on product.  Depending on the situation, there may be parts delivered during construction. We may have to have something delivered at an inconvenient time causing changes to the schedule. 

Having a realistic timeframe to start will always help. More time between the planning phase and the construction phase will allow for more wiggle room in the delivery of materials.  

Problem 6 in a Room Addition: Sub-Par Previous Work

A lot of the problems stem from a previous project or the original construction. It is not unusual to open the wall and see something that is incorrect or sloppy. This could be a simple fix such as straightening an outlet cover or as complex as an illegal or outdated wiring system. 

We often see the frequency of problems of this nature increase in older homes. The more times a home has been worked on over the decades, the more opportunity there is that something went wrong. As always, if you have an older home you should prepare for additional surprises.


Framing work in an old house
Framing replacement in an old house

Problem 7 in a Room Addition: Poor Project Management

Firing from the hip during a major remodel is rarely a good idea. A rule of thumb is that every hour we spend planning saves 2 hours during construction.

It is important to make sure you have all your selections made and ready to go when the project starts. Problems often happen when a homeowner does not have a clear vision or changes their mind throughout the project. 

Having a solid plan for the look of your project and sticking to it will be worth its weight in gold. Working with designers, architects and engineers will help you prepare and visualize your final product. We have a step-by-step pre-construction process at RWS. 

Problem 8 in a Room Addition: What is Behind the Drywall?

We do our best to be prepared for anything we could encounter. However, the best we can do is an educated guess on what we are likely to see. 

Our team recently worked on a home that was over 80 years old and found substantial structural termite damage when we opened the wall. Because the damage was so extensive, the city of Kansas City, Missouri required additional engineered drawings. This caused significant changes to the schedule and, in this particular case, we had to stop work entirely. 

There could be any number of things hidden behind a sheet of drywall. A project can go off the rails quickly if we find something that would cause your home to fail an inspection. 


Mechanical lines after removing drywall
Water and electrical work on the other side of the drywall

Wrapping Up 

This is not an exhaustive list of every problem you could encounter. You could see all or none of the issues outlined here during your remodel. Many problems can be avoided through research and preparation. A reputable contractor can help you have a smooth and easy remodeling process. More information on the factors that influence the cost of your room addition can be found on our learning center. You can also learn more about how to get started by visiting the Our Process page. Send us a message if you have any additional questions about your remodeling project.


Ray Stillions

About the Author Ray Stillions is the owner and operator of RWS Enterprises. He is a licensed and insured contractor with a BS degree from Pittsburg State University and has lived in the Kansas City area for over 35 years.