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Remodeling projects try homeowners’ patience, finances

Some home additions too complex for comfort

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There are three project ideas I hear from homeowners again and again -- probably because at first glance they seem like dirt-cheap ways to add space. Alas, all three are far from being the slam-dunks people think they are. They go something like this: "We just want to move this wall out a couple feet." This idea usually reflects the hope that a modest addition will translate into modest cost. Actually, the opposite is true. Expanding a room by 2 feet or 10 feet hardly changes the labor involved because all the complications found in the larger addition -- tying into existing roofs, extending utilities, matching existing finishes, and the like -- are found in the small one as well. The actual savings due to the reduced area of floor, walls and roof is trivial. What's more, since you gain only a pitiful number of square feet for all this trouble, your cost per square foot goes sky high.Moral: If you're going to bother adding on, add the maximum area that circumstances, budget...