These homeowners loved their house, but were in need of more room. To solve their problem, we added a 700-square-foot addition which included a family room, dining room, and home office.

Some of the projects shown include:

  • Attaching wall plates to a concrete slab.
  • Reinforcing walls to prevent wind damage.
  • Framing up and roofing an addition.
  • Matching brick and wood trim to the existing house.
  • Installing perforated drainage pipe to handle water runoff.


Danny Lipford: Do you ever feel like you need just a little more living area? Well if you do, you got something in common with these homeowners.

Announcer: Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford. The voice of home improvement with projects, tips and ideas to help you improve your home.

Danny Lipford: The story that Aaron and Carrie Mackie told me is one that I’ve heard many, many times over the years as a remodeling contractor. That they loved the house, loved the neighborhood, loved the yard that they worked on so much, but they need just a little bit extra living area.

Now we looked at building an addition on the back of the house, but the driveway proved to be a problem there. We looked at the other side of the house but simply just wasn’t enough room there. So the 700-square-foot addition we’re about the build will be right here on this end of the house.

Now architecturally it should look great, because it will be a mirror image of an original wing of the house on the other end of the home so everything should look like it was meant to be. Now we’ll start and finish this project within the next half hour, and our first step is to start on the foundation so stay with us.

As you can see, the work on this addition is well under way, and now the homeowners can get out and walk around on the slab and get a feel for the kind of space they’re adding to their home. Now, the design work on his started several months ago with the homeowners determining exactly what they wanted to accomplish with the addition.

Aaron Mackie: We just kind of looked in to the surrounding homes in the area and we were looking for some more space for our kids and that kind of thing. But, yeah we decided on a formal dining and den kind of study, plus we have family that comes in to town and we’re looking for some space for them if they come in.

Carrie Mackie: And, well we liked our location that we live in. Where we live has a lot of character we thought and we liked having, being up on a hill and we have a pool in the backyard.

Aaron Mackie: Yeah, we’ve just done so much work that we really didn’t want to leave, and the area it’s conveniently located to everything. That was a major decision to stay.

Carrie Mackie: And, we only had an evening kitchen, and we wanted to add more space. And as far as what the office, we needed space for a computer, and we figured when our kids got a little older, they probably won’t want to be watching the same things we are all the time, so we decided to have another family room.

Aaron Mackie: Yeah, that way, if they have friends over and they have their own little space to play in and to watch TV or whatever.

Carrie Mackie: One idea we thought was closing in our carport but then we’d lose our parking. We didn’t want to do that. We thought about building up, and it wasn’t feasible in a lot of areas, and we really wanted a dining room and we can’t have a dining room not near the kitchen, and we wanted to build out but we weren’t sure how to do it with our roof line.

Aaron Mackie: So we got a designer and he gave us the best option of incorporating more space and, lining up the room line, the brick, all of that, to make it look not like an addition.

Danny Lipford: In order to make the addition not look like an addition, we had to start with some excavation of Aaron and Carrie’s lot to create a level area next to the house. After the footing were dug, we began building the forms for the concrete slab that would come next.

Although forms are temporary, it’s crucial that they be sturdy and accurately built. When those tons and tons of concrete start going into the hole, the forms are what separates the foundation from a real mess. They also become a reference point for the finishers as they establish a floor level that matches the existing house.

After the concrete dried for a couple of days, we were able to move forward with the start of the framing. And a small addition like this, we can frame the whole thing in just a couple of days.

But the first step is to secure the bottom plate which is also pressure treated wood, to the concrete itself. Now while we were pouring the concrete, we put a couple bolts in a couple different types. This is a J bolt that goes down into the concrete, and its primary purpose is to secure the plate to the concrete.

Now a second type is a little bit different. It also secures the plate down to the concrete, but it’s a little longer so that it’ll accommodate this little threaded sheave that will be put on it later in the framing. Then, into that, this long threaded rod that’ll be secured in place.

And that way, this will be drilled up through the top plate, the top wall, and into the rough structure itself, so that we have a continuous tie down from the rough trough the walls, all the wall down to the concrete itself.

This is just one of the many codes that are being implemented throughout the country to make buildings stronger, so that, in the event of heavy winds, it ties everything together down to the concrete itself.

Now to secure the plates on the interior walls is a little different. We actually use something that looks very similar to a drill, but it’s a powder activated fastener that uses a 22-caliber load and it forces a case hard nail or a concrete nail, into the concrete itself, so that this plate is good and secure. Hey, the next step is to stand some walls.

The walls are assembled on the slab then lifted into position on top of their base plates. The studs are toenailed to the base plate according to layout lines marked earlier. And each new section was attached to the one that preceded it. This is a pretty effective way to construct walls as long as the layout of window and door headers is done accurately.

The roof structure begins with the establishment of a new ridge to extend the ridge line from the existing house out over the new addition. Then, the individual rafters are attached, completing the skeleton which is necessary to support the plywood roof decking.

After all of the rough decking was in place, we rolled out a layer of 15-pound building felt. That’ll keep everything dry until we can get our shingles in place. Now after that we installed half-inch plywood all the way around the outside of the addition and the fireplace chaste to serve as sheathing. Then a layer of home wrap, to keep everything dry in between now and the time the bricks go up.

Now you may notice that this angle how we may have a potential problem here with water. All the water from the driveway coming down against the building here, and then the hole that we have here that can gain a lot of water that can force it inside.

I show you how we’re going to handle those problems, when we come back, right after our Simple Solution.

Announcer: It’s time for this week’s Simple Solution from home repair expert Joe Truini.

Danny Lipford: I’ve seen few homeowners over the years that were comfortable drilling into ceramic tile.

Joe Truini: That’s because the very thing that makes tile perfect for the bathroom is what makes them extremely difficult to drill into, and that’s the glazed, ceramic surface. The problem is that a drill bit.

Even when you use the proper bit, which is a carbide tipped masonry bit, it has a tendency to wander around the surface as you start to drill. The surface is just too slick for the bit to start. So here’s the solution.

Take a couple of strips of masking tape and put them across the tile where you want to drill a hole. In this case, we’re going to be putting up a small hook to hold the towel.

Danny Lipford: Okay, you’re just creating a surface that will really grip the bit itself.

Joe Truini: Right, it doesn’t take much, just that little bit of tape. Now here you’ll see the bit will bite right into the tape and eventually cut into this ceramic tile.

Now pull that away, and you can see you have a nice clean hole. I didn’t finish drilling it but that gives you an idea. Then you go through the clay and into the wall.

Danny Lipford: Now I’ve seen people use a nail set to try and establish that. But if you hit that too hard, everything is going to crack.

Joe Truini: It could crack the tile, right, but if you’re careful with it and just tap it enough it’ll crack, just the glazing, and again, that’ll allow the drill bit to bite into the tile.

Danny Lipford: Everything is working out great on the outside of this addition, and the guys are concentrating right now on the fascia and the soffit and a few of the other details to complete the outside.

Now you know it’s not that unusual when you have an addition like this where you have a bit of a sloping lot that you’re matching the floor level of the existing house, and when it extends out you find out you’re below grade a pretty good bit. This is something that can cause some serious problems with water seepage later on if it’s not handled properly.

Now we’re still exploring a couple different ways to handle this with the homeowner. One way that’s been suggested is to cut the asphalt back a bit , let the brick mason bring all of the bricks up, then we’ll put more asphalt down to slope it up to the brick face so that the water is channeled away and into a drain that we installed early in the process before the slab was even poured.

Now the drain is a drain basin that’s about sixteen by sixteen and about twelve inches deep and has two pipes going all the way out to the street to channel any of the water that gathers in this area all the way off the property.

Now over on this side—couple different ways. One, you see the window height here. We could slope the ground from here down so that the water is pulled away from the building and then channeled to the front.

Or another idea is to create a retainer wall that comes out and turns that allows this grade to stay high and we can slope the water out, and then the lower grade can be channeled to where it can be allowed to flow to the front, so got to make that determination pretty soon.

But right now, with the weather starting to turn on us, and it’s about to rain, they’re concentrating on completing everything they can on the outside of this addition.

The woodwork on the existing the house is a rough sawn cedar, so in order to match it, we’ll be using the exact same type of material to trim out the addition. The guys are using a rough sawn cedar plywood for the soffits, rough sawn cedar one by tens for the freeze boards, and rough sewn one by fours for the fascia board. Even the reverse board and batten siding for the gables is an unsanded cedar material.

This careful attention to the materials used and the way they were joined together on the existing house all works towards the goal of making the new look like the old. There’s no place where that’s trickier than in the brick mason’s job. Every new course of bricks has to line up with the old ones on the back and front side of the house. Our brick masons only have about four more feet on the front of this addition and all of the brickwork will be complete.

Now matching bricks on a 30-year-old house is a pretty hard task, and it really seems to be getting harder and harder because so many of the larger brick companies are consolidating. And what that means for homeowners, fewer choices in different brick styles.

So before you add on to your brick home, make sure that you pick up a few of the bricks, maybe you have some laying around the flower bed, or somewhere around your property. Grab a few of those, take a good color picture of your existing bricks, and then take that with you to the brickyard. Because if you just can’t match the bricks at all, then you really have some tough decisions on what to use for the exterior.

Here, we really lucked out because these bricks are matching up very nicely, and once the mortar has a chance to dry, and to weather, they should just blend in, and no one will know that we’ve added on to the front of this house, especially after the landscaping is done and a little bit of time really makes a difference there.

Now another thing we’ve done to really make sure that no one will know we’ve added on is that we’ve matched the wood and the design of the wood. You can see the reverse board and batten on the old gable of the existing house, and all of the drip edge and freeze board is all matched exactly here, and once our painter gets through with all the stain work, we’re in great shape.

Now the wind is really blowing a pretty bad storm in right now and we’re hoping that the brick masons can complete their work and have a little time to dry before the rain sets in.

Announcer: Let’s join Danny at the home center to check out this week’s best new product. Brought to you by The Home Depot.

Danny Lipford: Without a doubt, decorative curtain rods and curtains can make a big difference on how the interior of your home looks. But I don’t anyone that enjoys hanging curtain rods with all the little screws and many times it’s kind of difficult to get in to some of the areas that you may be attaching the curtain rods. And it’s particularly hard if you’re dealing with a metal door that you have to drill the holes in, in order to mount the little brackets.

Well, it’s a lot easier now because Levolor has developed a cafe rod that’s completely magnetic. No tools are needed, no holes have to be drilled. All you do is just but it in place. And this can expand out to twenty-eight inches so it’ll fit just about any door or even a window if you have a metal surface around the window.

Now if you need another one of these, of course you can buy another one to mount on the bottom of it to keep those shears or curtains nice and tight. Now these are only about twelve dollars a piece, and as I said you don’t have to break out the drill or do anything. And if later on you change your mind, you can take it right off and use it somewhere else.

So if you’re stuck with having to hang a cafe rod, life just got easier.

Our brick masons have completed all of their work, and the mortar is starting to dry fairly way. A few more weeks, it’ll blend right in. Also, our painters were out just the other day applying a coat of dark stain to all of our new wood, which most of that was cedar to match the existing wood that also was cedar. And they’ve put a fresh coat of stain on the existing house to make sure everything blends in.

So really, all that’s left out here is just a little bit of landscaping that the homeowners are planning to do after all of the construction work is complete. Now while all of this work was taking place outside, inside was real busy.

Once the addition was dried in, the electrician and the heating and cooling contractor went to work getting all of the wiring and ductwork into the walls and attic space. This work went pretty quickly and since there wasn’t any plumbing in the addition, it wasn’t long before the drywall crew went to work covering up all the stud walls.

The simple interior layout and the absence of plumbing on this project really made the interior work fly. In no time, the drywall was finished, painted and ready for the trim to be added. Now most of this trim was stained and sealed to match the trim in the existing house before the guys began installing it.

The tile setter took over the space next and began laying out the twelve inch by twelve inch tiles that will make up all of the flooring for this addition. Not a bad idea for a young family with small children.

Outside the excavation for the retaining wall got that part of the project kicked off, and we slopped the ground away from the house. And for an extra measure of protection, we decided to extend the retained wall around behind the addition as well.

All the blocks for our retaining wall took quite a while and was some pretty heavy work. These guys are pretty heavy to put in place one at a time, but should work perfectly.

Now after they were down, we rolled out a layer of landscape fabric. Now this is a nylon material that will block out any chance of weeds or any vegetation from growing in this area, but it will allow the rain to penetrate through the fabric down into the drainage pipes that we showed you earlier running right along the wall itself.

Now the drainage pipe is kind of unique in that it basically has some nylon socks over it, called a sock pipe, and what the nylon does is it will prevent any dirt from silting down into the pipes and possibly causing a clog later on down the road. Now they continue right on out into the front yard and will tie into two other drainage pipes that we put in right at the start of the project.

Now after every thing was down, and everything was graded properly, then we came in with a nice thick layer of this limestone rock and basically it works like any course gravel that you would use in a drainage system like this.

Still, encouraging the water to drain down through into the drainage pipes and then the water moved to a safe location out onto the city drainage right away.

Now all of this is pretty much complete out here, a little more tweaking here and there, a few touch ups inside, and we can show you this completed project, right after our Around the Yard.

Announcer: Let’s head outside for Around the Yard with lawn and expert Trisha Craven Worley.

Danny Lipford: Now it’s amazing to me that vegetation and different little plants can find their way up through cracks in a sidewalk like this.

Tricia Craven Worley: I’ve even seen them growing in the freeway.

Danny Lipford: Is that right? Well you really think that just pouring bowling hot water on the plants will kill them.

Tricia Craven Worley: It does. I’ve done it. Watch. Just be real careful. Keep the little children away. But if we pour it all the way here, you can see the steam coming up over, a little sauna.

Danny Lipford: Now what’s so bad about the total vegetation killers. I mean, they’re a lot safer now than they were years and years ago. What would be a problem in using them in a situation like this?

Tricia Craven Worley: Well, just as it’s a little windy today, some of that wind could blow some of that mist over and kill or at least singe these pansies here. And then also, just as we see the runoff from the water here, if there were some killer, in a complete kill out it could kill this whole edge here.

Danny Lipford: Now, you know we’ve done this, well if these are really persistent weeds we might need to do it again and check it in a couple of days.

Speaking of persistent weeds, some of the broad weeds like that, will the boiling water take care of that?

Tricia Craven Worley: Well, it would probably take care of it but it mostly take care of a plate size around it. Well you know it’s very hard to gauge how much is going to go on.

Well, Danny, you know another really important thing about this water—the way to kill the weeds this way—is it’s really not going to harm tile or wood or concrete or a lot of other surfaces that some of the others might.

Danny Lipford: We say it all the time—the best addition is one that doesn’t look like an addition. And we kept that in mind when we started this addition that’s 700 square feet a couple of months ago, from the foundation to the framing of the walls, the roof structure, and certainly the paint color and the bricks themselves. Well, now that the mortar and the paint are dried, I think you’ll agree it blends in like it’s been there all the time.

Once the Mackie’s finish moving into the addition, it’s certain they’ll get plenty of use from the extra family room. The spare room should be ideal for out of town guests, in addition to its use as the family office.

The new dining room flows beautifully from the existing kitchen and should provide all the room they’ll need for family meals. If you’re thinking of adding an addition to your home, do what Aaron and Carrie did, figure out exactly what you want to achieve with the addition, then find a contractor and designer that specialize in residential remodeling. And you can always check out our website at for even more information.

Hey, thanks for being with us. We’ll see you next week.

Announcer: If you’d like to purchase a video tape or DVD copy of this week’s show, visit our website at or call us at 1-800-946-4420.

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Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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