Today’s Addition, Part 1

By: Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford standing in front of the master bedroom addition

Watch Full Episode

Our special two-part Today’s Addition project will take you through the steps involved in adding a luxurious master bedroom. You’ll find a wealth of practical information—including plans and innovative new products—to inspire you to tackle your own home remodeling project.


The first step in adding an addition is to have plans (view our Today’s Addition plans) drawn up for the project. Blueprints are often confusing to the homeowner, so here are a few pointers to help you make sense out of them:

  • House plans are usually drawn to ¼” scale, which means that ¼” on the blueprints equals 1’ on the job site.
  • Use the legend on the plans to find out what each of the various symbols means.
  • The cryptic looking numbers next to each window and door on the plans gives the number of units to be used followed by the width and height of each unit in feet and inches.

Issues that need to be addressed during the planning stage include:

  • How the roof will be joined to the existing house.
  • Whether additional heating and cooling will be needed to handle the extra space.
  • The type of materials that will be used to blend the addition with the existing home.

Once the plans have been drawn and material choices made, work can begin.


First a hole was cut through the brick wall of the house to find the exact location of the existing floor. Footings were dug and concrete poured for a foundation around the outside of the addition.

Concrete blocks were laid on the foundation, and the interior was filled with compacted dirt. A concrete slab was poured, and the blocks were filled to provide maximum strength.


The walls were framed and the roof tied to the existing house. Once the roof had been sheathed and blacked in, work on the inside began.

Our addition features a recessed, or pocket, ceiling. While the ceiling is only 8’ high around the perimeter of the room, it rises a foot in the center to give it a lofty spacious feel. Framing for the ceiling required the use of hefty 2” x 12” beams to support the long spans with short “finger joists” filling in around them. Additional ceiling joists were then installed above the recess to finish out the framing.

Plumbing and Wiring

After the framing was complete, the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC work began. Since there wasn’t enough slope to run the drain from the breakfast bar sink directly into the sewer line, a lift station was installed to pump the waste water up into an existing bathroom drain. The boxes for the recessed light fixtures in the ceiling were installed, along with additional wiring for the video answering system and sound system.

Windows and Doors

Casement windows and glass patio doors, manufactured by JELD-WEN Windows & Doors, were installed as well. They feature argon-filled insulated glass with a Low-E coating for high energy efficiency. While the inside is natural wood so it can be stained to match the woodwork, the exterior is clad in aluminum to provide protection from the elements. They are constructed of solid pine that has been pressure treated with AuraLast® to prevent decay, termite infestation, and water absorption.

Interior Walls

After the room had been insulated, the drywall was installed. Always check to be sure that outlets, ducts, and recessed light fixtures have not been accidentally covered over before drywall finishing begins.

Once the drywall had been finished, the walls and ceiling were painted. Next, the prefinished wood trim was installed around the ceiling, walls, windows, and doors.

Exterior Walls

The exterior walls were bricked, and the gable was covered with vinyl siding by Crane Performance Siding to simulate the look of stained cedar shakes. The wood trim around the eaves was covered with vinyl soffit and aluminum trim.


Merillat Classic® LaBelle cherry cabinets were installed at the far end of the room for the breakfast bar with floor to ceiling units on each end and a sink in the center (view cabinet plans).

Radiant Heating

The addition also features a radiant floor heating system by Uponor that uses hot water piped through flexible plastic tubing to warm the room from the bottom up. Prior to installation a treated plywood subfloor was glued and nailed to the concrete slab. The Uponor Quik Trak® floor system—consisting of specially machined strips of plywood that are grooved to receive the plastic tubing—was screwed down on top of the subfloor. The track has return panels at each end of the room, allowing the tubing to loop back and forth across the floor.

A bead of silicone caulking was applied to the bottom of the groove, and the plastic tubing hammered into place with a rubber mallet. Each section of tubing consists of a single continuous piece, eliminating the need for fittings under the floor. A pump circulates hot water through the tubing from a 2½ gallon hot water tank in a closed loop to warm the floor.

Further Information

Other Tips From This Episode

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
String Pipe Cutter

String Pipe Cutter

You don’t have to dig a big hole in your yard to cut through a piece of plastic pipe that is buried in the ground. Instead, dig around the pipe just enough to slip a piece of nylon string under the pipe, then attach each end of the string to a wooden handle. Hold a handle in each hand, pull the string tight, and use a back and forth sawing motion to generate friction and heat to cut through the pipe. (Watch This Video)

Best New Products with Emilie Barta:
Sheetrock® Plus 3 Lightweight Joint Compound

Sheetrock® Plus 3 Lightweight Joint Compound with Dust Control

While finishing drywall has always been one of the messiest home improvement jobs around, it no longer has to be that way. Sheetrock® Plus 3 Lightweight Joint Compound with dust control is specially formulated so that the dust particles bind together during sanding. These heavier particles then fall to the floor where they can easily be swept up. Besides clearing the air, it weighs over a third less than standard compounds and doesn’t shrink as much when it dries. Sheetrock® Plus 3 Lightweight Joint Compound is available at The Home Depot. (Watch This Video)

Ask Danny:
Finding Property Lines

Finding Property Lines

“I’m putting a fence in my backyard and need to find my property line. How do I do that?” -Rick from Alabama

It’s important to know exactly where your property lines are before starting a construction project in your yard. Licensed land surveyors can be found in the phonebook to survey your property and mark the corners of your land. It may also be possible to use a metal detector to locate the original metal pegs that mark the corners of your property.
(Watch This Video)



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One Comment on “Today’s Addition, Part 1”

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  • joanne johnson Says:
    October 28th, 2007 at 10:43 pm

    wow. I saw your show for the first time today and I love it. My husband passed away 2 years ago so I have plenty of questions. Thanks for the show. jo

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