Suddenly you realize your home is too small for your needs. Lifestyles change like more family members or just want more space. But, your lot size is small and you don’t want to make it smaller by adding a room. You have two choices: move to a larger home, or add a second story.
Neither option is stress-free. Given today’s depreciated home values, many owners might prefer to add a second story instead of moving.
Adding a second story isn’t that different from building a new house, at least from the builder’s perspective, according to most contractors, a second story addition is simply placed over the existing footprint,
Adding a second story raises issues of structural soundness, building codes, stairway access
The first step should be to consult a structural engineer to make sure the foundation will support the added weight of the new walls and living spaces between them
A lot of people think that because they have an attic, they can just floor that in and move on up. They can’t. Attics are designed to carry less weight than a bedroom
Building code requirements — such as minimum room sizes, minimum ceiling heights and staircase dimensions — must be taken into consideration. Some states impose the same rules in every community. Others allow localities to adopt their own rules.
One of the things homeowners have to understand, you could drive five miles and there is a different code, and in another five miles, it’s another code.
Homeowners should hire a contractor who’s familiar with the codes where the home is located. The contractor should be licensed in that jurisdiction.
A second story almost always requires a new staircase, either because one doesn’t exist or the existing stairs aren’t code-compliant or sturdy enough.
You want to have a good, permanent staircase. And depending on the type of 2nd story, a stairway can add can make a nice impact in the downstairs living aera. Just because you have a staircase that goes to the attic doesn’t mean it qualifies as a staircase to go to a second floor.”
The staircase can be positioned inside or outside the existing ground floor. Fitting it inside means other space, such as a bedroom, hallway or breakfast area, must be sacrificed. Adding it outside requires
Space also must be found for new ductwork for the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system. Some homeowners want a separate system for the second story; others prefer one whole-house system. Either option requires planning before construction begins.
This is a very good question. Some homeowners want to stay in their home while the second-story construction is going on. But, keep in mind, its not an easy lifestyle, perhaps all but impossible especially when the addition is over the existing home and not over a garage.
There’s a concern about the effects of rain, snow or wind after the house has been opened to the elements. Many times the roof has to be covered with plastic as the work is going on.
Emptying out the ground floor can reduce the risk of rain or wind damage. If the homeowner hasn’t yet moved into the residence, that might not be difficult to do. If the house is occupied, furnishings can be packed into sections of the house that won’t be exposed, relocated to another residence, or stored at an off-site facility or in temporary containers on the property.
The job’s duration depends on the size and configuration of the house and second story, and whether portions of the new space are pre-built.
Adding on a second story isn’t cheap. The cost of a project depends on the scope and scale, quality of materials and finishes the homeowner selects, labor costs, and myriad other factors.
To learn more about adding a second story addition please feel free to call us and we will give you a free consultation.