4 rules for when to add a second story to your homeFamilies outgrow their homes for a variety of reasons. The birth of another child, starting a home business, or just simply desiring extra room for entertaining might encourage some people to begin looking for a larger house to buy. However, some folks are already very heavily invested in their current house, neighborhood, and community and would rather not move. In this case, it might be prudent to consider adding a second story to an existing house.

Once designed and constructed correctly, these additional stories should look as if they had always been a part of the building. Because of the extra space, a second floor can also make a home a lot more valuable if the homeowner ever decides to sell it. However, a second-story addition can’t be added to every home and might not be the right choice for every homeowner. Consider these four rules to consider before deciding if it’s time to add another floor to a one-story home.

1. Get an Engineering Review

Not all homes can support the weight of another story on top. For example, many homeowners believe that they can simply expand and add floors to an existing attic in order to add additional living space. However, some attics were not designed to hold as much weight as a true second story of a house. An engineering review can tell the homeowner if the task can be safely done, how it should be done, if it complies with local building codes, and much more. This should be considered as a first step before planning any additions to a house.

2. Consider the Position of Stairways 

In some cases, there might already be existing stairs that lead up to the attic, but they might not be sturdy or safe enough for everyday use. Constructing an inside stairway means that space has to get subtracted from some living space downstairs. In some cases, it might be possible to construct the stairs outside of the existing building, and that could get enclosed to create an inside stairway.

3. Plan for Heating, Cooling, and Utilities

A one-story house will only have heating, cooling, and wiring for the ground floor. In some cases, additional ductwork and wiring might need to get added to take care of the new floor. In other cases, the existing wiring, air conditioner, and furnace may not be adequate for the second floor and will have to be improved upon or replaced. Depending upon what the home needs, this could add quite a bit of additional expense to the project.

4. Consider Relocating While the Second Story Gets Built

A lot of homeowners assume that they can just continue to live in their houses while all of the work gets done over their heads. It’s actually likely that they will need to find temporary lodgings during those times when utilities need to get shut off or the house has to get opened up to the elements. Living in a home that is undergoing such massive work is not really that comfortable. In the best of situations, the work is bound to get noisy and disruptive.

Is it Time to Add a Second Story to Your House?

There are many good reasons to consider investing in a second story. It can help add value to a home you already own, and for some people, it might be more sensible and desirable than moving away. People who take the right steps to plan for this addition are likely to be pleased with the entire experience.

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