4 Ways To Overcome The Second Story Addition BluesAdding a second story to your existing home is a great idea, especially if you do not have room to expand your home’s footprint. However, homeowners should be prepared to deal with the myriad of challenges building a second story addition brings with it. Thankfully, you can aid yourself in this process by asking lots of questions prior to committing to your home addition project, planning the project and being prepared to vacate your home for the most disruptive phases of construction.

Learn the Scope and Breadth of the Project

A second story addition is a major project, more-so than simply expanding the footprint of your home. Part or all of your existing roof must be removed. Your walls must be extended upwards to accommodate the new level. New floor joists and a new floor must be installed on the second floor and all of your existing plumbing, wiring and heating and cooling must be extended to your new second floor. Before you start the construction process, you should make sure you fully understand the scope and breadth of the project.

Ask Questions

How much will adding a second story cost? A full second story addition can cost as much as $200,000. Partial second story additions can cost as much as $120,000. In addition to the overall price estimates, you should plan between 10 to 20 percent more in overages and unexpected problems. Contractors will do their best to stick to their estimate, but unforeseen delays and hidden problems, like dry rot, can increase its cost.

How long will the project take? Once your project is properly planned, your contractor can tell you how long it will take to build your second story addition. The time-frames vary wildly, depending on the complexity of the addition and if the home needs any additional supports on the first floor. In general, second story additions performed with modular or pre-built components take less time, but may be less desirable for the homeowner.

Plan for Your Second Story Addition

Adequate planning can save you numerous headaches, and the best way to start the planning process, after you’ve made the decision to add a second story, is to hire an architect. An architect can look at your existing home and its internal and external elements in order to design a second floor that meshes with the rest of your home. They can also help you find the best place to put your new staircase, and they can design plans for several different budgets. An architect can also help you find other construction professionals, including engineers, which are needed to ensure your first floor can support the weight of a second floor, and qualified, experienced contractors that can execute the architect’s designs.

Be Prepared to Temporarily Vacate Your Home

No matter how well informed and prepared you are, you may still want to vacate your home during the major parts of your second story addition project. This is especially true if you are adding a full second story addition that spans the entirety of your existing house. When a full story is added onto a home, every room on the first floor is affected. This may leave you without functioning bathrooms or a kitchen, due to your utilities being turned on during certain phases. Your bedroom space will also be affected. To save yourself stress, you may want to consider moving into a hotel or a fully furnished apartment on a monthly basis until the second story floor has been installed. If you’re only planning a partial addition or an addition over your garage, you may be able to live in your home during construction.

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