Should You Start A Second Story Addition? Three Things To ConsiderAdding a second story to your home can increase the equity of your property and maximize your space. It can be costly, but definitely worth it if you want to remain in your neighborhood and current home and are in need of more space. Second-story additions are big projects, complex in their own way, so it’s a good idea to have some knowledge about the process and the typical costs before moving ahead. Here are some good questions to consider before you renovate:

1. Is the foundation strong enough to carry the new load?

If your current home is a single-story structure, it may not have the foundation to support additional weight from a renovation. Second stories require more structural support including materials like plywood and steel connections to meet code requirements. Having a structural engineer evaluate your house’s foundation and framing before you begin planning a new level can save you a lot of time and hassle in the long run. From there, getting a permit for your second-story addition is of the utmost importance. Most construction can’t be done without permits. Check your local zoning office for their requirements before beginning your project.

2. Will the new staircase between floors impact the pre-existing floor plan?

A new staircase is usually necessary to reach your second story if you don’t already have one in place. This new structure can take a chunk of square footage from your first floor, impacting the existing rooms and traffic flow. Sometimes, the choice is simple like placing a new set of stairs over existing basement stairs. Other times it may require a bit more finesse to ensure your existing main floor remains suitable to your family’s needs. A good architect can examine all of the options for stair location and help you choose which would be best for your floor plan.

3. Is it wise/affordable to add storage space in the new roof to gain additional square footage?

This question really depends on whether or not you have a lot of items that need to be stored. Things like holiday decorations, antiques, family heirlooms, and other collectables that you still want but don’t necessarily need during your everyday. You have two options: storage trusses or attic trusses. Storage trusses are strong and can save you some money in the long run and still give you a good amount of space. Attic trusses are more expensive, but they give you a lot of space for storage. Ultimately, it’s up to you whether or not you need that extra space and whether you’re willing to pay for it.

Doubling your home’s square footage can be a really great thing for you and your family, but it comes with cost and some added stress. In terms of price, every house is different, so costs will vary from one home to the next. Something else to consider is perhaps maybe only doing a partial second story, adding a new master bedroom and bath. This would give you additional living space, without a drastic change to your entire home. It could potentially save you money if you have enough bedrooms on the first floor but want a little more privacy for your master suite.

Adding a second story can be costly because it requires extensive work, including demolition of the roof and adding all of the systems that are needed for this new space. Your electrical, plumbing, and AC/heating will be interrupted and then re-worked to accommodate the new square footage you plan to add to your home. This isn’t a handyman project; you will need a contractor with a lot of experience in this type of construction. Better yet, you’ll want to find one who is experienced but keeps an eye on the budget, making your second-story addition a project that maximizes space yet minimizes cost.

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