Once you decide to add a second story to your home, your next move should be to ensure that the project is carried out as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality or safety.
One of the primary reasons you should focus on speed is convenience. Many second story addition projects require homeowners to relocate or seal themselves off to a portion of their house during construction. In some cases, construction actually occurs in the middle of a home, requiring occupants to walk through the work area to get from one room to another.
This brings up the matter of emotional stress, something many homeowners who add a second story experience. Those who leave their homes during the project tend to feel displaced by the experience, while those who choose to stay and attempt to live life as usual generally feel disjointed and have difficulty concentrating or relaxing.
Another motivation for ensuring the addition of a second story is completed quickly is that the work often requires removal of sections of a home’s roof, thereby opening the inside of the structure to potentially inclement weather. It doesn’t take much rain to significantly damage a house’s drywall, insulation or furnishings.
One of the best ways to plan for a smooth and speedy second story addition project is to get as organized as possible in advance. Talk to your general contractor about getting port-a-potties for the work crew to avoid construction workers interrupting house occupants. Ask him to use plastic to seal off work areas to prevent dust and other debris from penetrating living areas. If you are planning to live in a portion of the home, be sure to add any necessary temporary shelving, microwaves, refrigerators or other items in the area in which you plan to stay before construction begins.
While it is tempting to serve as your own general contractor for a home remodel project to save money, it is likely to take longer and, in the end, might cost more than simply hiring a professional in the first place. In a similar vein, it is important to hire a contractor experienced in building second story additions. Such a contractor should have significant experience removing structural walls and connecting to existing mechanical systems. They should also hold certificates in remodeling. Save time by interviewing potential contractors over the phone, asking about their credentials and experience then, rather than having all potential candidates visit your home one by one. You should also ask prospective contractors for references from other clients for whom they have built second story additions. Be sure to follow up by actually calling the references and asking if they have encountered any problems with the work.
It is also useful to hire a structural engineer to help ensure the bottom floor is capable of holding up a new story. In fact, many municipal building departments require structural engineering analysis before they will issue permits for second story addition projects.
Another way to ensure your second story addition project goes smoothly and as fast as possible is to hire an architect to design the addition. Not only will this make the addition blend perfectly with the existing structure, it will provide your contractor with enough direction to prevent him from encountering stops.
If you do not hire a contractor with in-house engineers and architects, do some research before hiring your own. As with general contractors, make sure the engineer and architect you choose have experience in designing second stories. Ask to see some of their past work, in person, if possible.