What are the Best Tips for Adding a Second Story to a Home?

Erin J. Hill

Adding a second story to a home can be a major project, timewise and monetarily. Some important things to remember when adding another story to a home are the type of foundation the house is sitting on, the cost of the addition, and building codes in the area where the home is located. The frame of the house should also be considered. These things should be checked into before building begins to ensure that the building process is done properly.

The frame of a house must be able to accommodate an additional story.
The frame of a house must be able to accommodate an additional story.

The first tip for adding a second story to a home is to ensure that adding another story is allowed in the neighborhood in which the home is located. Some streets and neighborhoods do not allow such additions, and getting a building permit for adding on another story would not be possible in these locations. Those who are looking to build should also apply for a building permit and find the necessary contractor if a builder is being hired.

Consulting a home's original designs can help determine whether it can support a second story.
Consulting a home's original designs can help determine whether it can support a second story.

Once it is determined that adding a second story to a home is a possibility, the next step is to make sure the foundation is capable of supporting the added weight of another floor. Certain types of foundations may not be thick enough and would eventually crack beneath the added pressure of a second story. These foundations can sometimes be reinforced before construction is started, but this is not always the case.

Additional bathrooms are usually a driving motivation behind adding a second story.
Additional bathrooms are usually a driving motivation behind adding a second story.

Cost is another thing which should be taken into consideration before adding a second story to a home. Sometimes the costs may not be worth the investment in the long term. For instance, if the home is in a lower income neighborhood, the home’s market value may not increase enough to justify the expense. To figure out the potential costs, it is necessary to make a list of all supplies and to add up the amounts needed.

Renovation contractors may build additions, such as second stories, to existing homes.
Renovation contractors may build additions, such as second stories, to existing homes.

A new layout may be needed for the lower level of the home as well if a second floor was not planned for during the initial construction. For example, room will need to be made for a staircase. If there are power lines or trees overhead, these may need to be moved or cleared to make way for the taller roof. All of this requires careful planning in order to avoid unnecessary costs and mistakes.

Those who do not have a strong home construction background may do well to hire a professional for the building project. The person hired should have experience and the necessary equipment needed for a second story addition. Some homes may not be suitable for adding another floor without serious renovations beforehand, which can increase the overall cost.

Where to place a staircase is an important consideration when designing a second story for a home.
Where to place a staircase is an important consideration when designing a second story for a home.

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