Second-Level Home Additions: What You Need to Know
This guide will tell you everything you need to know when considering a second-level home addition — including cost issues and remaining in your neighborhood.
Does tearing the roof off of your home and building a second-story addition sound like an extreme solution for adding space? Well, in certain circumstances it makes complete sense — and is even a money-saver. In other cases, the payback isn’t a monetary one: staying in your beloved neighborhood or continuing to appreciate the surroundings you’ve invested in that aren’t replicable somewhere else.
Use this guide to educate yourself on how to construct a second floor on your current home, what is required, and the costs associated with the addition.
Second-Story Renovation Choices
There are several ways to add to your home vertically for a renovation. How you choose to execute your second-story addition will depend on a few things, including personal preference, building regulations, and any foundation specifications for adding on a second story.
1. Construct it from scratch. The first option calls for removing the roof and building an entirely new top level from square one. If you’re putting a second story on a ranch-style home, then this is probably the option for you.
2. Temporarily lift off the roof. Another choice is to separate the roof of your home around the edges and lift it off, returning it to the home once the new floor has been framed in.
3. Expansion. A third approach for your second-story addition is to extend an upper level out above a current one-story section, like a porch or garage.
4. Modular alternatives. In this alternative, the second-story addition is planned and constructed off-site, and then transported to your home. This is typically the fastest and most affordable way to add a second story.
Second-Story Addition Costs
If your home is in need of a pretty big chunk of space — a few rooms as opposed to just one or two — and finances are tight, your best bet may be to expand vertically. To begin with, you’ll be building on your existing foundation, thereby avoiding any costly foundation work. Just be sure to have the foundation evaluated to ensure it can take on the additional weight.
Secondly, it’s possible to save a ton of money on roof construction by lifting off your existing roof and reinstalling it after the new second story is in place. While leasing a crane to remove the roof can run you a pretty penny, it’s much more cost effective than constructing a completely new roof.
Lastly, adding a new level is a project that works within your home’s current footprint to double the square footage in just a matter of days (ultimately the amount of time necessary to frame in an upper level). Once framed in, you can then work on finishing your new space either one room at a time or all at once, depending on what your budget allows. Handy people may even be able to take on most of this work themselves. When all is said and done, a second-story addition that consists of simple spaces with affordable finishes could cost about half the amount of a standard ground-level addition of comparable size.
Like Your Neighborhood? Stay Put & Build Up
Location means everything for a lot of families. With sprawling metro areas and the cost of land soaring, the allure and convenience of a familiar neighborhood can become invaluable. If you lack the room on your property to expand your home laterally, but don’t want to sell your home or search for a new neighborhood that feels as comfortable, then installing a second-story addition might be the perfect solution.
Your home renovation plans may be more complex than constructing a basic addition of raw square footage as affordably as possible, and that’s perfectly okay. Building a substantially larger home within the same footprint can yield serious benefits — financially as well as personally. In popular, well-established neighborhoods, homes that double in square footage have the ability to double or triple in home value much quicker than those located in newer areas with less convenience. This is particularly true of second-story additions on ranch homes that give them a more prominent architectural profile from the road.
That being said, the benefits that mean the most are typically the ones that are intangible. For instance, can you put a price tag on looking out the window as your children play in the backyard they’ve known their whole life, or enjoying the beautiful shade tree you planted years ago with your own two hands? Adding a second story to your existing home can guarantee things like that for you.
More Reasons to Add a Second Floor
When developing your home renovation plans, take note that a second-story addition is a smart choice if your yard is compact and you would like to keep as much open outdoor space as possible for privacy, gardening or outdoor living. The same applies if you have special landscape features that you’re not willing to sacrifice, like a stately old shade tree, a mature hedgerow, or a gorgeous wisteria-covered pergola.
If your household is going through growing pains, a home addition is a smart way to provide more privacy. It also gives you a rare chance to increase the height of the main floor by making the walls taller before building on the new level. You can also maximize your main floor by joining or uniting smaller rooms downstairs that won’t be needed once the new upper floor is finished.