Although all remodel projects take a lot of time and attention to get right, adding a second story to your home is one of the biggest and scariest home remodel projects you can take on. With all that worry come lots and lots of questions. On your journey to figuring out how to add a second story to your home, we think there are some essential questions to need to ask yourself or a professional contractor with experience in these types of projects. So before you begin any construction, walk through these questions to prepare yourself as best you can.
Why Add a Second Story?
First and foremost, should you even add a second story to your home? Of course, you’ve probably already made up your mind. However, before you get into the nitty-gritty, really think about this question, and here are some reasons why you might want to add a second story.
No Need to Lose Yard Space
If you’re thinking of adding a second story to your home to add square footage, there are other ways you can do this. You can add additions to the sides of your home. Unfortunately, adding onto the side of your home will likely take up valuable yard space that you might not want to give up. Adding a second story eliminates that and gives you more space without taking up the kid’s and pets’ play areas.
Remove the Need for Foundation Work
Adding an addition to the side of your home might seem like less work than ripping off a roof and adding to the top of your home. This isn’t true. While it depends on the project’s scope, and, of course, every project is different, adding to the side of your home means there is foundation work to be done. Foundation work is one of the most expensive and messy parts of adding to your home, but you can avoid all that by deciding to add a second story instead.
Increase the Value of Your Home
Not only will you feel like you have more breathing room with a second story, but you’ll also be impressed with how much value it adds to your home. So if you’re worried about resale value or you already know you’ll want to move in the future, you can rest assured that adding a second story will add a lot of value to your home.
Dramatically Increase the Size of Your Home
This one might seem obvious, but we think you’ll be blown away by how much bigger your home will feel with a second-story addition. If the family is getting bigger and the house feels smaller, this might be the right move for you. Finding a new neighborhood, you love as much as this one can be way harder than adding another story to your home.
You now might be more than convinced that you want to add-onto your home, but there are still more questions we think are essential to consider before you go any further.
What’s Your Budget?
Before you go down any more roads exploring this home addition idea, sit down with your spouse or partner and get very clear about how much you are willing to spend on this project. So many choices from here on out will depend on your budget. If you can get a number down that everyone is on board with, you can then move forward with a clear idea in your head of what can and can not happen. This is especially important when speaking with contractors. If they have a good idea of your budget, they will help you much more effectively than if they don’t know your budget.
Full Second Floor or Partial?
You don’t have to add a second story that matches the size of your existing home. While it might seem like the natural thing to do, it can sometimes be better for the home’s aesthetic design and functionality to only add a partial second story. This will, of course, depend on your needs and your budget, but you might find that with a smaller budget, you can add a partial second story and still increase your square footage. Then you can always add on again down the road as your wallet recovers.
Why Long Timeframes?
You might have heard that adding a second story to your home will take longer than any other remodel project will. Maybe you’ve remodeled your kitchen and feel prepared for a more significant project, and now you’re worried it’s scarier than you thought. Often a second story addition will indeed take longer than any other project you’ve experienced before, and this is primarily due to the type of work that has to be done to add another story to a home. No matter the method you and your contractor decide is best for your situation, you’ll be removing the roof of your home and exposing it to the outside elements. To protect your home and your family during this time, a lot of time is spent on weatherproofing, dust containing, and enforcing safety on the whole situation. Also, when remodeling a bathroom, you’re likely working with a lot of space that’s already built. With a second story, you have to build everything from walls, electric wiring, plumbing, windows, and everything else. This takes a lot more time and coordination from your contractor.
What About Zoning Laws?
Don’t get too excited about this second-story idea until you’ve confirmed with your local zoning laws that you are even allowed to add a second story to your home. Sometimes neighborhoods will limit how tall a home can be, and it would be devastating to go through all that planning to find out you can’t go through with it.
Can Your House Support One?
It’s not likely that you know the limitations of your home’s current foundation, but an expert on the subject can come out to your home and let you know. If they tell you it can’t, do not be dismayed! There are ways that contractors can add structural support to your home to handle a second story being added. While this isn’t always the case, you’ll want to take the steps necessary to find out.
Can I Live at Home?
Although it can be pretty annoying, it’s relatively easy and common for people to live at home during their kitchen or bathroom remodel. But it might seem impossible to continue living at home during a full story add-on. You might be surprised to find out that you can live at home during this project, and it might be the easiest remodel project to live at home during since very little of your existing home will be out of order while it’s being built. Of course, this might not always be the case, and there might be days where your contractor suggests you staying with friends.
What Happens to My Roof?
There is no one answer to this question. Every house and remodel project is different, and determining the best way to remove, preserve, or reuse a roof will be different every time. The best way to understand how everything will go down is to hire a Design-Build contractor like McDermitt Remodeling, who will take the time to create a clear and detailed plan of your project before the first hammer falls. This way, you and your family understand what’s going to happen and when.
The worst part of any home remodeling project is not knowing what might or might not happen. However, with all these questions answered by an experienced contractor, you can begin to figure out the details and get excited about adding to your home.
Brittany received her interior design degree in 2010 and recently earned her kitchen and bathroom certifications. She sees her job as much more than just picking out pretty colors and materials – it also involves exact measurements, plenty of planning, and determining how to have a space accurately reflect the lifestyle of its occupants.