Is your starter home turning into your long-term or forever home? It’s obvious you need more square footage, and maybe a second-story addition seems like an option, but is it even possible?
If your home has enough structural support at the foundation level, a second floor can be a fantastic decision for your current home. A second-story home addition will create a better living environment for you and your family and a more desirable outcome for your home’s value when it comes to resale.
This article will walk you through everything you need to know about adding a 2nd story to your home.
To consider taking this big step means there are significant limitations in your current floor plan. It’s essential first to capture why you need a larger home. As yourself:
A first-floor addition might seem like the most obvious solution, but lot lines on many suburban properties are limited and will impact whether or not you can achieve a first-floor home addition. Towns have zoning restrictions that only allow a certain percentage of the land to be developed. Building up (adding a second-story addition) instead of out does not impact your lot lines or the percentage of water-permeable surface that must remain on your lot. You’ll need to contact your municipality or work with a design-build firm with a solid track record of helping homeowners navigate local building codes.
Adding a new second story is perfect for adding the space you need for bedrooms and bathrooms, relocating a laundry room, or adding a bonus space to house a playroom or office.. If you already have a two-story home, you may have space to extend the second story over a garage for a partial second-story addition. If you have a single-story home, you can add as much of a second floor as you need on top of the first.
As the saying goes, if it were easy, everyone would do it. But with the right design-build firm, it can be a very positive experience, from the initial interview to layout and interior design choices to the time the remodeling project is complete. Here are the top considerations for adding a 2nd story to your home:
The first question to answer: Can my foundation support a full second-story addition? Here are a few rules of thumb:
Your design-build team can help you determine if your foundation is in good shape to support a second-story addition and what options are available to you.
There are also square footage requirements that must be adhered to, such as you can only build X % of square footage on a specific lot size. These restrictions vary by town. It’s essential to work with an experienced design-build general contractor who will thoroughly investigate to determine if your home is structurally sound and strong enough to support a new second story. A structural engineer may need to be brought in to ensure the house can support the desired new space.
Keep in mind that you are embarking on what will amount to a whole home renovation. Access from the first-floor living space to the second floor-will need to be accounted for. Where will your stairs go? How will your landing and hallway function best to maximize the room spaces in the second story?
You will also want to take the opportunity to update both internal and external materials on the existing house so there is not a jarring difference between the existing home and the new construction upstairs.
Here are a few things to consider:
Yes! Increasing the amount and size of the bedrooms and bathrooms will provide a competitive edge in terms of resale value compared to the original home’s square footage and features of a single-floor home.
A second-story addition home improvement project will enhance your overall quality of life and offer more room for everyone in the household to have their own space. For families with children, the additional space makes it more probable that they will invite friends over more frequently. By carefully considering the layout and design of the expanded areas, you can entertain guests more comfortably and fully appreciate your home.
Second-story additions can be an excellent idea, but much planning must be done upfront to create a space that meets your needs and is cohesive from top to bottom. Experience is critical, so be sure to work with a design-build company with expertise in adding second-floor additions.
Learn how to successfully plan a 2nd story home addition project by downloading the eBook “Home Addition Design 101: A Comprehensive Guide to Planning a Family-Friendly Addition.”