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Building a Cape Cod Second Floor Home Addition

Mar 27, 2023 | 2nd Floor Additions

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Cape Cod homes, with their traditional charming one-and-a-half story structures, steeply pitched roofs, and dormer windows, have been around forever. We can trace their lineage back to the 1600s, making them an icon of the American architectural landscape and one found in both bustling cities and sleepy towns. Of course, their construction has seen much change and reinvention as they’ve evolved, including a second-story addition for many homes. Cape homeowners often need this additional floor owing to a noticeable lack of space. The slanted ceilings and reduced headroom can make you feel cramped or boxed in. However, here’s where Cape styles also have a distinct advantage – the structure gracefully lends itself to remodeling in practically any form, especially building a second-floor addition.

Cape Cod Expansion Tips

Homeowners can significantly enhance their Cape Cod home’s cozy, comfortable, and familiar façade by adding a second floor and giving this traditional structure a cool contemporary twist.

Apart from giving you so much more space without requiring you to move to accommodate the needs of a growing family, you also get to increase your home’s real estate value, appealing to anyone looking to sell some years later.

Consider these tips and tricks before starting your remodeling project.

#1 Make a Budget

Do some homework before speaking to your contractor, ensuring you have a detailed vision of your budget and how you plan to use your new space. Your contractor will then work out all the dimensions and the structural and mechanical systems to bring your vision to life. Don’t forget to discuss the budget in detail, especially if you own an older home. Renovating historic homes and older home styles from a specific era often becomes harder as many of the fittings and fixtures, from your plumbing to your electrical and HVAC systems, could be obsolete or need heavy rework. A detailed budget will help your plan stay on track or smoothly change course if you need to scale back your ideas.

#2 Strategize For Your Unique Property

If your Cape is older with a half-story attic, you could consider converting this tight crawl space into a full master bedroom, in-law suite, children’s bedroom, or home office with your second-floor addition. Many Cape additions are building dormers built flush onto the roof face, not the house’s sides. Factor in whether you are moving staircases and bathrooms, as plumbing and new stair arrangements can be expensive, as can raising the roof and rafters. Capes tend to have low ceiling heights, and removing the roof to add the second story requires not just major work but can affect the curb appeal and spoil the character of your house if not tackled cleverly. Discussing these plans in detail with your contractor to see what works best for your layout and budget is essential. Apart from the fact that attempting any of these aspects can be a tricky proposition, you also need a professional to determine if your Cape home has the right design and frame to bear the weight of these structural changes.

#3 Get Familiar with Regulations

Check and recheck that all permits, local zoning laws, building codes, and area rules and regulations – especially historic commission guidelines, are being adhered to or procured. Raising the height becomes problematic with specific structures if it’s not following what your locality permits. Some require a minimum ceiling height to be considered a habitable living space. So be thorough that everything is in order before you give the go-ahead for any work to start.

Of course, adding a second story will also mean working on the existing floor to check that it’s strong and tweak whatever needs to be changed or added. Remember, framing an addition is quite an extensive task to get right.

Contact Us Today

While Cape homes are ideal candidates for alterations, changes, and expansions, the process requires a team with extensive knowledge and expertise in dealing with this architectural structure and its intricacies. That’s where we come in at Owings Brothers. From the consultation to the design and construction, we have the right skill set and design know-how to craft the perfect second-floor addition for your Cape home to turn it into one that goes beyond the ordinary in form, function, and aesthetics. Contact us today to see how we can renew and refresh your home with a Cape addition that retains charm and nostalgia for you and your family to enjoy for years.