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How Difficult Is It to Add a Second Story?

Dec 7, 2022 | Articles

Increasingly cramped is a theme we frequently hear when discussing home interiors. Somehow, no matter how big your home is, there doesn’t seem to be enough space. What else can you do apart from moving to increase your living area? You can build out, which will afford you more interior space but at the cost of your valuable yard and outdoor space. Of course, you must have sufficient outdoor space, to begin with, for that option. The other option is to build up instead. So how difficult is it to add a second story? The answer is: it depends! Yes, adding a second story can solve space woes for many homeowners. The caveat is that it requires comprehensive planning and careful execution. We tell you what you need to know before you expand vertically, including features that can affect your project’s difficulty level.

See a before-and-after example in this second story addition by Owings Brothers below.

The Ins and Outs of Building a Second Story Addition

Second-story additions confer substantial benefits: doubling your home’s square footage and significantly increasing your property value. However, several factors could add unexpected difficulty to your project, and it is best to prepare for an undertaking of this magnitude.

  • Do your homework. What does a successful project look like to you? Developing a vision and setting expectations for your contractor will help equip them with everything they need to do the job. Practical preparation includes researching and listing your requirements, from the layout to the furnishings. Your planning process should begin with evaluating your existing structure, including your home’s “pain points”. From a foundation of planning, you can move seamlessly to designing your new addition with your Design/Build contractor. Approaching this project after thoroughly considering your existing space will help reveal the optimal design solution for you with your chosen contractor.
  • Know the rules and regulations. Your contractor should know building codes, zoning rules, and regulations. They should also have the correct permits and insurance. Their know-how is crucial to getting the job done well. For instance, if your home is in a heritage area, you might fall under additional unique rules. The rules differ as per your location. An experienced contractor will be able to assist with these critical details.
  • Choose your addition. You need to evaluate and decide if you want a full second story or partial addition, depending on how much extra space you need and what use you have for it. A partial addition is good when you need a smaller space, such as a master bed and bath.
  • Prepare to turn your home into a temporary construction zone. When you turn your home into a construction zone, there’s bound to be disruption, which you need to work around. Ensure that you have a great rapport with your contracting firm, which will spend significant time inside your home—keeping an open line of communication with them is vital. Try and sanction off some space that will allow you to stay on the premises if there’s no other option. A good contractor will set up a temporary kitchen if needed.

Contact Us Today

This article highlights some ways you can help make your second-story project a success. However, a good contractor will be there to facilitate the process. Your contractor will account for essential features like new windows, shingles, and siding. They will work with you to ensure your foundation is sound, your electricity, plumbing, air conditioning, and heating systems are reconfigured, and your floors flow properly.

You can make the most of your square footage and green space by building up, but you must be willing to put in the work it requires—and get the right team to be your partner. Contact us today to see how Owings Brothers can ensure that your investment pays off and that the time and effort are worth the wait when you see your vision come alive.