8 Important Questions to Ask When Considering a Second Story Addition

by Editor on January 23, 2014

8 Important Questions to Ask When Considering a Second Story AdditionIt’s easy to purchase a seemingly spacious home and then realize several years later that it’s inadequate. Furniture, children, pets and hobbies will do that. There are a few solutions: move, purge or add on. If you choose the latter, a second story addition can be an economical option. Consider the following.

  1. What is your budget?

Your budget should be your first consideration to avoid becoming house rich and cash poor. Basically, your budget will determine what type of and how much additional space you can afford.

2.  Can you do any of the work yourself?

Sweat equity is a wonderful thing. If you’re skilled in construction, you can save thousands of dollars, basically gaining extra space for only the cost of materials. Most of us aren’t that handy, but perhaps you can learn some new skills and do most of the interior finish work. Family and friends may have skills they can teach you, and a painting party is always fun.

3.  How much room do you need?

If you’re only looking for an office, or perhaps a bigger kitchen, it may be preferable to simply add a room or bump out an existing room. If you need several bedrooms and a bath, one solution is to add a second story. It could be more economical than having to do foundation work.

4.  Do you want to stay in your neighborhood?

It’s hard to put a price on a good, solid neighborhood. If moving would mean your children leave a prime school situation, you have great neighbors, and you love the location, then a second story addition that doubles your square footage may be your best option.

5.  Do you have a design in mind?

A second story addition has the potential to look awkward unless you have a great design. Listen to your builder’s suggestions, drive around and look at other people’s additions, check online for ideas, or consult an architect. You want to end up with an addition that looks like it’s always been there.

6.  Do you need a new roof?

If you don’t need a new roof, the potential is there to raise the roof using a crane and then replace it when the walls are built. It sounds extreme, but it could be less costly than building a new roof.

7.  Have you researched your city’s building codes?

It’s a good idea to check out any building codes or height restrictions for your area. If you live in a particularly scenic area, there may be a height restriction. You will need to obtain a building permit prior to construction. Your local government office can advise you and give you the proper forms.

8.  Should You or Shouldn’t You?

Adding a second story addition is often an effective way to gain valuable space without sacrificing the budget. Home improvement projects, especially if you are adding a bedroom or bathroom, or enlarging and updating a kitchen, bring a good return on investment. An addition can be less expensive than moving which incurs many additional expenses besides the cost of the house. Research thoroughly, online and by talking to folks, and then move forward with confidence. Here’s a helpful resource: http://www.buildingscience.com/documents/guides-and-manuals/gm-read-this-before-you-design-build-renovate

Have you added a second story addition? Can you share insights or things that you would or wouldn’t do again? We welcome your comments in the section below.

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