What You Need to Know Prior to Adding a Second Story

Posted on: June 17, 2020

The first home you purchase may not necessarily be super impressive. As time passes, you’ll likely get the urge to remodel it, and you can do so by adding a second story.

Adding that second story to your home is a major undertaking. You cannot decide on a whim. You need to consider several factors before you decide on whether to move forward with that project. The aim of our San Diego home addition contractors here is to make that decision easier.

This article will highlight the benefits of adding a second story, the feasibility of such a move, as well as other important considerations such as the cost and the available remodeling options.

Please go ahead and read on so that you can find out if building a second story is a move you should seriously consider.

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After an intense process of finding the right Design Build company we choose Eco Minded Solutions for a large home remodel project for our Carlsbad home. From the initial consultation to the completion of the project, everything ran smoothly. The crew was always on time and often worked longer than expected to keep the project on track. Loving our newly remodeled home and would highly recommend Eco Minded!

The Benefits of Adding a Second Story to Your Home

Building a second story costs a significant amount of money. We’ll get into the estimates a bit later in this article but know that you will need to set aside a lot of money for the project.

Knowing that, you should think carefully about whether the final product will be worth the investment you’re making. To figure that out, you need to understand the benefits of home remodeling and the specific benefits of introducing that second story.

second story addition

You Get More Space

The number one reason you should think about adding that second story is because you’ll get more space.

You may have bought a one-story home years back because it was more than big enough to accommodate you and your spouse, but does it still fit you now that kids have entered the equation?

If you have two bedrooms in your one-story home, then finding space should be easy if you only have one child. Things get trickier if you have two or more growing kids who will soon want rooms of their own.

You may also want to have your older parents move in with you to keep a closer watch over them. Doing that would be easier if your home has a second floor.

There’s No Need to Sacrifice Your Yard

Many homeowners take great pride in their beautiful backyards. Some are willing to go all out when beautifying their yard, and they will not hesitate to hire professional landscapers to create something truly spectacular.

Unfortunately, some homeowners may need to make a difficult decision. They may need to choose between either giving up their well-maintained yard or squeezing into a living space that’s no longer big enough to accommodate their growing family.

Talk about a difficult decision, right?

The beauty of adding a second story to your home is that you can obtain that space you need without giving up your yard. It’s the option that keeps everyone comfortable and happy.

You Can Redesign the First Story of Your Home

It’s frustrating when you see something about your home you don’t like only after it was already built. You want to address that annoying feature but doing so can be costly and inconvenient.

Should you decide to have a second story added to your home, you will have a chance to rectify that mistake. Whether it’s a light fixture you don’t like or a ceiling that’s too low, you can opt to have that addressed when you have the second story built.

You can kill two birds with one stone by moving forward with your second story plans.

The Value of Your Home Increases

When you’re first contemplating the idea of building a second story, the only thing that may stay on your mind is the cost of the actual project.

We don’t blame you. You will need to fork over a lot of money to make this happen, and that can be an intimidating proposition.

It could be more than worth it once the project is completed, though.

According to The Nest, it’s difficult to guarantee that you will get a 100 percent return on the money you spend on your home’s second story, but you could wind up increasing the value of your property significantly.

The previously linked to site notes that you could recoup around 50 percent of the amount you spent if you added a sunroom, around 53 percent if you build a new bathroom, and up to 63 percent if you splurge on a master suite.

Don’t gloss over the possibility that your home will also become more appealing with that second story. If your home is located somewhere with a bunch of other sellers, you could attract more buyers faster if you have a bigger structure built on your property.

Is Adding a Second Story an Option for You?

The benefits of having a second story added to your home are undeniably tempting, but before you decide to spend, it’s worth asking if this project is even possible for you.

Zoning Laws in Your Area

First off, you need to check if a second story is in line with the zoning laws in your neighborhood. In some areas, there are limits placed on how tall your home can be.

You don’t want to start the project only to find out later that you’re running afoul of some zoning laws. Instead of building your dream home, you may end up receiving a fine for your troubles.

Consult with the local government to make sure they will clear your project.

Cost and Structural Considerations

We can’t talk about the cost of having that second story added without considering the structure of your home.

You need to remember that the foundation and frame of your home will now need to support two floors. You will need to have it reinforced.

Houzz also reminds you to consider your heating system and wiring before you proceed with this remodeling project. They will need to rewire them so that they can continue to work for your second floor.

What about accessing your second floor? You will need a staircase, and that means remodeling your lower floor at least a little bit.

As you can see, you need to consider several factors when you try to figure out how much this project will cost. Even if you plan to build a second story, you should know that they will remodel your entire home to accommodate that addition.

two story home

How Much Will It Cost to Add a Second Story?

We’ve been referencing it throughout this article, but now it’s time to finally put a number on how much this kind of project will cost.

Home Advisor offers an estimate of how much that second level may cost. According to the site, a second story addition can cost somewhere between $100 to $300 per square foot.

$100 per square foot is the lowest estimate you’ll get and that will work out to be around $70,000 if you want a second story that measures 700 square feet. That is still not considering the changes you need to apply to the lower floor of your home.

All in all, you may still spend somewhere close to $140,000 to safely add that second story.

You should note that the $100 per square foot estimate assumes that you’re okay with not using the best materials.

If you want premium materials used to create the second story of your home, you may need to pay $500 per square foot. The cost in that scenario will go up to $350,000. Once again, you must also consider the added cost from reinforcing your home so that $350,000 figure may not be the final amount you’ll pay.

An expense that a lot of people overlook when they have their homes renovated is the cost of temporarily moving. Moving is not always necessary to accommodate the building of the second story, but you may need it in many cases.

Ask your general contractor how long the project may take and make sure that you have a place to stay during that time. Don’t forget to add the cost of staying in your temporary home to your final list of expenses.

We understand that the cost of getting that second story added to your home is not exactly pocket change. You may be hesitant to move forward with the move because of that.

Remember that you are getting a ton of space, making everyone in your home more comfortable, and upping the value of your property by adding that second story. The cost is steep, but you can argue that the benefits are more than worth it.

What Are Your Options if You Want a Second Story Added?

According to Better Home & Gardens, you have at least four options to choose from when it comes to adding a second story.

Your first option is to have the addition built off-site first. This option is quite appealing if you want the limited amount of time you spend out of your home, and if you want the project completed faster. You could also end up saving more money if you go down this route.

Next up, you can opt to expand an upper level into a full-fledged story. Homeowners may save money by doing this, but not all of them may be eligible because they lack the existing level.

Another choice involves removing your original roof first. They will build the addition, and once they finish, the roof can be put back in place.

Lastly, the general contractor may suggest removing your original roof, building the addition, and then installing a new roof over it.

In many cases, you can’t choose from all four options detailed above. The layout of your home may force you to go with one option over the others.

It’s best to ask your contractor what the best option is for your property and move forward from there.

What Are Other Steps You Need to Take Before Starting Work on the Second Story Addition?

Earlier in this article, we already noted the importance of securing a place for you to stay in while the construction is ongoing and factoring that expense into your calculations. So, how long should you plan to stay in that temporary home?

Some projects of this nature can take over a year if they are elaborate. However, that usually includes the amount of time you’ll need to spend discussing plans with an architect and hiring the people for the job.

According to this article from Quicken Loans, the actual construction of the second story may take at least five months, but you should prepare to be out of your home longer than that.

The long construction time is another reason you may request the workers to build the second story off-site first so that you can reduce the amount of time you spend away from home.

Depending on how big the temporary home you’re moving to is, you may also want to book a storage locker. Leaving your belongings at home as the construction takes place is typically not an option.

How Can You Find a General Contractor for Your Construction Project?

The emergence of the online world makes it easier to find a general contractor to take on this project. You can go online and find general contractors who work in your area. Get in touch with them, set up a meeting, and ask questions that will help you determine if they are right for the job.

While you’re looking up contractors, make sure that they are also properly licensed before moving forward to the interview process. You may also want to check on reviews provided by their previous customers for further reference.

Take the time to discuss every little detail related to your project and communicate what you would like to your contractor. If the contractor you’re talking to has the necessary credentials, is backed by positive reviews, and can handle your project, then you can conclude your search.

San Diego residents looking for a general contractor who can work on their second story project can go to Eco Minded Solutions for assistance. Reach out to them today so that you can get the ball rolling on your project.

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