Second Story Home Additions

Published: 30th May 2012
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For homeowners looking to add to the square footage of their homes and take advantage of extra space, the two addition ways are a first floor room addition, or building out, and a second story addition, or building up. Building out is often less time consuming and more easily permitted by city building codes, but building up onto a second story is often more attractive because the layout of the house will remain the same and there is the aptitude to fully double the square footage of the home without taking up any additional land space or eating into the back yard. Second story additions also allow you to take advantage of views around your house, which future buyers will like, especially when other homes are single story, making the addition a potential return on your investment. Talk with a professional remodeling and addition contractor about which option is right for you and consider every condition of your plan before you begin.

The first step to planning a second story addition is making sure your home can support the additional space and weight and local residential zoning codes allow such weighty additions. A professional, licensed contractor can work with you and talk with city officials on your behalf to procure the permits that are essential for the work to be started. The second step is consulting an engineer to inspect the foundation and structure of the house to ensure it will be able to support the additional weight and what reinforcements are necessary if it can't. This is one of the most central steps because it determines the feasibility of your second story addition and could make the project too expensive or time consuming. Your third and fourth consultations will be with a plumber and electrician as you will undoubtedly need electricity in your second story addition, and if there will be more than one room a bathroom can make your addition more convenient and practical, not to mention more valuable for future buyers. Once you have these expert opinions the real planning can begin.

Building up can often be about the same cost as building out or even less expensive, depending on the level of foundation work or structural reinforcement that is needed. Building up has the valuable benefit of keeping your outdoor space intact, which means you will be increasing your home's square footage without taking away the backyard area, which is a true home addition. Plus, you'll have more freedom of design with a second story addition, giving you the potential for more rooms and space and the opportunity to alter the style of your home if the addition will be visible from the street.

The one downside to a second story addition is that because the roof of the home will be removed and then replaced, the home will need to be vacant during a portion of the construction. If possible, schedule your addition for the summer when school is out, you can take a vacation, and the weather is more effectual for an open addition like that. The warm and dry weather of the summer also keeps your new rooms from water damage, the risk of mold, and the project will be completed on time because there won't be any rain delays. Although all of the necessary preparation may feel overwhelming at times, remember that it's important for a proper addition, and the wait and effort will be worth it when you're enjoying the finished addition. The big perk of designing your own room addition is that the style and purpose will be perfectly suited for you and your family exactly as you wanted it to be from the beginning, which is nearly impossible to find in any previously constructed home.

Second story additions are most commonly planned by families needing more space for new babies or growing children, but they aren't the only households that prosper from the extra space. Homes that welcome adult children or live-in elderly parents use the new rooms as apartments, families with frequent visitors can be more hospitable to guests, and those with the need for storage and work space for hobbies and other activities find a second story to be the ideal solution. Whatever your needs for an addition are, you will have the benefit of a design that is completely yours and space that is created to suit your individual needs, no matter what they are. A second story addition will give you something purchasing a home cannot, and that is a greater sense of delight in the new space.

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