Saturday, September 8, 2012

Things To Consider When Building A Second Floor Addition

Building a second floor addition onto a single story home has become a very popular option for home owners looking for additional living space without the hassle of uprooting their family. However, you should keep in mind that building any home addition is a major enterprise and that building a second story is not a simple undertaking. Here are a few things to consider.

Verify the local zoning laws of your neighborhood. Some zoning laws restrict the construction of second floor addition because it will impact the aesthetics of the neighborhood or create other issues to adjacent properties.

Local building codes should also be examined to ensure that a second floor addition onto an existing single story home is allowed. One thing to consider is the home's existing foundation. In order to determine if the foundation can support a second floor, you will need to enlist the help of a building inspector, foundation contractor or an architect who will examine the existing foundation. Adding a second story onto a ranch style home will create significantly more load on the concrete footing and the foundation walls. The footings and foundation walls are typically built wider and stronger for two story homes which means that you will most likely need to reinforce your existing foundation.

Before removing the roof of your home, you will need to plan for potential obstacles that will need to be addressed. For example:

- What is the size of the ceiling joists? Can they support a second floor?
- Are there mechanical elements such as plumbing, electrical and HVAC running on the top of existing ceiling joists?
- Are there any utilities attached to the existing roof and how much overhang does it have?
- Is the roof sheeting made of plywood or 1x boards?
- How many layers of shingles are on the existing roof?
- Are there any stacks or flues protruding through the roof such as vent pipes, fireplace chimney or furnace flue?

The mechanical infrastructure of your home will also need to be carefully examined. Elements such as the heating, plumbing and electrical will need to be upgraded and modified to support the second story addition. Typically, a larger furnace and electrical panel will need to be installed.

There may be some repair costs associated with your second story addition. Although your contractor will make every effort to ensure that the integrity of the main floor is maintained, inherently there are risks of damage to the first floor's walls and ceilings. This type of damage frequently occurs while the roof is being removed and while the second floor addition is being constructed.

The cost of building a second story addition onto a single story home is relatively expensive on a cost per square foot basis. Typically, there is a 30 to 50% premium for adding a second story over the standard construction costs per square foot. However, the alternative of selling your home and buying a new one is, in most case, a more expensive alternative. Keep in mind that you may be able to tap into your home equity or take out a home renovation loans to cover the costs of your second story addition, making your dream of a larger home a reality.

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