Sometimes one of the best ways to add square footage to your home is to “build up.” This can be a perfect solution for homes on smaller lots, or even for adding an apartment or studio to a one story garage. But before you tackle this home renovation project, there are a few things to consider.
Things to Consider Before Adding an Additional Floor to Your Home
First and foremost, it’s important to note that one of the costliest home additions is adding a second story, even on smaller homes or garages! Costs typically start at $65-$75,000 and increase from there, especially if you are doing a full story addition.
The cost is due to many factors, including the fact that second story additions are complex. It’s important that the bottom floor of the house can structurally support a second story. This might require additional shoring near the foundation, or structural elements added to your current story, all of which cost time and money.
Then, everything has to be run up to the second floor: HVAC, plumbing, electric. You may also be looking at additional living costs, since you may not be able to live in your home during some of the second story addition. Finally, second story additions can take a lot of time to get exactly right, which means more contractor hours.
It’s not to say that a steep price should deter you from your second story addition dreams. Sometimes it’s the right move, especially if you love your home and neighborhood, or your lot is too small to “build out.”
We mentioned this briefly above, but you may need to factor in time and money to stay somewhere else during part or all of your second story addition. It’s a highly disruptive project. You can’t really “close off” your home to the construction once the roof is off. You also don’t want to be subject to long periods of time without water, plumbing, heat or electricity while everything is being built and connected on the second floor. And remember, this can be one of the longer home renovation projects, so you might need to stay with friends or family for several months while work is completed.
Partial or Full?
If you do think that a second story addition is right for you (and believe us, we’re not trying to talk you out of it. It can be a very rewarding project on many levels!), you may need to decide if you’ll do a full addition that matches the square footage of your current level, or just a partial one.
Both options can be an effective addition of space, but sometimes you’ll get the right square footage you need (at a lower cost and fewer headaches) with a partial second story addition. The “design” part of a “design-build” team will be important in this decision. If you only add a partial second story addition, you’ll want to make sure it’s aesthetically pleasing and matches the rest of your home.
Partial second story additions can not only give you the square footage you’re seeking, they can add visual interest to your home. Plus, you might be able to cut some time and costs off of staying with friends or in a hotel. Partial build ups tend to be a little less disruptive than full build ups.
“When” you’ll build up is just about as important as “how.” If your addition will be extensive, you may want to plan around the weather in your region. The rainy season is going to be tough when you remove the roof, lay subfloor and frame in the new story. Since the renovation can be disruptive to your home life, you may also want to try to plan around big life events, kids school schedules or anything else that might be tough to navigate during a big renovation.
A great design-build team will be careful to make sure they do the best build possible with the least disruption possible to your day to day life. But there will be some unavoidable upheaval, so make sure your team knows about it so you can plan accordingly.
Codes and Permitting
Last, but certainly not least, we highly recommend using a professional firm to do an addition like this. Getting this project perfect is not only important to how you eventually enjoy your space, it is also imperative for the safety of your home and your family. Skipping, ignoring or forgetting anything with codes, permitting and inspections could quite literally be one of the most dangerous things you do in your lifetime.
You could also incur fines if you’re not permitted to build another floor on your home (or even over your garage) in your county, city or neighborhood. Always make sure to follow everything to the letter of the law when choosing a second story addition. A reputable design-build firm will make it their personal responsibility to handle this aspect of the project for you so there are no mistakes.
We do hope we haven’t scared you off adding an additional level to your home! Even though this type of addition is more complex than other types of additions, it can double your square footage, give you a restful new master suite, or even give the kids a space of their own. It can add a ton of value to your home, or simply help you stay in the neighborhood or school district you love. It is by no means an impossible project, just a project that requires care, experience and careful planning.
Second Story Additions in Columbus, Ohio
Dave Fox is an employee owned company who makes our clients our number one priority. We design and build second story addition projects for our clients in Central Ohio and deliver the best value through exceptional craftsmanship, excellent materials and ethical business practices. Contact us today to learn more!