Adding Second Story To A House: Guide & Answers To Everything You Need To Know

If you’re running short of space at home and wish to make a wise financial investment, a second-story addition may be the best course of action. Read on to find out the advantages and disadvantages, average price, requirements, and other details associated with this project.

Benefits of Second Story Additions

Second-story additions are a great way to make your home more spacious. Building up allows you to extend or even double the usable space at home without new construction taking up any of your backyard area. 

Additional square footage

There are many reasons why homeowners decide to do a second story addition. For example, they may be planning to grow their family and need a larger space to accommodate it. Some like to give their teenage children separate bedrooms. Others want a space for their guests to stay or have aging parents planning to move in. 

dining room addition

Whatever the case may be, this type of home improvement project is worth considering if you feel your family’s needs have outgrown your current home structure. 

Greater Comfort & Functionality

Second story addition projects are versatile and flexible, offering a high degree of customization. You can create a recreational zone for yourself and friends, increase your storage space, enhance the accessibility of your house, or design another type of tailored solution that suits your specific needs. 

Music enthusiasts may decide to add a soundproof recording studio to their home. This gives them the perfect space for recording music, but more so, someone can bang away at the piano loudly in the middle of the night while the rest of the house sleeps in peace.  

Enhanced Resale Value

Adding another level to your home could also be profitable if you plan to sell the property somewhere down the line. Although you probably won’t get a 100% return on your investment (few home projects do), the chances are that new home buyers will be attracted to and willing to pay more for a well-maintained and freshly renovated home. 

How Do I Know If My House Can Support It?

second story being added to home

To make sure you can do the addition, you or your design-build firm will work with a structural engineer to get appropriate drawings and approvals with the city, HOA, and any other required governing body. You also need to get the required permits for the addition so that you can include the new square footage for your home and reap the value of that.

What’s The Best Place To Build An Addition?

One of the most common places to add a bonus area upstairs is over the garage. Garages tend to have good structural support above them and have plenty of space. However, the best exact spot for your addition will be determined by your design-build professionals after an on-site consultation and assessment of the current building’s structure.

It’s crucial to identify early on where the stairs will be located. You will want to find a place that won’t ruin common areas. It’s best to use long walls without windows or closets and storage areas for a place for the new stairs. 

How Much Do Second Story Additions Cost?

Additions have increased in price quite a bit over the last year because of the insane jump in the cost of the materials used, like lumber. However, combined with the red-hot housing market, a home extension can still be a valuable endeavor. Depending on what is desired in the addition, the cost can range from $75,000-$250,000. 

Also, if material prices continue to rise, be ready for the cost to trickle up mid-project just in case. In an effort to prevent this from happening, it’s strongly recommended to rent a pod to store all materials in and purchase everything upfront. Apart from the costs of materials, keep in mind the cost of labor for the contractor. Read more about contractor markup here.

Potential Difficulties Of A Second Story Addition

As with any type of remodeling, you can expect noise and some disruption to your everyday routine. This can be especially tricky if you work from home.

Depending on the extent of the project, you may need to find another temporary accommodation while the construction is underway. If you’re doing a partial second story addition, you will still be able to live at home with only some areas of the house being off-limits. During some stages, you may have to set up a temporary kitchen, get a washing station that can double as your bathroom sink, or rent a portable toilet. 

second story remodel in progress

Also, be prepared for a good amount of dust and debris once the construction is done. Although builders do their best to minimize the amount of dirt on the job site, the building is messy work, and the space will probably need thorough post-construction cleaning afterward.

Alternatives To Home Additions

If your household needs a bigger space, you have two options: either add onto the house or move. 

Moving comes with its set of costs, and you’ll have to be willing to put up with the difficulties of house hunting. The chances are your new property will need some fixing up too, which means that you’re in for a remodeling project anyway. If you're not much of DIYer or have the right tools, it might not be ideal. 

This is why many homeowners decide on an extension of their current home instead, especially if they’re emotionally attached to your home and neighborhood. If you’re not up for extensive renovations, a more modest bump-out or conversion could do. 

How Long Does It Take?

These are extensive projects that typically take several months to complete. The exact duration will vary based on the scope and complexity of the construction as well as the time it takes to obtain necessary permits and building materials. Your remodelers will determine the specific time frame for your specific project in the planning stage once they assess the extent of the work that needs to be done.

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Katie Kochelek

Katie Kochelek is the CEO and Owner of Ten Key Home & Kitchen Remodels, a leading design-build firm in Edmond and Oklahoma City. Before launching Ten Key Remodels, Katie served in an executive capacity in numerous organizations. Ten Key Remodels offers everything from stylish new bathrooms and kitchen remodels to high-quality garage renovations, sunroom, and second story additions. The team relies on a sophisticated construction management system that helps them manage all projects from conception to completion.