A second-story home addition can be one of the greatest ways to add space to the home you love, especially when your yard or permitting won’t allow for outward expansion. But a second-story addition comes with its own set of challenges. It’s creating an entirely new layout while building on top of your existing home structure.
As a design-build contractor, our Action Builders team wants you to feel prepared when choosing to undergo the addition process, especially when it comes to the complexities surrounding a second story.
Here are some questions to help you familiarize yourself with the process as well as select the right contractor for your project.
What will my second floor addition cost, and what goes into your cost estimation for the project?
A two-story addition requires many steps, new structures, and various teams working on its construction. Make sure you know exactly what is going into your design-build company’s bid for your project. Their bid should include labor and materials, but it could also include the engineering, design, permitting, and a plethora of other items. Have a detailed understanding of exactly what you would be paying for so you can budget for the uncovered costs.
What will it take for my current home to support a second floor?
Just because your home has the ability to support an attic and roof does not mean the existing structure can support the weight of a second-story addition. A second floor will house furniture, people, new air ducts, appliances, and more, making your second level weigh a great deal more than your current attic structure.
Your home may need additional support in the form of structural beams or even a more fortified foundation.
What factors of my first floor will need to be modified to accommodate my new second story?
As we mentioned, the tresses and structural beams may need to be fortified or even replaced. Your first floor will need to accommodate a staircase, and the units of your home such as the heater, HVAC, plumbing, etc., will need to be upgraded to function for the entire new home structure. Make sure you understand your contractor’s plan to accomplish these tasks.
Will I have to have a full roof replacement in addition to my second-story addition?
A new floor is a costly venture. It will also require removing the attic and roof of your existing home to accommodate the new addition. You might be wondering if your roofline will change or if the structure is salvageable. The answer depends on the type of second-story addition you complete.
Roofs are costly in their own right, but it is possible to follow a remove and replace option for your addition. This option will sever the existing roof from your home and replace it when your addition has been built.
How will you tie my new addition into my existing home structure and style?
When you commit to the cost and effort of an addition, you don’t want the end result of an addition that looks like an addition. An experienced and detail-oriented home additions contractor can integrate your second story into your home without it looking like an afterthought. With the right design, your second story will make sense from both the exterior and interior of your home.
A contractor should have experience making this concept a reality and a detailed plan to facilitate a well-constructed addition. The great part of hiring a design-build contractor as opposed to an architect is that the design team and construction team work in tandem to bring about the most seamless result.
Can I remain in my home during the renovation? How long will the addition take?
If this is your goal, you’ll need to speak with your contractor. Second-story additions require more than a main floor room addition. They don’t occur away from your living space, so unless you are opting for a partial second story, it’s best to move out for a time.
Certain types of second-story additions may take less “on-site” time than others so you won’t have to live away from home for as long, but we don’t recommend living in your home for the entire construction phase of a second-story addition.
Ask your contractor for their best time estimate on your project, as the expense of a temporary living situation should be factored into your budget.
What kinds of permits and paperwork will be required for my project, and who will be responsible for obtaining the necessary documentation?
Your addition will require new engineering and a great deal of restructuring to your home and potentially even your property. The work will absolutely require permits to complete. You’ll want to know exactly what legal documentation is required for your project so you don’t run into any issues or have your project come to a halt during the construction phase. Find out what documentation your contractor will be responsible for and what you will need to do as a homeowner.
Do you carry workers’ compensation and liability insurances?
Accidents can happen during any home construction project, but second-story additions can have an even greater potential for safety issues. Make sure any contractor you hire is covered by liability and workers comp insurance, or you may end up responsible should an accident occur on your property.
Are there any changes I should consider for my main floor while undergoing a second-story addition?
Opening up portions of your home to create your second floor can sometimes be the perfect time to tackle projects on your main floor, rather than having to open walls or roofing or having access to your foundation at a later time. Projects like adding insulation to your walls or redoing electrical or plumbing can end up being easier and potentially costing less when coupled with your second-story addition. Ask your contractor for any recommendations they may have for fortifying and enhancing your entire home.
The Right Contractor Makes All the Difference in a Seamless Second Story
Get specific when asking potential design-build contractors project-related questions. Take your time finding the right contractor who will help you achieve the perfect second story. You deserve to know that your home is properly cared for and to be happy with the end result.
Action Builders specializes in large scale, multi-room renovations and additions, such as second-story additions. We service the Pittsburgh area from the beautiful historic homes of McCandless to the picturesque new builds of Peters Township. We understand how to build from the home you love to bring about a space you can enjoy even more.
For a better idea of how our team can create the perfect second story through a seamless construction process, learn more about our design-build services, Or, schedule an on-site consultation so we can walk through your project together and answer all your questions.