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Question of the Day: How Much is a Second-Floor Addition?

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If you have an older home, you may be cursed with a small amount of square footage. From the living room to the master bedroom, every space is filled with furniture and narrow walkways. But you can look up for a solution to a growing family or collectibles habit. Adding a second floor to your home is both advantageous and risky at the same time. You must invest considerable money into the design and buildout, but the final product nearly doubles your square footage in some cases.

Basic design and evaluation

Before any part of your home is disturbed, you must have a design plan created and approved by the proper authorities. Generally, you hire a structural engineer and architect. The engineer inspects the property to see if an addition is even possible. Weight on the existing home is considerable with any addition. Engineers cost $200 and up, depending on your region. The architect designs the addition once the engineer approves the structure. Architects charge $700 and into the thousands based on your design needs.

Do it yourself?

It’s impossible for one homeowner to add their own addition exclusively, but many projects are possible with sub-contractor help along the way. You could spend around $100 for each square foot with strategic DIY projects. For example, allow contractors to build out the second floor wall studs, but add the drywall yourself. It’s critical to have some construction experience if you attempt even some DIY work on the addition. If you aren’t sure about an installation process, find a good contractor instead.

Remodeling exterior pool house. Brock Builders Creative Commons.A home undergoing a major remodel. Photo by Atlas Green Homes .

Hiring a contractor

Bringing a trusted contractor into the project is the safest and most streamlined way to build a second floor. In general, your addition costs between $100 to $500 a square foot with contractors working the entire project. Your choice of design, materials, and even the weather influence these costs. Select a contractor with extensive experience in home additions. Unlike a basic paint job, adding significant weight to your home takes precision skills and consideration of architecture designs.

Those hidden costs

There’s always costs that arise as the project wears on. A wall redesign, for example, could be necessary to form a safe load-bearing section for the second floor. Different materials may need to be considered to reduce the addition’s weight after work begins. Be aware your property taxes will increase once the addition is finished since taxes are based primarily on square footage. The addition requires a reevaluation of the property.

Time factor

There is no way to factor in the cost of your time’s value. Second-floor additions are serious remodeling projects, often taking several months to complete. You may have to pay for a hotel or bunk with friends during certain portions of the project. Leaving work to oversee a particular project section may be necessary. It’s crucial to be flexible with these time factors during the project to ensure a safe addition for years of functional use.

Evaluate both your family’s needs and local selling features before embarking on a second floor addition project. You may simply need one bedroom with bath or an entire hallway of two or three rooms situated where your roof used to reside. Regardless of your addition’s size, work closely with a contractor to truly build a safe and functional space that lasts for generations.

Building a Room Addition by Atlas Green Homes

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You can hire the services of an architect to prepare the estimates. To begin with, keep the costs as much low as possible. This will help you in scaling up the scope of expansion subsequently. Opt for basic level accessories and building material. Choosing expensive commodities could result in cost overrun. If the estimate turns out to be more than the budgeted mark, then ask the architect to reduce the costs without actually hurting the basic requirements. Always keep out the expenditure incurred for the accessories out of the home addition budgets. If you are falling short of funds, the addition of accessories can be postponed to a later date.

Another important aspect of home addition building relates to compliance of rules. Check out the rules and regulations laid out by the authorities concerned in New York City before embarking on home addition. As per rule, the property owner has to pay a certain fee to the local municipal before starting work on the home addition. The owner or remodeling contractor is also required to obtain all requisite clearances before starting the construction work. Care has to be taken to ensure that the home addition work does not disturb the neighborhood.

Once you prepare the master plan for home addition, freeze the design to enter the second phase. Identify a suitable contractor or professional specializing in home additions. Evaluate their work by checking with their past projects and clients. If you find this a difficult task, utilize the services of the architect in evaluating the jobs. However, at times, the architects themselves, will refer suitable candidates for the job. Besides, there are some agencies, which take up the entire house addition project from the beginning to the end. However, at every step, the property owner will be consulted. The architect agency will charge a lump some amount to execute the entire work. If yo are a professional engaged in a twelve hour job, it is suggested that you hand over the work of home addition to a professional firm. It will reduce your burden on various matters relating to preparing the estimates and purchasing the necessary materials.

When it comes to addition to the kitchen, keep a tight control on the budget. Since the kitchen accessories are costly, there are chances that you might over stretch the budgetary allocation. Be wise while spending on home addition.

Looking forward to add a deck to your property by Atlas Green Homes.

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When it comes to buying or selling a property, the construction, design and amenities are some important points to be considered. A house that is beautiful, functional and practical is always considered to be valuable. You can also make some valuable additions in an affordable manner. For instance, adding a deck or patio in your property can prove to be an effective way of increasing its value.

Some benefits of adding a deck

Adding decks in Hartford County, MD,  in outdoor living space is a good idea. Doing this, you can easily arrange entertainment activities like a get-together for a party or event. A deck can also be the perfect place to quietly relax after a long, hectic day at work. You also get to enjoy the pleasant weather condition while sitting on your deck. Investing in a deck would be a good option, especially if you are planning to reside in your home for a long time.   

When It Pays to Do It Yourself -

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Doing home improvement jobs yourself can be a smart way to save money, but choose the right DIY projects or you’ll end up paying dearly.

More than 100,000 people injure themselves each year doing home improvement jobs. So add medical bills to your DYI budget, and you ending up spending the same, or more, than if you hired a pro.

We’re not suggesting that you call a plumber each time you need to plunge a toilet. But think twice about what DYI might really cost you. Here’s how to decide.

Stick to routine maintenance for savings and safety

Seasonal home maintenance is ideal work for the weekend warrior because you can tackle these jobs when your schedule permits. Because these are routine maintenance projects, your savings will add up. Mowing your own lawn, for example, saves $55 to $65 a week for a half-acre lawn. The bigger the lot, the bigger the savings: with two acres, you’ll pocket around $150 per week.

When it pays:

  • Snow removal
  • Pruning shrubs
  • Painting fences
  • Fertilizing lawns

When it costs: Unless you have skill and experience on your side, stay off any ladder taller than six feet; according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, emergency rooms are filled with people with ladder injuries. The same goes for operating power saws or attempting any major electrical work—it’s simply too risky if you don’t have the experience.

Become your own general contractor

If you’re more comfortable operating an iPhone than a circular saw, you could act as your own general contractor on some home improvement projects. That means you hire, schedule, and pay the carpenters, plumbers, and other tradesmen yourself. You’ll save 10% to 20% of the job cost, which is the contractor’s typical fee.

When it pays: If it’s a small job that requires only two or three subcontractors, and you have good relationships with top-quality professionals in those fields, consider DIY contracting.

When it costs: When you don’t have an established network of reliable workers, time to supervise, construction experience to spot problems, and the skill to negotiate disputes between subcontractors, your project and budget are at risk.

Invest sweat equity on big jobs

Contribute your own labor to big jobs being handled by a professional crew and cut hundreds, even thousands, off construction costs. For instance, tear out kitchen cabinets and appliances before the contractor gets started, and you might knock $800 off the cost of your remodel. Make sure you negotiate cost savings with your contractor before pitching in.

When it pays: Jobs that are labor-intensive but require relatively little skill make perfect sweat equity jobs. Perform minor interior demolition, such as pulling up old flooring, daily job site cleanup, product assembly, and simple landscaping.

When it costs: If you get in the crew’s way, you may slow them down far more than you help. Make your contributions when the workers aren’t around; mornings before they arrive, or nights and weekends after they’ve left.

Add finishing touches

Unlike the early phases of a construction job–which require skilled labor to frame walls, install plumbing pipes, and run wires–many finishing touches are comparatively simple and DIY-friendly. If you paint a basement remodel yourself, for instance, you can save up to $1,800.

When it pays: If you have skill, patience, or an experienced friend to teach you, setting tile, laying flooring, painting walls, and installing trim are good DIY jobs.

When it costs: The downside to attempting your own finish work is that the results are very visible. Hammer dents in woodwork, or sander ruts in hardwood floors will annoy you every time you see them. So unless you have a sure eye and a steady hand, don’t perform the tasks that only a skilled tradesperson will get right.

By: Oliver Marks

Published: March 8, 2011