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.
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.
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.