If you live in a style home or other single-story structure, you might consider adding living space by building a second story on your home. There are several benefits of adding a second story to a home, but there are also some possible barriers you will need to overcome.
If you are prepared to consider building a second story addition instead of building outward (by adding a room or two), there are several things you will need to check out before your planning goes too far:
- Will local zoning ordinances and building code requirements allow you to add a second story?
- Will, your neighborhood homeowners association allow you to add a second story? (Some neighborhood associations do, and others do not).
- Can the footings, exterior walls, and interior supports handle the extra weight?
- Is the foundation adequate?
- What are the restrictions on the design of the addition and the materials you will be able to use?
- Can you find an architect or a designer who can make the second story look like it was originally part of the house and like it fits the neighborhood?
- How and where can you build stairs to access the new second floor in a way that looks natural on the first floor?
- What permits and inspections will be necessary?
- Will you need new water and sewer lines or electrical circuits to handle the extra load?
While considering a second-story addition to your house, you should calculate the cost of the decision. It will probably be more expensive to add a second story than it would be to add a room or two.
Set-back requirements in your locality might make it necessary to add a second floor because you might not have a big enough lot to add to the ground floor. In designing your second-story addition, you might also want to consider only adding a second story over part of your existing house. In many cases, this will result in an attractive home at a lower cost than a full second story.