Second Story Additions: Are They Practical?

In today’s home, square footage is at a higher premium than ever. Families are busy, houses are expensive, and space is more and more limited in popular urban areas. That means a lot of people are considering second-story additions to their homes. It’s a huge project, and the very thought might make your head spin, but a second story addition can truly change the way you live at home. It can also set your home apart in terms of market appeal and value.

But despite these great benefits, second story additions are still a daunting prospect. It might sound nice in theory, but what about reality? Are second story additions really practical for most homeowners today?

Functional Appeal

Young families in particular are drawn to the idea of two stories. Why? The extra space gives more options for housing more people. Some families prefer having the master bed downstairs while the kids sleep upstairs. Others prefer to sleep on the same floor and use the downstairs solely for living and entertaining. A whole lot of options are opened up when a second story is brought into the picture.

Structural Appeal and Cost

A second story addition naturally requires a sizeable investment. For many families, this means going to the bank for financing. But it is possible to save money on your second story addition. If the foundation of your home is solid, and if you are planning to use the existing roof, your addition will come in at a lower overall price point. If you research costs online, you’ll find that anywhere between $150 and $300 per square foot is a reasonable expectation for second story additions. Getting at least three bids from qualified contractors is a good way to get valuable information on your project and focus in on the best way forward.

How Long Will the Addition Take?

New insulation, siding, flooring, roofing, etc.—all of these details take a good amount of time to sort out. In terms of national average, two months is a typical time frame for second story additions. This depends heavily on the season, climate, size of the addition, and skill/integrity of the home remodeling contractor in question.

Are there any potential drawbacks?

Second story additions are very successful in may cases, and homeowners are often thrilled with the transformation. But it’s not the right solution for every home. For example, certain building codes and regulations may stand in the way. Also, you may not wish to add a second story if doing so will make your home look “out of place” in your neighborhood (effectively decreasing the curb appeal). There’s always a risk of running over budget and behind schedule, depending on the contractor you hire. You’ll also likely have to live off-site during the reconstruction process.

Ready to take the next step?

Consulting a skilled and reputable home renovation specialist before you make any final decisions is an important step as you mull over the prospect of a second story addition. The best contractors will give you solid advice and keep your interests at heart, knowing what an important asset your home is to you and your family. Specific tests and assessments can help determine whether your home is a good candidate for a second story additions, and collecting two or three bids and give you a solid idea of what you can (and should) expect to pay. Getting answers to all of your questions is a high priority with a project of this magnitude — so make sure to partner with a contractor who consistently earns high marks in customer service.