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How Does a Second-Story Home Remodel Work?

Home remodeling is a natural part of any homeowner’s experience and consists of everything from repainting a wall to a complete overhaul of the foundation. An increasingly popular remodel is adding a second story to an existing home. This is a great way to add extra space and accommodate a growing family while increasing your home’s property value. You can also rent out parts of your second story to make a bit of profit. How do you go about adding a second story?

  • Before you go through with any second story additions, decide how you’ll primarily use that new second floor. If you’re only planning on storage and light use, you can plan for a faster and less expensive build than if you wanted to create an upstairs apartment.
  • You’ll want to consult with remodeling constructors to get an estimate of the costs per square foot, including the price of a full bath. Add a 20 percent cushion to the total to plan for emergencies.
  • Determine if it’s legally possible for you to add a second story. You’ll need to visit your local build permits office or community zoning office. Note any regulations regarding second stories (usually height restrictions). You will need to indicate your primary usage at this time in order to obtain any city permits. It’s a good idea to consult with professional general contractors if you’re unsure of the permits you might need.
  • You’ll need to consult a contractor, architect, or building inspector to analyze your home’s existing foundation. Your home’s outer walls must have enough strength to support the added weight of a second story. Professionals can also check for any faults in the concrete or rotten wood. They will also check if the earth your home rests upon can handle the added weight.
  • If the walls and foundation aren’t up to snuff, you’ll have to reinforce them with additional studs. While you can potentially do this on your own, it’s a good idea to seek professional help from a contractor. When you’ve finished, you’ll need to call a building inspector to make sure the reinforcements are up to code.
  • Draft up architectural plans. These should show how the existing plumbing will connect with an upstairs bathroom, how the electrical panel will support that extra load, and how to dampen sounds between floors. Determine where the staircase will be located and make plans for the cooling and heating system as well.
  • From here, it’s a matter of removing your roof, laying down your second floor, and erecting your walls.

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