Things to Know Before Adding a Second Story


What to Know Before Adding a Second Story

There are many reasons why you might be considering adding a second story to your house. Perhaps you want to add a new playroom for your children. Perhaps you’re expecting children. Or maybe you simply want to increase the overall square footage and value of your household.

Whatever the reason is, you should have an idea of what you’ll be getting into before the project begins. Here, we’ll go over things to consider, as well as the pros and cons of adding a second story to a house.

Here’s What You Should Consider Before Adding a Second Story to Your Home

Exterior shot of a second story frame construction

Here’s a quick list of things to consider before adding a second story to your home:

  • Structural Integrity & Composition: By working with an experienced general contractor, you’ll have access to engineering expertise. The team will ensure that your home’s current structure is capable of carrying the potential weight of a new story by checking the house’s foundation. Among other things, this will prevent the new story module from collapsing.
  • Dimensions: You don’t want to buy a second story that crushes the first, so assessing dimensional demands is essential. Your contractors will have access to manufacturers who can make a second-story module that fits your house.
  • Design: One of the benefits of working with a design-build firm is gaining access to their in-house design professionals and outside subcontractors. These people will be responsible for ensuring the siding of the new module matches the original structure. If it doesn’t, then they’ll be ready to replace the siding of either the original or the new module as needed.
  • Bump-outs: Bump-outs like porches, patios, and garages also need to be carefully assessed and planned for before adding a second story.
  • Your Budget: Determining whether or not your budget for adding a second story is somewhat tricky since no one knows what the project will cost (initially, anyway). It all depends on location, size, architectural style, materials required, and a host of other variables. Your general contracting team will come up with different estimates during the early stages of planning, adjust plans accordingly, and ensure you don’t get in over your head.
  • Living Elsewhere: Since your house won’t have a roof over it during construction, you’ll need to make sure you have another place to stay for an extended period of time.
  • Permits & Building Codes: Our piece on building codes and permits might focus on Cambridge specifically, but the general considerations and insights are largely applicable to all of Massachusetts. The key thing to know is that you won’t have to worry about the complexities of ensuring everything is in accordance with local laws and regulations. That’s because your general contracting firm will handle all of this for you.

The Pros & Cons of Adding a New Story to Your House

Just like any other remodeling project, there are advantages and disadvantages to adding a second story. We think it’s important to address both the positives and the potential negatives.

The Pros of Adding a Second Story

  • You’ll Increase Your Living Space: Obviously, the biggest perk is that you’ll be able to increase your square footage, allowing for further home customization and additional features. Whether you want more bedrooms, bathrooms, or even closets, the additional space you’ll get from adding a second story is invaluable.
  • You Won’t Have to Sacrifice Yard Space: Building upwards instead of outwards means you won’t have to use up outdoor space, leaving it free to continue using as you like.
  • You’ll Increase Your Home’s Value: If you’re thinking of selling, then adding a second story beforehand is a great way to get a bigger return on your investment.

Framing of a second story on a house

Possible Cons of Adding a Second Story

  • It Will Be Expensive: Adding a second story isn’t cheap, and in most cases will cost you even more than your ground floor did. One reason for this is that elevated add-ons require more effort and resources to construct (for example, support beams).
  • It Could Take a Long Time: Adding a second story is a huge undertaking, which is why you should be prepared to secure an alternate living space until completion.
  • You May Not Get a Substantial ROI: While a second story addition almost always increases property value, be aware that there’s never a guarantee it will ultimately result in a higher return on investment if you’re planning on selling.

The construction of a second floor on a construction site

Ready to Add a Second Story to Your Home?

Adding a second floor to your house is, for the most part, a great opportunity to expand your indoor living space and increase the value (and attractiveness) of your home. And by working with a trusted general contracting firm, you’ll have a reliable guide to walk you through every step of this complex process.

If you’d like to learn more about adding a story to your home, contact us today.


High-End Refrigerator Guide

Curious About High-End Refrigerators? High-end refrigerators aren’t just an eye-catching addition to fine kitchens everywhere. While they’re certainly glamorous from […]

Read More

How Much Tile Do I Need?

How Much Tile Do I Need?: A Common, But Essential, Question If you’re planning on having floorwork done in the […]

Read More

Wallpaper Ideas: Find the Perfect Fit

5 Wallpaper Ideas to Help You Find the Right Fit There’s a lot of wallpaper trends – some of which […]

Read More
Take the next step
Contact Us