Category: Additions

Movin' on Up: What to Consider With a Second-Story Addition

Movin' on Up: What to Consider With a Second-Story Addition

Adding space to your home in the second or maybe third story can capture views, optimize square footage onto a little lot and allow you to find all of the bedrooms onto a single degree. All that distance can come at a high cost. Another story can greatly affect the rest of your home, which frequently implies structural reinforcement on different levels.

Is constructing up, digging down or incorporating on the perfect approach to make the most of your home’s potential? Here’s what to think about before adding a different story to your dwelling.


Whole-house impact. The layout and function of a second-story inclusion is going to have a ripple effect on the remainder of your home — everything from finishes to mechanical work to structural work. A good design will create the second story seem as it was always supposed, so take the essential time to be certain that the inclusion does a favor to your curb appeal and your home’s functionality.

Before Photo

Ventana Construction LLC

Structural demands. Another story with occupied rooms will weigh much more than your previous roof system, so engineers will need to calculate how much weight that the main-floor walls and base will carry and the way to maintain that weight up. Second tales require structural assistance that includes adding steel and plywood links in main-level walls and down into the base to meet code requirements. This is particularly important in regions with seismic risk and with older homes.

M. Designs Architects

Stairs. A new staircase usually means taking a bite out of your present main-floor rooms, which can affect the usage of those rooms and the traffic flow. Occasionally it’s a no-brainer, such as over present ones. But there is a little creative thinking necessary. Working with a good architect to thoroughly examine all the alternatives for stair location will yield the best outcomes.

Morrison Heating & Cooling

Mechanical. Your furnace, water heater and electric panel all operate based on your home’s square footage and the number of fixtures you’ve got. When you increase the dimensions of your home, you have to revisit each one these systems.

Electrical panels are typically upgraded to 200 amps, and HVAC systems can be replaced, added on to or possess new zones included, depending on if they are forced-air or radiant systems. Hot water can be delivered in a number of ways — by tankless heaters with recirculating pumps to tank systems and separate on-demand systems only to get a master bathroom. You could think about adding an energy-efficient method also, such as ductless heat pumps, geothermal heat pumps and solar-assisted warm water or photovoltaic panels.

Madson Design

Chimneys. When you add a story to your home and have a masonry chimney, then you need to eliminate the chimney or build it up (with brick or a metal flue) to above the roof level. This can be a very simple choice, especially if you never use your fireplace or need to convert to a natural gas fireplace.

In addition, it is possible to save a wood-burning fireplace and eliminate a separate mechanical chimney by replacing old equipment with fresh energy-efficient units that can vent horizontally (rather than vertically). The distance that a mechanical chimney took up can also become a handy pursuit for ductwork, plumbing or electric to operate to the second floor.

Meyer Design

Windows, doors and siding. The vital elements of the building envelope become big question marks with second-story improvements: Should you match them? Start over? Do half and half an hour? If structural work in the main degree requires removing half of the siding, you might wonder whether the whole house should have new siding. If main-floor windows and doors are tired, rotting, don’t meet energy or are simply out of fashion, should they all be replaced?

Creating these choices early in the process is key. Going back to purchase windows for half of a house once the job has started is guaranteed to cause flaws.


Insulation. When engineering requires old siding and sheathing to be eliminated from your home’s exterior, it also presents the chance to install new insulation. Homes built from the 1950s or earlier tend to not have insulation in their walls (besides the occasional newspaper). Installing fiberglass batts or even rigid insulating material from the studs is a great way to improve the energy efficiency of your whole home.

Gelotte Hommas Architecture

Finishes. Frequently the endings of your current home — door style, trim sizing, Sheetrock finish, flooring — can dictate the finishes on your addition. But adding a new story allows you to revisit every finish. If you’ve textured walls, for instance, you might decide to choose smooth walls in the whole house or only from the inclusion.

RA, Jeff Wilkinson

Roofing. Component of the demolition process for second-story improvements is removing the whole roofing system. A builder experienced with these types of remodels will possess protection systems to keep rain out, but it won’t be possible to live together.

A job of this size almost always requires vacating your home for the duration. However, you’ll get to move back into a home that’s doubled in size and is 100% ready.

When to dig down
When to add on
For those who need just a little more space

See related

Site Plan

Site Plan

A site plan is a drawing of the general project website as it’s going to be when the project is finished. The site plan identifies all of the site’s features, including topography, trees, solar orientation, water and drainage. The site plan also indicates where the home will be located and any driveways or walkways that will be constructed to access the house. Gardens, decks, patios, pergolas and pools are displayed on a site plan.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

In addition to revealing the house on its own website, a site plan employed for construction shows adjustments to the present site’s attributes. Some sculpting that is topography will be indicated.

Designs Northwest Architects, Dan Nelson

Site plans may be utilized as illustrations to convey how many buildings on a website will serve and relate to one another.

THOMAS KYLE: Landscape Designer

A landscape plan is a type of website plan that focuses on the exterior plantings in addition to pools, patios and other architectural features. A landscaping plan identifies the types of trees, bushes, flowers, blossoms, paving materials and other attributes that include the layout.

Alex Jewett: Godden Sudik Architects

Website plans remind us that the layout of a home does not stop in the outside walls. The way the interior rooms link to the exterior “rooms” is as important as anything that goes on inside.

See related