Adding a second story to your existing house is one that requires a thorough and comprehensive planning. This is because there are many factors to be considered first, especially if you want to save more money and time. However, before going head-on with the details of adding a second story to your house, the real question is, can you add a 2nd story to an existing house? Is your current house ready for an extra added weight? Here are some tips to help you answer that question.
Know the Building Codes and Regulations in Your Area
Complying with the building codes and regulations in your area is the first thing to know when planning on an additional level to an existing house. In general, all of the building codes usually follow the standards set by the Building Code Act. Some areas have local building codes that provide restrictions on the height of houses in each neighborhood. Some deal with planning and building approval. There are even some communities that require a plumbing approval first before you are allowed to add another story to your house.
For example, in Ontario, Canada, they have their own building codes which enumerate the administrative and technical requirements before issuing an approval. It also sets the minimum standards for any building construction. You can check these laws and regulations with your local officials first before drawing up your plans, or you can search for it on the internet.
Know the Structural Design of Your Existing House
The first concern in knowing the structural design of your existing house is the capacity of its foundation. Can your foundation take all the weight which will be added once the construction is done? You have to take into consideration that some house foundations were designed for a single story only. Thus, it cannot support adding levels to its structure. Insisting to do such a thing will be hazardous to you and your family’s safety. On this issue, you can consult an engineer so as to assess and establish the structural feasibility of your existing house.
Another concern to contemplate on this issue is the stairway. You should expect that when adding a second story to your existing house, a stairway is necessary, and it will use space. Thus, the imperative questions that should be clearly answered are, “Can a stairway be added inside the house? Where is the best and ideal place for it to be built?” In this case, an expert opinion and suggestion of a registered builder or an architect are needed.
Know Your Budget
The first thing that you should grasp and understand on this part is when adding a second story to an existing house, you will be spending a big chunk from your savings. However, it is much cheaper than looking for or building a new house.
When budgeting for an additional level on your home, a checklist will be a big help. Your checklist must include the materials to be used, the cost of labor, plumbing, rewiring, and other related expenses that comes with remodeling a house. Remember that the cost will usually depend on the complexity of your project and the materials to be used. Hence, the simpler, the cheaper. Aside from that, another thing to include in your checklist is the cost per square meter that most builders ask. Bear in mind that when adding a second story to your existing house, the size of the added platform will greatly matter in your budget. Additionally, you must also include unexpected costs, which may be expensive at times. These usually happen when there are unexpected repairs such as roof plumbing, cable rewiring, and service updates.
Once done with your checklist, you may again consult with a registered builder or architect to put a price or cost on each item. There are also those who offer online consultations on this matter where they will give you an estimate on your plan.
Know the Basics of Adding a Second Story Level
Knowing the ins and outs of building a secondary level to an existing house is important before having a meeting with a team of builders. As they say, knowledge is power. It is better for you to equip yourself with the basics of remodeling and renovations for you to easily and fully understand your builders or contractors once the meeting has begun. Aside from that, this will also lessen the possibility of overpricing once you exude proper knowledge while talking with them.
The first thing that you must study is the building preference that you want to make. Are you going to build the second story from scratch where the roof of your existing house will be totally tearing off and built with a new and matching upper level? Or are you going to add another level but use your old roof by temporarily lifting it? Or do you want to just expand upward in only one section of your house, such as the garage? Or do you want a modular design where a new story level will be built in another site and will be brought to you once done?
Another matter for you to consider is the matching styles of your new secondary level with your existing house. Your secondary level should not stand out from the existing or first level. It should perfectly match the existing level as if it was intended to be there from the very beginning. This means matching the windows’ sizes, placements, and shapes. The additional level should also be proportionate to the old one. One good piece of advice, in this case, is for you to take and make time searching for the right materials to match the old one. The best place to look first for suitable materials is the salvage centers.
Have a Proper Meeting with a Professional
This simply means that you must consult with a professional. This will include registered builders, capable engineers, and competent architects. It is also better if you will talk with several professionals and not only with an individual or one team. This way, you will have more options for you to choose from. Select those who can work with your budget and ideas. Moreover, in order for you to save time, you may seek them first online if they have an available website for their services. Send them your ideas, preferences, and budget so that they can study it beforehand. Your meeting will run more smoothly once this is done first.
Lastly, once a meeting is set, make sure that all the tips on adding a second story to an existing house will be discussed comprehensively. This is to avoid later misunderstandings, especially when it comes to your budget.