By Judyth Piazza
“When it came to deciding whether or not to choose a 2nd story addition, the deciding factor was the ability to add the second story at a reasonable cost while retaining more yard space by not adding onto the ground floor,” said Justin and Jennifer Hyland, Memorial Area.
One of the most popular reasons to choose a 2nd story addition is to preserve outdoor recreational space. An increasingly popular trend in home renovation is the creation of 2nd story additions on single floor dwellings.
There are several pros, cons and myths about building up. First of all, a few pros are you won’t lose any of your yard nor will you bump into zoning restrictions about setbacks or floor-area-ratio limits, which in turn increases the value of your home, however, the cons are you have to account for a stairwell, which can easily eat up around 80 to 120 square feet or more of living space. And your contractor will likely have to tear apart the walls and ceilings in the space below to beef up the structural supports and feed in the electrical, plumbing and heating lines.
According to Structural Engineer, Adam Bakir from Incredible Renovations, Houston, TX, “It is a common myth that existing concrete slabs cannot handle the additional loads caused by adding a second story. In actuality, additional loads are transferred through various structural members down to the foundations at certain point load locations.”
In actuality, the replacement of existing foundations is not a necessity when adding a second floor. A majority of the time you can add selected spots on the foundation where the new loads from the second floor are concentrated. This often consists of the excavation under a small section of the foundation and adding concrete and rebar to create a new wider and stronger footing in that spot.
For that reason retaining the services of a professional structural engineer is extremely essential so he/she runs the analysis and prescribes the correct solutions every time before your contractor begins the work.
Another pro for adding a 2nd story to your home is the extra living space that you will gain. Some homeowners use the extra space for living areas such as a game room for your children or an indoor gym. The 2nd story addition also adds extra value to your home so if you ever decide to sell it, you will get back what you put into it. Any time you increase your square footage you stand to increase the value of your home simply because the price is often calculated based on factors such as the amount of livable space.
“To be honest, initially we were only looking to build an addition that went out, not up. Architectural Designer, Mayrem from Incredible Renovations presented us with two options, one being, just building out for an in-law suite and the other was both out and up, redoing the first floor bedroom area, opening up the living areas, and adding the second story. We loved the way she made incredible use of our existing space and the second floor design was perfect for our kids.” said Kevin Timmreck, Houston, TX.
Kevin’s wife Louann Timmreck said, “We had two reasons for adding on to our house. After my dad passed away, my mom was alone in her house. We didn't want her to be alone and wanted her to come live with us. We decided to add an addition downstairs for my mom. However, we also wanted to do a second story addition so we could add room for our three children. Prior to adding the second story, my girls shared a bedroom and all three kids shared one bathroom. Adding the upstairs gave them their own room and additional bathrooms. It also gave them the space to hang out with their friends. We have a large backyard and building up, allowed us to continue to enjoy that space. Now everyone has their own space and we couldn't be happier!”
Many homeowners engage in renovations every year. Some prefer to hire an architect to begin the process and some prefer to hire a construction company that can do everything for them from start to finish. After all, unless you build your home from scratch, chances are you’re not going to get everything you desire when purchasing your dream home.
If you are trying to sell your home that has been on the market for a long time and for whatever reason it is not selling, at that point it may be a better decision to build up and reconfigure the house rather than selling it? What do you think? For a lot of families the answer is yes!
If you are interested in exploring 2nd story addition options, for a free estimate, contact Incredible Renovations at www.incrediblerenovations.com.