Adding A 2nd Floor

If you live in a single floor ranch, a raised ranch, cape or even a two story home you can add a new level. 

The most common home types to add a second floor will be your typical single floor ranch.

To add a second floor to your existing home it will need to be inspected for structural integrity.

The foundation needs to be at least 8 inches thick and should be in good condition. Any load bearing columns and beams in the existing basement or crawlspace should also be structurally capable of handling the new load of a second or third floor. Also the exterior walls should be in good condition, you can add a second floor to your home if the first floor is framed using 2x4s.


Adding a Second Floor Over Your Existing Home

If you are thinking of building a second floor onto your single floor home you will need to call an architect or a qualified remodeler to determine the integrity of the existing structure. If for some reason the existing structure cannot handle the load of the new second floor than structural modifications will need to be made to the existing home.  Adding a second floorAdding a second floor onto your house is one of the most intrusive remodeling endeavors you take on.  Usually when adding a second level the roof of the entire home needs to be removed. During the demolition of the existing roof it is recommended that you do not stay in your home during daytime hours. A good contractor should be able to remove the roof and frame the entire second floor in about 5-7 working days, this includes installation of windows and a new roof with shingles. This is based on your typical 20x40 single floor ranch. If the home is larger it might take a bit longer.

The existing heating system and electrical system may also need to be upgraded. When you are adding a second floor over the existing house you are usually doubling the square footage. Many times the existing HVAC system is not capable of heating and cooling the new second level. If you have any HVAC equipment in your original attic this will need to be professionally removed prior to roof demolition. Also, many times there is a lot of electrical wiring in the attic of a single floor ranch; this means that an electrician will need to go into the attic first and disconnect or re-route the wiring so that it is not damaged during the demolition.

Also because there is usually no staircase going to the attic, you and your designer will need to come up with a good location. Some floor area (square footage) will need to be sacrificed on the first floor so that the new staircase can be built. Many times the existing chimney also needs to be extended. A brick mason would add whatever additional height is needed so that the new chimney will protrude from new roof over the second floor. 

Also many times the main service cable (electrical wire from the pole to the house) needs to be relocated so when the project is finished, the electrical cable doesn't connect to the central face of the house. If you do have this situation with an aerial service cable, it's a good time to consider burying the line from the pole to the house, Why not! It will get completely disconnected at some point anyway and it does not cost that much more to dig a trench and hide the wire.

Once all of these items are addressed and completed the rest is smooth sailing. When you do decide to pursue this project make sure you select a contractor that specializes in home additions. A contractor that specializes in these types of projects will be much more qualified to add a second story simply because of the contractors experience. Many times these types of projects have common obstacles and issues that arise during construction. If you hire a contractor with experience in these types of projects they will be able to foresee these issues prior to construction and make you aware of them so you don't need to deal with any expensive surprises along the way.

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