If you live in a ranch style home or other single-story structure, you might consider adding living space by building a second story on your home. There are several benefits of adding a second story to a home, but there are also some possible barriers you will need to overcome.
If you are prepared to consider building upward instead of building outward (by adding a California room or two), there are several things you will need to check out before your planning goes too far:
• Will local zoning ordinances and building code requirements allow you to add a second story?
• Will your neighborhood homeowners association allow you to add a second story? (Some neighborhood associations do, and others do not).
• Can the footings, exterior walls and interior supports handle the extra weight?
• Is the foundation adequate?
• What are the restrictions on the design of the addition and the materials you will be able to use?
• Can you find an architect or a designer who can make the second story look like it was originally part of the house and like it fits the neighborhood?
• How and where can you build stairs to access the new second floor in a way that looks natural on the first floor?
• What permits and inspections will be necessary?
• Will you need new water and sewer lines or electrical circuits to handle the extra load?
While considering a second story addition to your house, you should calculate the cost of the decision. It will probably be more expensive to add a second story than it would be to add a room or two. Set-back requirements in your locality might make it necessary to add a second floor because you might not have a big enough lot to add to the ground floor. In designing your second story addition, you might also want to consider only adding a second story over part of your existing house. In many cases, this will result in an attractive home at a lower cost than a full second story.
There are four main benefits of adding a second story:
1. You don’t have to move to get more living space. If you like living where you are, for any of a number of reasons, this can be a compelling argument. A second story addition might mean keeping your children in the same school or staying close to shopping or your workplace.
2. A second story addition in California is a chance to modernize your home or to add windows that will lighten and brighten interior spaces. The addition might give you the tall entry foyer you want or allow you to change the exterior of your house to make it stand out.
3. You will have the chance to design the new space any way you want. You can match the floor plan to the specific needs of your family. You can use the space in any way that will make your home more comfortable for your family or give them special space for special activities.
4. You will have a chance to make some changes to the first floor, and those changes will cost less than if you made them as a separate project. Do you want a higher ceiling in your kitchen? Have you always wanted spiral stairways?
If you need extra living space, it will be worth your while to think about adding a second story to your house. The benefits are clear, and many of the possible obstacles can be overcome with planning