May 12, 2021 | Second Story Addition

Things We Need to Know Before Adding a Second Story




Second story addition is an option that comes to our mind when we want to change the outlook of the house along with the expansion or if we are unable to expand horizontally. Adding extra space for kids, in-laws, or for whatever reason, it might be a complex and money gulping project.

At first, thinking of the whole process, including ripping off the roof and a hectic construction site, can feel like a drastic means of gaining space. But for some very critical situations, going through this journey makes sense. It is not necessarily hectic and stressful always. The overall journey of the second story addition project can be fascinating and a memorable one if we keep specific essential facts in mind.


The first thing that will make our ground floor a bit different is the staircase, connecting us to the second floor. Most of the time, staircases take approximately 80 to 130 square feet. So we have to decide where we will set the stairs and what style we will choose.

We can let the style and design of our house choose the material for our staircase. If we want a low-maintenance staircase, we can go for hardwood staircases. If we prefer floating stairs, we can go for steel combined with timber where still is used as the foundation or frame of the staircase. But the con is they can be a little bit noisy. We can use low-profile wool carpet, which also makes spills and smells easy to manage.

Checking the foundation:

this is one of the essential parts before deciding any other thing about the project. Because this fact will determine whether we can build a second story addition on our old foundation or not. Sometimes we need to repair some parts of it and then go for the project. In this process, we can follow some steps to ensure that there are no obstacles from this part of the house.

  • Check the state of the existing foundation:

Before starting the second story project, we need to check the condition of the existing foundation. The foundation can become weak over time due to cracks, rusting irons, and molds. It’s advised to consult an engineer and let them examine the foundation. If the results show that the foundation can carry the extra load of the second project, then we can move further with the project.

  • Getting approval:

To start the project, one more important task is getting approval from the planning agency of the town. Because all town planning agencies do not approve the addition of a second story on an existing single-story building.

The agencies usually insist on verifying the state of the foundation before starting the project. They also demand periodic supervision of the project to ensure we have met the government-prescribed standard.

  • Repairing existing foundation:

After checking the foundation, here comes the part when we need to repair the damages. We can follow various methods, such as jacketing, underpinning, mud jacking, house lifting, and other techniques for this process. Which method have to be applied depends on the type of damage that occurred in the foundation.


The cost of second-story addition varies and depends on the square footage of the building. We have tried to break down the overall cost to help everyone get a brief idea about the second story addition.

  • Hiring contractor:

For a project like second-story addition, the cost for the contractor will be around 6% to 8%( %(2000-$6000+) of our entire budget. Before choosing a contractor, we have to check the required documents and past references. This will help us determine a good contractor for our dream renovation. Besides all these, we have to keep in mind that we cannot expect a contractor to be well hired at a cheaper rate, as experienced contractors always charge a bit more than inexperienced contractors.

  • Blueprints:

Getting a blueprint for the project will cost $1200 to $1500. An architect will make the blueprint with a draftsperson using an app called CAD.

  • Cost per square foot:

The cost of building a second-story addition runs between $100 to $300 per square foot. But the cost can exceed and go up to $500 per square foot depending on the materials we use and the complexity of the overall project.

  • Property tax:

Once an additional floor has been added to the house, the property tax cost won’t be the same anymore. We have to recess the property, and the tax will also increase.


When we increase the size of the house, we have to revisit all the systems, for instance, the water heater, the furnace, and the electrical system. In this case, we can upgrade the electrical system to 200 amps and replace the HVAC system. We can deliver hot water to the second floor from tankless heaters. Other energy-efficient systems for hot water, such as geothermal heat pumps, heat pumps, and solar-assisted hot water panels.


Siding is a part of the house that gives a great way to add radiant and definition to the home, and the siding of the whole house has to match. So we can use this opportunity to change the siding of the entire house. If we are thinking of doing so, then here are some suitable materials for siding.

  • Vinyl siding:

Being cheaper and almost maintenance-free, vinyl siding is one of the most popular siding choices. It requires very few tools to install, which are available in the home improvement stores. This option is very suitable for those people who want to do it by themselves.

  • Wood siding:

To give the house a rich look, wood siding is a better option and durable if maintained properly. The costing can be $5 to $10 per square foot.

  • Brick siding:

Brick sidings are made of fired clay, which comes in different textures and sizes. It costs $6 to $15 per square foot.



It is not very unusual to face typical challenges and problems in the second story addition project. The more cautious and knowledgeable we are about the project, the smoother experience will be gained. With proper research and our homework, it is not impossible to get our dream renovation done without having significant issues. Even though these kinds of additions are more complex, they can double the house’s square footage and add value to it. All it requires is care, adequate planning, and experienced hands to complete a successful addition.




Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.