A great way to increase the square footage of your home is by adding a second story. Instead of building extensions that eat up valuable backyard space, you build upwards, bringing both financial and functional benefits to your property.

Because adding another story to your existing residence is a big undertaking, it’s crucial you understand the various options, challenges, and potential timelines involved. 

In this article, we look at some important things to consider before deciding to add an extra level to your home.  

Why Consider Adding a Second Story?

With all the time, cost, and upheaval involved in a major home remodeling project, why would you even consider building a second story? 

Location is everything. This is especially true when you have close friends and family nearby. When you love your home and your neighborhood, there’s every reason to want to stay. Therefore, extending the size of your property is an affordable and rewarding way to remain where your heart truly belongs.

That said, one day in the future, you might look to sell. Adding square footage to your existing plot, without using valuable yard space, will almost certainly increase your home’s resale value. In addition, many potential buyers will be looking for larger properties, and the extra level will make your home a more desirable option. 

Many of us cherish our backyards. They are places in which to relax, play, feel close to nature, and entertain guests. Building upwards removes the need to expand your home into your yard. Instead, you enjoy the best of both worlds by retaining your outside space while also gaining more interior space.

Another benefit that comes with adding a second story is the opportunity to fix existing problems in other areas of your home. Part of the design and build process involves modifying and strengthening the rest of the building. This means that if you think a first-floor ceiling is too low or an internal wall can ideally be removed, then addressing these issues during the design and build process makes perfect sense.

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Choosing the Right Second Story Addition for Your Home 

There are several different ways to add a second story to your home. The type of addition you choose will depend on your preferences, budget, local building regulations, and your property’s building code foundation requirements for adding a second story. 

Three ways to expand your home vertically include: 

Full second-story addition: This is where the existing roof is removed entirely and a whole new upper level is designed and built from scratch. Such an option is ideal if you’re building onto a single-story ranch-style house or a property where the new story design is significantly different from the one below. 

Replacing your roof: When you want to add an extra story based on the dimensions and design of the existing property, then a roof replacement strategy is a sensible way to go. This is where the existing roof is temporarily removed as the second level is added before being carefully put back into place. 

Expansion: Adding a second story is about building up, but the new addition can also expand sideways. This is where you might add another room above a flat-roof garage or increase the square footage by building directly above a porch.      

An experienced design-build remodeling team will suggest the best option to choose based on your circumstances and goals.  

The Impact of a Second Story on Your Home’s Mechanicals

The addition of a second story also has an impact on your home’s mechanicals – the various major systems, often hidden, that run throughout your home. These systems include plumbing, heating, and air conditioning, consisting of electrical panels, boilers, pumps, pipes, and generators, among other things. 

All of these systems work based on your home’s square footage and the fixtures contained within. When you effectively double the amount of space in your home, such systems require an upgrade.  

There are various upgrade options, including upgrading electrical panels from 100 amps to 200 amps. With heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (commonly known as HVAC), new zones will need to be added, and perhaps decisions made regarding a choice between forced air or radiant systems of heating. 

The adding of an extra level to your home is also potentially a good time to install energy-efficient systems for heating, hot water, and air conditioning. Such options include solar water heating, energy-efficient ventilation, geothermal or ductless heat pumps, and grid-tied solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. 

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The Design Impact of Adding a Second Story

Building upwards saves space, maximizes square footage, and can deliver beautiful views, but it also comes at a cost. Adding a second story will require structural reinforcement and modifications on other levels. 

The addition of extra structural features and rooms will naturally add weight to the main-floor walls and foundation. Engineers will need to calculate this extra weight (including that of occupied rooms) and figure out where any structural strengthening will be required. 

With a new floor comes the need for a new staircase. This means you will potentially lose a portion of the main floor area in order to accommodate the stairs. In addition, existing rooms and traffic flows might be affected and therefore require modifications. 

A chimney is another feature that affects multiple levels of the home. When adding a new story, there’s a choice between getting rid of the chimney altogether or building it up through to the new roof height. Your preferred interior design styles, as well as your current usage of fireplaces, will likely influence your decision.

An extensive home refurbishment is an opportune time to improve other structural features. From windows and doors to sidings and interior walls, adding a second level will bring into focus things that can be upgraded, replaced, rebuilt, and modified. 

For example, will your existing siding be extended upwards or replaced entirely with a new design and material? Are your main-floor windows and doors looking a bit weary and in need of an upgrade? If you want the house to look seamless, it’s crucial the windows downstairs match with the new ones upstairs.  

Insulation is another factor to consider, with energy efficiency and comfort important aspects of modern living.

How Long Will It Take?

Adding a second story to your home is a big project and will almost certainly involve you and your family temporarily relocating. A typical project of this type can take six months or more to complete, with a sizeable amount of disruption. 

It’s essential to plan well ahead, both financially and logistically, to avoid as many unexpected problems as possible. 

Adding a Second Story to Your Dallas Home 

Before deciding to rip your roof off and build a second story, it’s essential to sit down with experienced building industry professionals. With proper guidance and correct planning, you’ll be able to achieve the home renovation of your dreams.  

The design-build remodeling team here at Blackline Renovations in Dallas can help you with every aspect of your home addition. From the initial meetings and evaluations right through to the design process and the construction phase, we’ll be by your side and guiding you through every step of the way.  

We offer friendly and expert virtual or in-home consultations where we discuss your specific needs and provide you with the optimal design solutions to meet them.   

Call us today at 214-827-3747 or schedule a virtual consultation.