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Creating More Space With a Second Story Addition

Updated on September 24, 2010

Many people who have had dreams of moving to or building their dream home have had to put their dreams on hold, maybe permanently because of the real estate market. But you can still have the dream home you have always wanted if you own a ranch style home. How? By building a second story addition.

Second Story Addition

Building a second story addition is a lot of work, but if you have a small yard and do not want to lose room, this is a great solution to your dilemma. There are 4 major parts to putting on a second story addition that you need to consider before beginning a renovation of this magnitude.

Second Floor Installation


Chances are that your current ceiling joists are not strong enough to carry your weight along with the weight of walls in its current state. A minimum of 2x8 floor joists should be used for the new second floor for support. If plumbing drains are going to be present for an upstairs bathroom, then 2x10s should be the minimum floor joists used so pipes can be properly pitched for drainage. The installation of the second floor framing will have to be completed as the original roof is dismantled. This will keep the house from shifting.

New Walls and New Roof

Putting up the new walls and the new roof will require distributing the loads of the house differently. you may even need to add framing to the walls on the first floor in areas. This will require removing drywall in areas if necessary. if you have strict height restrictions in your jurisdiction, then you will have to use part of the new roof as your walls, creating dormers for extra space. While this is and efficient use of space, this does create a more difficult design.

Electrical Work

Electrical work will most likely require a serious upgrade for the entire house in order to be able to handle the new electrical load. If you have less than a 200 amp service, then you will definitely need an upgrade. This is a great opportunity to add lighting or change out the existing lighting as it will never be less expensive because it is all included in one price.

Plumbing Work

Keep in mind that bathroom additions cost a lot of money, but are the least expensive when they are brand new because they are the easiest to run as there is nothing in the way.  Also, the addition of a bathroom increases the equity of your home significantly. 

Always remember that this type of renovation will be expensive and will be something that you have to live with for a long time.  With that being said, make sure that you do everything correctly even if it costs you a little more than cutting a few corners.  If energy efficiency is something that you want to incorporate, make sure that you take advantage of your state rebate programs for energy efficient upgrades.


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