Home addition and expansion are an excellent way of adding space to your home and attaining a more comfortable lifestyle. However, homeowners with smaller lots and less outdoor space can’t always risk extending the lower portions of their home. When planning for their home remodeling, their best option is to increase space vertically by adding a second story.

Making changes to your home also brings about a drastic change in your way of living. That’s why this comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of second-story additions.

Do I Really Need This?

Before starting with any planning and canvassing, first ask yourself if you really need this upgrade. Also, are you financially ready for this house remodeling? Take note that there are various factors you should take into account.

Posing these questions to yourself, and also to your family, encourages more discussion. If these circumstances describe your current living conditions, then it is worth considering adding a new story to your home:

  • Small lot size
  • Inadequate indoor space
  • Limited outdoor space reserved for gardening purposes
  • A requirement for sufficient distance from neighbors
  • Landscaping details in the outdoor yard that are not agreeable
  • Expanding size of the family
  • Desire of family members to have separate or private rooms

The Costs Of Second-Story Additions

When choosing between a second-story addition and ground floor addition, adding a new story to your home is usually the cheaper option.

Keep in mind that adding another story is quite unforgiving to your pocket. Before adding a second floor to your house, saving up for the construction expenses is a must. To achieve greater accuracy regarding the costs and other specifics, consider in detail the process of second-story addition.

Create Remodeling Plans With The Right People

Planning a house remodeling that involves a second-story addition is the most crucial stage of this process, hence choose the right professionals for finalizing your house plans. The right one should help you visualize your dream second story, and give priority to your lifestyle needs and preferences. After creating the plan, you deserve to have a comprehensive walkthrough on the project. Therefore, professionals utilizing three-dimensional videos and blueprints are essential.

Generally, there are four options for expanding your home vertically. Discuss each method with your building professional to see which one will fit best according to your house’s conditions and building regulations:

  • Lift off the roof temporarily and return it to its place after building and framing in the new story.
  • Detach the roof entirely and build from scratch, including a new roof.
  • Extend an upper-level portion across the first story only to build the intended space.
  • Second-story modular construction, which is the fastest and most affordable option consisting of a pre-built second story level called ‘module’, that’s constructed off-site and then attached on top of your house.

Prioritize Strong And Adequate Structural Support

Since you’re adding a new level vertically, your home’s foundation must be strong enough to withstand the weight and force of the second story. Don’t immediately rush into building the new story, but prioritize your support first through scheduling a foundation inspection in order to solve the supplemental structure problems first.

One of the best advantages of adding a new story to your home, rather than extending it, is you won’t have to build new and costly structural support. You can save more time and money in building on top of the existing foundations, as long as the support is strong enough to handle it.

Never skip hiring a structural engineer to inspect your home’s foundation, or you’ll face unforeseen problems and more expenses in the long run.

Maintain Massing And Proportions

Some homeowners get overly excited about adding a new story in their homes, and tend to forget basic structural principles. Having building professionals right by your side helps you avoid these bad decisions, such as inappropriate massing and awkward proportions.

In terms of massing, don’t just place your new story on top of the other by replicating its exact shape and mass. If your first level has a rectangular shape, then doubling the height of the house with a second story that is also rectangular-shaped will give a solid and boxy appearance to your home. Doing this is a big structural no-no. Establish variety by differentiating a few aspects of the second floor with noticeable details.

Moreover, proportions have the power to communicate functionality and emphasize the best points of a home. Awkward proportions are usually unnoticeable in one-story homes, since they only deal with one united element in the horizontal and vertical axes. But, when you fail to create good proportionality in your second floor, it will not look pleasing.

Comply With Height Restrictions

In every district or city, there is a set of rules and regulations for construction known as the building code. Property owners and building professionals should comply with these laws, especially the height and size restrictions of your home during remodeling.

Before creating the house plan and purchasing construction materials, coordinate with your city officials first and make sure that your additional story’s height is within the prescribed height range.


When building a second story for your home, you must exert the same kind of effort and time as you put into establishing your first story. With the help of the tips and considerations discussed in this article, you can welcome a new vertical space in your home that can help you live more comfortably and productively.