Building a Second Floor Addition versus a Room
Deciding on Whether to Build Up or Out on a
Home Addition Project
By: Mark J. Donovan
When considering building a second
floor addition onto a single story home, the question frequently arises on whether or
not it makes better sense to build up with a second floor addition than out with
a room addition.
The quick and simple answer is, if
you have the land it is probably wiser to add on to the home with a room
addition, than it is in building a second floor addition.
Building any home addition is a major
enterprise. However, building a second floor addition inherently has more risk,
costs, and inconveniences associated with it.
Building a Second
Floor Addition Key Considerations
First, it may not even be feasible to
build a second floor addition onto the home. Local codes need to be checked to
see if building a second story addition is even possible. For example, local
zoning laws may not allow for a second floor addition due to such things as
impacting the aesthetics of the neighborhood or for creating shade issues on
Also, local building codes may be
such that the construction of a second floor addition onto the existing single
story home may not be allowed.
For example, there may be issues with
the home’s existing foundation. The existing foundation will need to be
inspected by the local building inspector, foundation contractor, or an
architect to determine if the foundation can support a second floor addition.
Concrete footings and foundation requirements usually vary on the type of home
being built. Building a second story addition onto a ranch style home creates significantly more load on the concrete
footings and foundation walls. Consequently the footings and foundation walls
are typically built wider and stronger for two story homes.
Second, the roof will need to be
removed from the home when building a second floor addition. This leaves the
home vulnerable to the weather and elements. In addition, the demolishing of a
roof in a controlled process takes significant effort and labor which adds to
the project costs.
Third, homeowners typically need to
find temporary living when building a second floor addition. It is nearly
impossible to live in a home that is undergoing a second floor addition, due to
the removal of the roof and the dramatic impact to the rest of the home. This
also adds cost to the project.
Building a Room
Addition - Advantages
With a room addition construction
project, on the other hand, the homeowner can be kept isolated from most of the
construction until the room addition is nearly complete. In some cases, the
entire room addition is completed prior to “punching into” the existing home
with a doorway / entranceway.
Finally, although every attempt is
made to maintain the integrity of the first floor of the home, inherently there
are risks of damage to the first floor ceilings and walls. Ceilings frequently
are damaged while the second floor addition is being constructed.
Building a second floor addition is
not an impossible undertaking. However, it does require more up front homework
and presents more risk to the existing home structure while being constructed.
To conclude, if your lot size is small, then a second floor addition maybe your
only choice. If on the other hand your lot size is large enough to support an
attached room addition, it is probably your better bet, both from cost and
For more help on building a second floor
addition or room addition, see HomeAdditionPlus.com's
Addition Bid Sheets.
Addition Bid Sheets will help ensure that your home
building project goes smoothly and is
completed on time and budget.
Related Information on Building a Room Addition or Second Floor Addition
Additional Home Building and Room Addition
Free Second Floor Addition
Price Quotes with No Obligation!
Fill out our 3-5 minute quick and easy form, and receive a
free price quote on building a second floor addition from one of our prescreened and licensed
home addition contractors. This process is free and there is no obligation to
continue once you receive your home addition price estimate.