Monday, September 15, 2014

I was wondering if I should add a second story to my ranch style house?


I was wondering if I should add a second story to my ranch style house?


Adding a second story sounds like a smart idea when you think about it as just adding a second story to the existing home. What you don’t realize is that by adding a second story to the home you will probably have to gut the first floor of the home to do so.

Adding a second story to an existing bungalow requires you to completely remove the roof of the home and build a new roof on the top of the new second story of the home. Since you are building a new roof on the home you will end up with new load points in the outside walls. These load points will have to be carried down to the foundation through the walls of the existing first floor. This is one reason why you end up having to gut the entire first floor of the home. There will also be interior walls of the home that will have to be re-enforced to help carry new roof load points to the foundation in the basement.

The bigger question would be can the existing foundation of the home handle having another story on top of it and a new roof that will require different load points? The foundation that exists was built many years ago to take the weight of a one story home and the existing roof as it was originally layout. The calculations that were done by the engineers did not include adding many more tons to the foundation walls and footings with a second story. A review of all the beams and footing pads will also have to be completed to see if they require remediation with the added stress and load.

What you are proposing is extremely labour intensive, the more labour the more money. Renovations always cost more than new construction when looked at as a per sqft basis because of the increased labour required.

Once you have removed the roof of the home your entire home will be open to the elements until the framing of a second story and the new roof can be completed. You are basically building a new home with an existing foundation as long as it is possible to use the current foundation as is.

My advice to you would be to take the time and money and find a two story home that you can either have built or to buy a home that you can renovate to meet your needs without having to do something as drastic as adding as second story to it.

The only reason that you would add a second story to a home is if the land value that you are currently on is worth more than the house itself, then it makes sense to make the home work for you as you probably will not be able to find another house that will better fit your needs in your price range. This is more common in cities where the lots are small and there isn’t a lot of space to expand, the only way to expand would be to go straight up.

What you need to do is sit down and decide the value of your home as it currently is, then the cost of the renovation to add the second story and then you must figure out what the home would be worth after it has received its second story. If the cost of the added second story far exceeds the new price of your home (of what it would be if you sold it) then you shouldn’t do it. Remember to add in the costs of permits, drawings and the fact that you will need a place to live while your home is under construction.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

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