How To Dress Up Windows On Ranch Style House Exterior Adding A Second Story To Your Home

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Adding A Second Story To Your Home

If you and your family need additional space, you may consider adding a second floor to your home. Sometimes it makes more sense to grow upwards than outwards. There are a number of considerations that should be part of your decision about whether to add a bedroom to the side or back of your home or add a second floor to your home.

The benefits of adding a second story to your home

One advantage of “growing up” is that you don’t have to move to acquire additional space. If you like your home’s location, especially if your property has improvement benefits, adding a second floor is a very popular way to get the extra space without losing the neighborhood features you love. Upgrade benefits may include a water view or a mountain view; it may be the quality of local schools or proximity to community services; it may be some family background that ties into the house; or it may just be in the “inside” area.

Another advantage of adding a second floor to your home is that it provides an opportunity to modernize your home or “brighten up” by opening up some spaces, adding windows, achieving higher ceilings, etc. Adding a second story to a ranch house can dramatically change the exterior appearance of the home.

Third, adding a second floor offers unlimited opportunities to design the interior space of the second floor to meet your specific needs. For example, if you already have a lot of windows in your home, you may want a darker space that can be turned into a home theater. If you have a musician in the family, you may want to soundproof one of the rooms. If there is a photographer, you can design a space specifically for the needs of a darkroom. If you are adding bedrooms for your children, you may want to connect the bedrooms with a study. The possibilities are endless!

Fourth, adding a second floor offers the opportunity to make some changes to the first floor and relatively less additional cost. Do you like spiral staircases? When the roof comes off, you can use one to gain access to the second floor. It will also add interest to the first floor.

Some popular features

The potential to add the features you want or need in this new space is endless. Here is a list of some of the features that are very popular today.

o A home theater room: Add your widescreen HD TV, add the kind of comfortable seating your family likes, add a small kitchen for cold drinks and popcorn, and mount your Surroundsound speakers.

o A hobby or craft room: If you’re into a hobby or crafter, even a dressmaker, you might want a space where you can leave your work outside and close the door to hide your mid-project mess.

o A playroom for the kids – You can even build cupboards and shelves for toys, games, etc.

o Additional Bedrooms: One of the most common reasons for adding a second floor is to have more bedroom space and an additional bathroom.

o A teen suite or an in-law suite – There comes a time when teens want their own space. Your new second story is the perfect place to create a special suite of rooms (living room, bedroom and bathroom) just for them. You can also create a spacious and comfortable in-law suite. Adding a small kitchen would create an entire apartment for parents or in-laws.

And the cost?

It will probably cost you more to add a second floor than to add a room or two downstairs. Adding to the ground floor is much less complicated and requires less modification to the existing structure. However, you probably won’t be able to add that much space by adding a downstairs bedroom. Also, your lot size and local “set back” requirements may prohibit adding the size you need.

Is this a do it yourself project?

The short answer is that if you are not an architect, contractor, builder, or structural engineer, this is probably NOT something you should try to do yourself. Here are some of the considerations:

o Are you familiar with local zoning, building and land use and elevation specifications?

o Do you know how to design a second story that looks like a natural part of the house and fits in with the neighborhood?

o Are you competent to assess the ability of footings, exterior walls and interior supports to support the additional weight?

o Do you know how and where to locate the stairs that will allow access to the second floor? Do you know how to do it in a way that enhances the first floor?

o Is the base strong enough to support the extra weight?

o Are you competent to do the plumbing work and connect to the existing plumbing?

o Are you competent to install electrical wiring and accessories safely? And do you know if you need a new main line and breaker box?

o If you want to act as your own contractor and hire people to do the things you don’t know how to do, here are some questions to ask:

1. Do you have time to micromanage this project?

2. Do you know how to keep every step of the process on time so you don’t pay people to wait to do their part of the job?

3. Do you know what types of permits and inspections your county requires?

4. Do you have time available to research the people you will need to hire for each type of job?

These are just some of the questions you will need to ask. The first step in the decision, however, will be to check the building and zoning codes for your area. Before you talk to an architect or contractor, you’ll want to know what they can and can’t do. From there, the sky is the limit, maybe literally!

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