What You Need to Know About Adding a Second Story

A second-story home addition can be an excellent way to add both space and value. This can also be a viable option if you aren’t able to build out due to limited lot space or other issues. 

Designing Your Second Story Addition 

While a second-story home addition can seem like a great way to start a remodel and expand your useable space, there are five crucial items that you should think about before moving forward. Taking these into consideration can save you a lot of frustration, time, and money. 

City Ordinances

This should be one of the first things that you work out before you do anything else. Contact your local planning department to ensure that you are able to remodel your home just as you have planned. While your contractor is usually the one who obtains the necessary permits for a home addition, you’ll still want to know the zoning, codes, and other requirements, so you can create a solid plan with your architect. 

In many areas, there are restrictions on the height of a second story. A review of the planned design, the environmental impact of the project, and notification of those living nearby could also apply, depending on the locality. 


Another crucial consideration is whether your home’s existing infrastructure is able to support the additional weight. A soil test that determines the load-bearing values (LBV) of your land is typically necessary in order to satisfy the current building codes. The LBV of the soil determines the width of the footings. 

Integrating Stairs

When you’re envisioning your second-story home addition and how it will add beauty and value, the stairs might not enter your mind. Even if initially overlooked, this important home addition detail needs to be considered for several key reasons.

One of these reasons is that they take up space and must meet certain codes. Another consideration is the value and beauty they can add to your home. Well-crafted stairs not only can get you where you need to go but can increase your home’s visual appeal as well. 

Electrical and Plumbing

Chances are that your current electrical and plumbing infrastructure will need to be professionally evaluated. An upgrade to either system might be necessary to ensure compliance with the current building codes. 

Wall Demo

In order to upgrade your electrical and plumbing infrastructure, the contractor may need to demo the ceilings and walls. Even if these systems are up to code, your home might need additional structural support. 

Life Disruptions

While a major home remodel project will be disruptive, the rewards are well worth it. Many people opt to make other living arrangements. This choice often makes the work go more smoothly and results in fewer overall disruptions for you. 

Adding a second story isn’t a process that you can simply walk into blindly. You need the creative expertise of professionals at Drafting Cafe Architects. From designing your dream to creating accurate drawings of your existing home, they work closely with you to realize your goals. Contact DCA today for a free estimate for your home addition. 


Get in touch with us. We would love to help you get your project off the ground