Questions to Ask Before Adding a Second Floor to Your Home

Mar 29, 2022 | Blog

Do you feel like the walls of your house are closing in on you? If so, have you considered a second-floor addition to give you more space? Building a second floor may be the only solution in situations where yard space is limited.

Building a second-floor addition can at first seem overwhelming as, depending on the design, it’s literally placing another home on top of your house. With the right contractor, your home could become a living paradise. Before reaching for the phone, use this guide to review some of the most important questions you should ask your contractor before adding a second floor.

How Much Will the Second-Floor Addition Cost?

One of the first questions to ask yourself is how you plan to finance a second-floor addition. While money matters are not necessarily a question to pose to a contractor, the end cost of a second-floor addition will be. Know where the budget stands before initiating negotiations.

Take into consideration the obvious measures of permits, building materials, labour, architectural plans, and overhauls to the existing structure such as the roof. Remember there will be additional costs to secure the structure of the home to support a second level. These costs will be included in the contractor estimate.

One more budget item is the cost of furnishing the second-floor addition. Do you need more room for the kids’ bedrooms or are you looking to create a retreat with a master bedroom and ensuite? Depending on the purpose, bedroom furniture or bathroom plumbing and fixtures need to be included in the planning costs.

Can My Foundation Support the Second Floor?

A one-level home, such as a bungalow, can have a second-floor addition constructed if all of the proper elements are in place. The physical location and design of the home, and the ground it sits on, all play a role in determining if the structure can be reinforced to withstand a second floor.

This is not to say it may be impossible, but depending on the obstacle, the need for more cement or rock or structural beams may be necessary. In addition to an architect’s design, an engineer can design a plan for the additional weight of the structure to the existing house.

Does the Current Floor Need to Be Changed?

Unless the add-on is placed on the garage as a second-floor addition, there will need to be major changes to the current floor in the house. Design-wise, the entire roof will need to be removed and replaced with adequate flooring and insulation.

Aside from reinforcing or adding structural beams, a second-floor addition will require the addition of a staircase, electrical, new HVAC, and plumbing.

During the construction, the existing housing wiring, plumbing, or insulation may also need to be upgraded, depending on their condition. This is the time to see to these and any updates that are desired or required while the experts are on-site, and the costs can be added to the budget.

Will I Need to Move Out During the Construction?

A home renovation of even the smallest kind can cause distress and inconvenience to the daily lives of the home’s occupants, especially any pets. Adding a second story to the house is an invitation to a new level of issues, for the homeowner and the contractor.

With construction, safety is a main priority, and a second-floor addition requires the moving of beams, building materials, trucks, and large equipment. This constant traffic may be best left to the professionals and a temporary move to another location should be arranged.

Discuss this with your contractor as someone from the home may need to be on-hand for issues, deliveries, and other business not covered by the construction firm.

Do I Need to Get Permits and Variances?

As a second-floor addition is a large undertaking requiring structural engineering and architectural planning, permits and variances will be needed. These are legal documents that, if overlooked, can results in fines and can bring work to a complete halt.

The paperwork may be collected and managed by the contractor but there may be some permits the homeowner is responsible for. Ask your local councilor’s office about the municipal bylaws and talk to your contractor about how acquiring permits will be handled.

What Is the Time Frame?

The million-dollar question is how long it is going to take? A reputable contractor will be able to provide a true estimate for how long the construction project should take. That said, no one can tell what the future will hold, and there may be unforeseen problems that can arise and add to the total time, and cost, of the second-floor addition.

Does the Contractor Have Reviews and Pictures of Past Projects?

In terms of hiring the right contractor, asking for references and reading online reviews are only part of the process. This type of project requires a firm with the proper credentials, equipment, and access to needed materials.

A notable contractor will have a portfolio of other second-floor additions with before and after photographs. Discuss the project with several different contractors before selecting a few to do an on-site consultation. This will benefit the homeowner as well as the contractor in terms of time, effort, and money.

Contact Elite Construction and Renovations for a Second-Floor Addition

The team at Elite Construction and Renovations is the right fit for your second-floor addition project. Our knowledgeable contractors and design consultants will meet with you and discuss your vision. We have the experience, tools, and skills to create the ideal addition for your home.

At Elite, our goal is to work directly with you to design, plan, and build any space that will fulfill all of your requirements. We pride ourselves on listening to the homeowner by working within a budget to complete the project on time. Our work speaks for itself!

Working within the local city by-laws and the Ontario Building Codes, our informed team can help you with permit and variance applications. Contact us today to get started and turn your home into a living oasis!

Jay McDonald

Jay McDonald

Jay McDonald, general contractor and owner of Elite Construction & Renovations, has over 20 years of construction experience. He has completed various Ontario Building Code and Business Management courses from George Brown College and has managed over $50 million-dollars-worth of construction in his career.