A Guide To Adding A Second Story To Your Home

At some point in your life, you may want a bigger home.

You may need extra space for various reasons, whether your family is getting bigger or you had budget restrictions years ago, so you ended up with a tiny house, or perhaps you need more space for your new wood homeware.

While some people choose to sell their home and get a bigger one, those who want to stay in the house they’ve lived in for years opt for building an addition. When they do, most homeowners go up, adding a second floor to an existing home and still having the same front door

If this is your plan, this article is an essential guide on second floor addition. It discusses the types of additions and their benefits as well as some tips and considerations when building one into your home. 

Second Floor Additions: 2 Options You Have

Adding a second floor to your existing home can mean various things. While the exact design can differ greatly, second-floor additions can be classified into two types:

Complete Addition

Complete addition is the most extreme option, requiring you to remove the roof and add an entirely new level to your existing home. A complete story addition allows you to maximize the space you add to your home with the same footprint as your first floor. 

Since it is the most extensive addition, it will involve the most construction, the highest cost, and the most extended timeline to complete. Nevertheless, it also gives the most flexibility for your future needs. 

new house

Half-Story Addition

Also called attic conversion, a half-story or partial addition means adding more vertical space to your home without tearing your roof out. You don’t build an entirely new floor above but create a new story above one part of the available space. You redesign the attic to make it more functional. 

The main benefit of a half-story addition is that it helps save a lot of money. Since there’s less square footage to work on, you don’t have to deal with costly parts such as roof removal, foundation changes, or adding extra structural support inside your home. 

That said, a partial addition can be challenging to plan. If not designed well, it can also be an aesthetic challenge creating an ugly lump on top of your home. 

New Build Versus Modular

When adding a second floor, you have two options: to build a new one from scratch or get a modular one. 

Traditionally, adding a second floor to your home means hiring the best contractors, like Crown Constructions, and building from scratch. New build additions are more flexible and customizable since they can be built into your home with precise specifications. However, they often take longer, not to mention they are costlier. 

A more modern option is modular or prefab addition. A modular second story is much quicker to install than the traditional method of building a new floor. In general, prefab additions are built offsite—typically in a provider’s manufacturing space—then simply dropped on top of your home once the necessary work has been done, such as roof removal and foundation upgrades. 

Modular second floor additions are more cost effective. In addition, they work well in most modern home designs. However, if you have an older home or one with a unique architectural design, then building from scratch can provide you with better customizations. 

Benefits Of Adding A Second Floor

Adding a second floor to your existing home can be a drastic move, especially if you choose a complete addition. However, the benefits may well be worth all the cost and inconvenience. Here are some of the advantages of building a second floor. 

Get More Living Space

Probably the most significant advantage of adding a second floor is that you can expand the square footage of your home without relocating. If your home is in the perfect setting and you don’t want to move, adding a second story can help you get more space to accommodate your growing family without giving up the lifestyle and connections you’ve already established in your area. 

Boost Your Home’s Value

Typically, your home’s livable space determines the property’s total value. For example, a single-story home may have the same per-square-foot price as a two-story home. However, the extra space on the second floor can increase the total value of your home. 

house floors

It Provides Better Views And Privacy

Adding another floor can provide you with stunning views that you would have never enjoyed if you chose to build a side or rear extension.

Even better, if you decide to add a nice deck as part of your second floor addition, you can have a relaxing lounge area with better privacy. 

Keep Outdoor Space Untouched

Another incredible benefit of adding a second floor instead of a side extension is that you keep your outdoor living space. You can get the space you need without sacrificing your outdoor area.

You can retain your landscaping or still have enough space for future outdoor projects, such as a pool or deck

Adding a second floor is also more beneficial if you don’t have enough space to build an extension on the ground floor. 

Redesign Your Home

On a more practical side, if your home needs additional space and repairs, adding a second floor allows you to hit two birds with one stone.

An entire second floor means that your ground floor will need to be upgraded to provide structural support to the second story. While these changes are being made, you can make the necessary repairs and designs to improve your home’s overall interior design and style. 

Adding A Second Story: 5 Steps To Follow

Adding a second floor comes with numerous benefits. If you’re convinced and wondering how to start, this section shares a few tips to consider. 

Understand Your Needs

As with any big project, you need to devise a plan. And it usually starts with a better understanding of your needs. 

Thus, you should survey your current situation and determine your family’s exact needs and wants. Involve your whole family at this stage so that they can voice their needs. For younger kids who can’t articulate what they want, observe how they interact with their current space.

Other than that, you need to consider several factors, including:

  • Zoning
  • Structural repairs such as foundation upgrades
  • Permits
  • Temporary accommodation (where you’ll stay during construction)
  • Interior and exterior design
blinding house

Find a Contractor

To help you better understand your needs, consulting with a reputable contractor is a wise decision. Hiring a contractor during the initial planning can make the process easier and help you design a home that suits your needs. 

When choosing a builder, you want to do your homework. Select a builder with enough experience in second floor additions to help you recognize and solve unique issues with the project and provide valuable insights. 

Always choose local contractors to help control costs, reduce delays, and ensure a prompt response when problems occur during off-hours. Local contractors also have a better understanding of local building codes and restrictions, which helps streamline the planning and designing processes. 

Aside from that, check for a good reputation in the community. Look for reviews from previous clients to gain insights into how they work. Ask about licenses, insurance, bonding, and warranties on their work. 

Decide On a Budget

Adding a second story to your home is not cheap. By understanding your needs, you should already have a rough budget in mind. Nevertheless, start gathering more accurate budget information. 

A simple online search can give you a general sense of how much building a second story will cost. Since the cost will vary depending on several factors, including design and location, it’s best to ask local contractors. So, as you search for a contractor to help with your project, make sure to ask for a rough estimate of what a second story addition like yours usually costs. 

These estimates may be vague, but they should help you determine what you can afford. As you pinpoint the necessary cost, you need to create a financial plan and a realistic budget. It helps you assess your financial situation and determine how much you’ll need to make the project happen. Also, when planning for your budget, include the necessary repairs and upgrades for a second story addition such as roof removal or foundation repairs. 

If you don’t have enough cash flow, you may consider getting a loan. You’ll have to talk with banking institutions and qualified lenders to get a better sense of how much you can get. 

second story

Design The Project

With a budget in mind and a reputable contractor by your side, you can start designing the addition. At this stage, you and your contractor will start brainstorming. You can share every design detail you want as your contractor provides suggestions and recommendations on how to make it happen. Your contractor will provide you with a detailed plan using modeling software to help you visualize the project before its built. You want to review the materials and make the requests and alterations you want. 

Wait For Your Second Floor To Be Completed

Once you’ve approved the final design, you simply need to wait for the project to be completed. You should be present during construction. Even if you’ve hired the best team, you want to ensure that the work is done properly and that you get value for your money. 

Supervising the project also allows you to make minor design changes and decisions on the spot, so you can create a second-floor addition you’ll truly love. 


If your home seems a little more cramped than usual, building a second floor can help you get extra space without having to move. While ripping the roof of your home and building a second-story addition may sound like a drastic way to gain space, it actually makes sense in various situations. This guide hopefully provides you with basic insights into what it takes to add a second floor to your home.

Author - Fred Felton
Fred Felton          

Content Creator / Editor

Fred Felton is a copywriter, editor and social media specialist based in Durban, South Africa. He has over 20 years of experience in creating high end content. He has worked with some of the biggest brands in the world. Currently Fred specialises in the wooden arts and crafts space, focussing on innovative wooden product design. He is also a keynote speaker and has presented talks and workshops in South Africa.


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