Second story addition is a more in-depth home improvement project. It involves adding an additional story to your house. The process of building a second story addition can be fairly complex depending on the structure of your home. However, there are several details that you should consider before starting the project.

A full second story addition covers the entire up part of your home. This type of addition tends to include several living spaces like a master suite, office areas, living spaces, and bathrooms.

On the other hand, a partial second story addition only uses a portion of the upstairs add-on. These designs tend to be one or two-room designs like a bedroom, office space, game room, gym, theater room, or just a big loft area.

Can you add a 2nd story to an existing house?

In most cases, you can build a second story onto your existing home.

It’s a good idea to get plans and estimates first before starting on a second story addition because of the complexity and second story costs involved.

If building a second story is feasible, here are a few questions you can ask.

Can My House Support a Second Story?

You need to find out if the actual project is something you can accomplish before you start. Some homes cannot be built to support a second story due to their design, the soil they sit on, or other factors. Structural work may be involved, which may be costly, but most homes can be made to support a second story.

Will My Building Codes Allow a Second Story?

It’s important to check with your local building codes and zoning laws to see if you can add a second story to your home. The whole process will be taken care of by an experienced contractor like us at BIL Specialties.

Where Will I Live During Construction?

Most people choose to live somewhere else while work is done. Sometimes you can keep living in your home through partial second story additions. This is done to ensure your safety and to make the project more efficient.

If you can get your home renovators to come at any time, have deliveries arrive into your driveway at any time, and use loud equipment at all hours of the day, then it’s a good idea. This will ensure that the project schedule is on time, which will result in less hassle for you.

Some people will be living with their family while their home is renovated. If the project schedule isn’t going to take as long to finish, others will get a temporary rental for a few months or stay in a hotel.

Before you get too far in the planning process, it is wise to have your plan and average cost figured out. It is possible that you will have to store your furniture. This will be determined by the plan you and your contractor have come up with. It’s a cost that might be a part of the second story addition budget.

Are there exceptions to the rule where I can live in my house during the construction?

The amount of dust produced by remodeling work is enormous. The work area can be isolated and walled off with partial second story projects. This will help keep dust and some noise isolated to the construction area. At the same time leaving the kitchen, bathroom(s), and some bedroom living space relatively untouched. A lot of times you can live in your home when a two-story garage is being built.

Which Features Will Maximize My Home Value?

The project will add value to your life and the value it will add to your home are two things you should consider.

You might need another bedroom and a bathroom, but you don’t know what the rest of the second story should be. It’s a good idea to talk with a real estate agent about the type of extra space the home buyers will most like to live in.

If adding a second story laundry room or a media room would increase the attractiveness of your home to home buyers then it’s a good idea to do it now.

A wise home addition contractor can help you find the features and rooms that are right for you.

You could start by looking at other homes that are similar to yours for ideas on how to make your daily life more convenient and comfortable.

How long does a second story addition take?

Factors that affect how long these projects take include the amount of work needed, weather, availability of materials, permitting, and changes.

You can expect 6 to 12 months for a full second story addition. It may be possible to complete a partial addition in 3 to 5 months.

What is the average cost for a second story addition?

Adding a second-story on a 2,000 square-foot house has a cost range of $200,000 to $600,000.

If you want a partial second-story in the 500-700 square-foot range, you can expect a cost range between $150,000 to $200,000.

It may seem odd that the second story addition cost for a partial addition will only be a little less than a full second-story addition. The reason for this is because many of the second story costs are the same when you add one room or three rooms.

Why does second story construction cost more per square foot than adding new space on the ground?

Several reasons: The addition of stairs in the house often requires significant changes in the downstairs space. There is also a lot of work to be done on the plumbing systems and A/C gear in the attic and walls.

Think about adding a partial second story over a garage?

A lot of people choose partial second stories, that add an office or an extra bedroom, and maybe a bathroom because they think it will be less expensive and hassle than a full second story. This might not be true.

Adding support for the second story, changing the layout of the plumbing and electrical, adding a new roof, and getting an architect’s drawings are things that tend to cost the most when doing a complicated project like this. If you’re doing a partial second story the costs don’t change much.

The cost range of the partial second story build is less than the full second story build, but the extra square footage of a full second story may not cost that much more. Sometimes, it’s wise to add a full second story instead of a partial one in order to maximize the value of the project.

There is also an attic conversion option you can look into also. Using your attic for a partial second story conversion might be a better option for your needs. We have a breakdown of what converting attic to living space looks like.

Second Story Addition Over Garage Costs

A new two-car, 24′ x 24′ garage with a loft above can cost up to $200,000, which is surprising to many people.

A one-car garage can cost up to $75,000, and a two-car garage will cost upwards of $175,000 if you add an apartment over it.

A garage that’s meant to hold your car isn’t as complex as a garage with a second story that’s used as a living space, and that’s how you end up completely an existing garage with a new one.

Will I Need a Roof Replacement?

Adding a second story to your home will require the removal of the roof. It is possible that you don’t have to replace it.

Depending on your home’s design and the way you want the second story to look, your contractor can remove the roof and add it back onto the framing of the second story once it’s constructed. This is a very good strategy if you want to save money on your roof, or if your roof is made of high-end materials.

What makes second story additions so expensive?

You may be wondering where the money is going now that you have estimates for the project. How much do the components of a second story addition cost?

Modification of the first floor.

Any contractor you speak to will tell you the additional cost of the project if the first floor has to be changed to accommodate the second story addition.

In some cases, the exterior wall of the first floor will need to be reinforced to support the weight of the new ceiling. The plans will often call for replacing the first story ceiling, windows, doors, and trim to match the new second story.

Plumbing/electrical/HVAC systems:

Adding a second story will require the relocation or expansion of the existing systems, which can be a complex and expensive task.

The plumbing and electrical wiring may have to be changed to comply with the new code.

Exterior construction:

The plans can also have deck additions such as exterior decks, rooftop decks, and wrap-around porches included which can add a significant expense. The project can include re-configuring landscaping, fencing, and other work.

Foundation work:

It is necessary to ensure safety and stability for the new second story.  In some cases, the existing foundation needs to be reinforced to support the new level, but this can definitely add a lot of time, cost, and challenges to the project.

Second story addition plans

A second story addition is a complex project that needs the skills of a professional interior designer or architect. If your new second story is not adequately supported, your design team may need to bring on an engineer.

You can choose between a design-build company with architects and designers in-house or a stand-alone architect.

Before this process can start, you need to review floor plans and discuss your preferences with your budget in mind.

The needs and wants your family came up with should be the focus of the project design process.

You can use virtual-reality technology to see your remodeling project before it’s built. You will get a better picture of the final design if you physically review materials and finishes before making a final decision. Don’t hesitate to suggest alterations or additions.

If your designer or architect points out issues that you may not notice, that is a good sign. These can include innovative ideas about how to use the second story’s extra space. They might even have a more cost-effective layout that could save you money.

Does adding a second story add value?

You as the homeowner can only answer the question of whether a second story addition is worth the time, expense, and hassle. We suggest asking yourself some important questions to see if you are a good candidate for a second story project.

Do you have a good relationship with your neighbors?

Do you like your local schools, parks, and shops?

Are you a fan of the idea of remodeling and construction?

Do you like seeing a project take shape and then seeing the design come to life over time?

Do you have the time to plan, and design the renovation, or do you need the extra space immediately?

Do you enjoy the idea of making changes to your home in order to make it better, knowing that they will be appreciated and valued for a long time?

If you are willing to have a construction project last at least a few months then building a second story to add space and square footage might be the right decision for you. We suggest looking at the 2 story homes in your area. Compare them to the price of the addition. If the second story addition is within your budget, it can definitely be creative to add square footage and value to your existing home.

If the project costs are higher than buying a new home, then it may be better to sell your current home and buy a bigger one. Also if you are in a time crunch then buying a new home with the additional square footage you need would be a better way to go.


Is a second story addition right for you?

Adding a second story to your home can double your home’s square footage and make it twice as functional and beautiful. It is a huge undertaking, and you don’t want to take it lightly. 

There are many options, prices, and decisions that determine whether or not adding a second story to your existing home is a solid investment. 

If you are interested in any other type of addition check out our list of 12 Room Additions That Can Increase Value & Space in Dallas Metroplex.

What is your motivation for adding a second story addition?

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  1. You helped me a lot with this post. I love the subject and I hope you continue to write excellent articles like this.

    1. So glad it was helpful. Please contact us if there is anything we can help you with. Have a great day!

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