What to Consider before Adding a Second Storey to your Home

Adding a second storey can be a great way to add more living space and increase the value of your home. However, any house extension project will require some careful consideration and planning. Adding a second storey is a costly and complex project with the potential for much to go wrong. So, before you start planning for that upstairs area, we have a few factors you should consider.

Is a Second Storey the Best use of Space?

In many cases, building up isn’t the only option. Adding a back extension to the house can be a simpler and cheaper way to add extra space. Of course, this will cut into your backyard space, but if you have a large outdoor area, then this might not be a problem.

While there are plenty of benefits to having two storeys, it’s worth weighing up how much space you have to work with versus how much more living space you need.

Check Local Building Regulations and Permits

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Before you start dreaming about what your second storey is going to look like, save yourself some serious headaches by checking the building regulations in your area. Height restrictions or boundary setback requirements may apply and could affect your ability to get planning approvals.

These kinds of restrictions are usually in place to ensure everyone’s privacy and comfort, as well as preventing damage to existing infrastructure.

Check your Existing Foundations

Before starting on a second floor addition, you will need a builder or engineer to ensure that your existing foundations can cope with the weight of another storey. Your foundations may need to be reinforced to handle the extra weight, and this can add a significant cost component onto the renovation.

Consider the Design

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When it comes to designing a second storey, you are limited by the supporting structure beneath. The existing house structure must be able to support the upstairs addition. As with the foundations, the support structure can be reinforced, but this can be costly and time consuming.

You may also need to make changes to your ground floor to accommodate the second storey. For example, you may need to raise the height of your front door to prevent it from looking squat with the increased wall height.

Take into Account the Timeline

Construction or building renovation projects are not completed in a weekend. They take time and detailed planning. The addition of a second storey will likely turn your home into a building site for several months or even a year or more. If the design is particularly complicated, you could be looking at an ongoing project that takes years to complete.

Major construction at home can be incredibly disruptive to your family’s lifestyle. It’s important to seriously consider the proposed building timeline and make sure you are fully prepared for the disruptions and inconveniences that come with this.

Depending on your addition, it may be possible to remain in your home while the building is being done. However, this may not be the case for the entirety of the project.

As you think about your second storey, carefully consider the realities of living at home during a major renovation.

Consider Natural Light and Ventilation

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Finally, it’s important to consider how your additional storey will affect life on the ground floor. A taller building will cast a longer shadow and may mean that parts of your ground floor and backyard get less light than they did previously.

Similarly, you need to consider how natural light and ventilation will be incorporated into your second storey design. The second storey will usually get more sun than the ground floor. This can mean it heats up more quickly.

To stop your second storey from becoming uncomfortably hot, you need to work out how to let in natural light without overwhelming the space. Cross-ventilation is also extremely important.

Making big changes to your current home can be a great way to adapt the space to your growing needs. However, there’s a lot to consider if you’re thinking about adding a second storey to your home.

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