How Much Does Second Story Addition Cost?

In many cases, prosperity is often associated with the growing number of people belonging to a single household. And when one has to consider the ideal degree of comfort and sense of privacy that each household member must have, increasing the house’s interior becomes a necessary home improvement that is worth investing.

There are usually three options when it comes to adding another living space in the house. A homeowner would either ‘build out’ at the same ground level, ‘build underground’ with a basement, or ‘build up,’ with a second story addition. Among the three choices, most of the American homeowners are likely to opt for a cost efficient ‘vertical addition’ than risk lacking another space within the property’s limited overall square footage.

Between building a basement and building a second-floor addition, the latter seems to have the upper hand in terms of the year-over-year cost and value change. According to Remodeling by Hanley Wood Media, a mid-range basement remodeling has a projected annual increase of 3.8% in terms of overall cost and an annual increase of value (return on investment) of 3.3%.

By comparison, a two-story addition is estimated to increase by 3% per year and generates an annual increase of 5.6% in terms of real estate value. In other words, second-floor additions cost less and are worth more by comparison.

However, the reality of choosing between these options has more to do with the obvious ‘look and feel’ of the interior layout than the nuances of real estate economics. After all, raw numbers alone will reveal that second story addition costs far more than the average $40,000 worth basement.

Average Ballpark Figure

So, how much does it cost to add second story? The safest assumptions would depend on whether or not the homeowner would partially undertake the construction effort. In other words, one can reduce the cost by doing some of the work independently. However, it is important to understand that an entire second story addition is practically impossible to accomplish by oneself, especially considering the realistic timeframe it requires.

beautiful two storey house image

A selective DIY project could cost around $70 to $150 per square foot. If one chooses to completely rely on the professional contractors, the lowest average cost is $100 to $300 per square foot. The latter projection only reflects a conservative interior layout comprising of 2 to 3 bedrooms, a bathroom and a flight of stairs. Legal Eagle Contractors sum up the total estimated cost for an average 2,000 square foot house to be anywhere between $150,000 and $200,000

Professional Staff Costs

A significant portion of any homeowner’s second story addition cost would come from the cost of hiring contractors. As mentioned earlier, even the most skillful homeowners could only do a fraction of the entire workload needed to complete the second story addition within the limited realistic timeframe.

The initial phase of the 2nd floor building cost comes down to planning. Depending on the complexity of the proposed second story design, the homeowner may or may not require the services of an architect. However, the facts gathered by the inspecting structural engineer is crucial (and therefore non-negotiable) in terms of determining whether or not the house itself is predisposed to bear the weight of the second story.

  • Structural Engineer: $30 to $42 per hour
  • Electrician: $50 to $100 per hour
  • Carpenter: $70 per hour
  • Painter: $20 to $35 per hour
  • Plumber: $45 to $150 per hour
  • Architect (optional): 10% to 17% of the total project budget

Basic Building Components

Another aspect that comprises the majority of the spending is the expenditure for materials. Although it is virtually impossible to account for all the nuts and bolts needed to cover the 2nd floor building cost, there are certain components in the overall building layout one could point out for reference. These are some of the important items mentioned by Home Advisor and Fixr:

  • Door: $175 or more
  • Window: $300 to $700
  • Shingle roof: $80 to $100
  • Flooring: $1,185 to $4,396
  • Exterior wall (vinyl): $7 per square foot
  • Interior drywall: $9.80 per 4×8 foot sheet
  • *Interior staircase: $2,000 to $10,000
  • *Elevator: $10,000 to $50,000
  • HVAC extensions: $1,050

Personal Adjustment Cost

vector image of storey house

When people ask ‘how much does it cost to add second story,’ it is highly likely that they excluded the personal expenses they need while adjusting through the early and middle stages of the construction timeline. Second story additions are significant projects that may entail more than a fraction of the average American’s lifetime savings. Some practical homeowners who appreciate the worth of such investment are willing to make personal sacrifices in order to hasten the conclusion of the project. The earlier the construction is completed, the less likely the general contractor would charge extra costs for materials and upkeep.

As concluded by The Spruce, living within the renovated house can take a tremendous emotional toll on the part of the inhabitants – especially with the total lack of privacy. The presence of the inhabitants (especially children) would also contribute to the delayed work the contractors needed to catch up with the earliest projected deadline. Hence, the most logical course of action is to temporarily live elsewhere.

One of the first concerns mentioned by Do It Yourself is the budget needed for renting a living space (e.g. monthly fee). However, it is possible to avoid spending much on apartment leases if one would opt to live with the in-laws or any close relative for the time being.

Another vital aspect of temporary relocation is the storage of household items. Only a very small percentage of the personal belongings can be brought along when moving out. The bulk of the inventory (e.g. furniture, appliances, and ornaments) will have to be hoarded in a storage space. The budget needed to cover for this adjustment depends on the size necessary to keep all things in good condition. Go Banking Rates feature the average national cost for each storage space variety:

  • 5×5 foot unit: $40 to $50 per month
  • 10×15 foot unit: $75 to $140 per month
  • 10×15 (climate controlled): $115 to $150 per month
  • 10×20 foot unit: $95 to $155 per month
  • 10×20 (climate controlled): $170 to $180 per month
  • 20×20 foot unit: $225 per month

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