Do you need a lot of new space in your home, but don't want to move? Consider moving up in the world. Up a floor, that is. What's great about adding an additional floor to your existing home is that there are infinite possibilities for what to do with the added space, including extra bedrooms for your growing family or the master suite of your dreams.
Once you've decided to go vertical with your floor plan alteration, there are a number of important considerations to take into account. For starters, you need to know if your beams will carry the additional load of an added floor and whether the foundation of your home is strong enough to hold the extra weight [source: Garcia]. Also, you may need to consult an architect and a structural engineer about whether the interior walls will need to carry some of the additional weight and, if so, if they will need to be reinforced. Lastly, you may need a new roof to go with the additional level, though in some cases the old roof can be reused.
Additional considerations with a vertical addition include building the floor to withstand high winds in hurricane regions and seismic activity in earthquake zones. Finally, there may be zoning issues that would prevent the addition of an upper level. Every city is different in this respect, so be sure to check with your local zoning office.
"The addition of an upper level is a great option when you don't have the ability to expand laterally," says Omar Garcia of SOGA Construction. "More importantly, it's a blank canvas in terms of designing the space exactly how you want it, and that's extremely appealing for many homeowners."
Author's Note: 10 Ways to Alter Your Existing Floor Plan
In this article, I was surprised by the strong opinions people have about the layout of a home. Sure, we all live in them, but I wasn't prepared for the level of detail the average person has about the merits of kitchens that open to the dining space versus formal dining rooms. I was also surprised by the importance many people place on maintaining the original architectural features of their home, as if the builder of an historic neighborhood might roll over in his grave if we deviate from his design vision. Happily, after working on the piece, I too had come to know my inner architect, and there may be a vaulted ceiling in my future.
- Donaldson, Adam. Quality Decks, LLC. Personal interview. (April 26, 2012)
- Fowler, Mike. Fowler Architects. Personal interview. (April 26, 2012)
- Garcia, Omar. SOGA Construction. Personal interview. (April 26, 2012)
- Kavanagh, Tom. Capitol Realty Team. Personal interview. (April 26, 2012)
- Remodeling Magazine. "Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report 2011-2012." (April 26, 2012) http://www.remodeling.hw.net/remodeling-market-data/about-the-report.aspx
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