Adding a Second Storey: All There Is To Know

brand new home addition

Has your home become too small since you purchased it? Have your needs and budget evolved since? Well, if you love where you live, but are just tight on space, adding a second storey might be the right way to remedy the situation. Your neighbourhood will remain the same and you won’t have to deal with having to move all your belongings into a new home.

Though, home additions are major projects. To ensure the project’s success, it’s best to do business with the best qualified contractors. Find all you need to know for a successful storey addition below.

Why Add a Second Storey?

First and foremost, adding a second storey adds living space to your home. But, why not take the opportunity to give your home more of an imposing look?

Essentially, you want to live in a bigger home that fits our needs and wants, without moving out of our current place. When moving into a new home, we usually move into a new neighbourhood with new neighbours and don’t really know what to expect of them. Plus, moving into a new space might even be filled with hidden defects. Both risks not everyone is willing to take.

When you know and like your home, know your neighbourhood and neighbours well, and are hesitant about moving into a new space, adding a second storey is likely to be the best option for you. Doing so can easily turn your current home into your dream home.

Working with qualified contractors is sure to make the entire process pleasant.

The Advantages of Adding a Second Storey

  • Greatly increases your living space
  • Avoids taking up space on your land
  • Offers up the opportunity to completely change the look of your home, especially its siding, to reflect current trends
  • Increase your property’s value
  • Avoids the hassles of moving (changing your address, welcome taxes, school changes for the kids, commute change, etc.)
  • Liberty to pick out your new space’s layout.

Unless you find the ‘perfect’ home on the market, there are high chances that you’d still need to get renovations done in the new space. So why not just make your current home all it can be and avoid the inconvenience of moving?

Full or Partial Addition?

A single storey home, like a bungalow, can usually be converted into a two-storey home or cottage. If you plan on adding a room to an existing garage, or adding a garage with a room above it, the process is a little different.

The 5 Steps to Adding a Second Storey

  1. Check with your municipality to ensure a home addition project is possible. This step also allows you to get informed on rules, regulations, and restrictions regarding this kind of project.
  2. Get a load calculation done to make sure your current home’s structure can withstand the extra weight. Our Renovation Advisors can find you the right expert to help you out at this stage. The expert will be able to confirm (or not) if you can go ahead with the storey addition. If ever adding a storey isn’t possible, other home addition options exist as well.
  3. Get plans drawn up by a technologist or an architect that isn’t hired by a contractor. This way, you’ll be able to get quotes from multiple contractors once the plans are done.
  4. Get quotes from qualified contractors, not just from anybody. Of course, you’ll want to be able to save on costs, but you’ll need to make sure you’ve found competent contractors first. Finding the best contractors for our clients is our specialty. We do so for clients hundreds of times a day.
  5. Compare quotes carefully. The lowest quoted price isn’t necessarily the best price. What kind of materials are the contractors planning on using? What’s included/excluded? What’s the finishing like? We can help you compare each quote to ensure your properly informed about the choices at hand.

How Much Does a Second Storey Addition Cost?

The cost to adding a second storey to your home can vary greatly depending on your home’s structure, where staircases are located, the desired finishing quality, your location, etc. If you want to drastically change the look of your home by changing its siding while you’re at it, costs will increase rather quickly as well. Costs truly depend on what you’re expecting as a finished product.

Here are the average costs we’re used to seeing our clients pay to add a second storey to their home:

Second storey addition (rough)

$258 to $324/sq.ft.

Second storey addition (turnkey)

$300 to $360/sq.ft.

To find out how much other kinds of home additions cost, take a look at our Home Additions Costs article.

How Long Does a Second Storey Addition Take?

Given the scope of the project, adding a second storey can take a rather long time. You’ll need to start counting the days from the moment you begin putting your ideas together. The plans alone can take, on average, 4 to 6 weeks. Then, it’ll depend on financing the project and getting permits. Afterwards, it’s all about putting everything together and getting the contractors to start working on the project.

Will I Need to Stay Elsewhere When the Work is Being Done?

Most of the work to be done can be done without you leaving your home. Though, your roof will be removed at the beginning of the project to allow to build the upper floor walls. You’ll therefore need to camp elsewhere.

Picking the Right Contractor for Your Home Addition

Undergoing a project of this scope requires a lot of time and energy, but it’s oh so worth it in the end! The key to a successful storey addition is to be surrounded by the right people right from the get-go. Of course, everyone wants to work with only the best and avoid any headaches! That’s why it’s imperative you get your structural assessments and plans done by highly qualified professionals.

Hire Independent Professionals

We strongly recommend you work with independent professionals when it comes to getting plans drawn up, when load calculations need to be done, etc. as they’re not tied to a specific general contractor. Getting independent professionals to do that kind of work means you’ll be free to get quotes from as many contractors as you’d like – thus being able to freely choose which contractor you’d like to work with. Hiring a professional with ties to a general contractor leaves you no choice but to work with them. If something goes wrong when working with independent professionals, you’ll be able to pinpoint where everything went wrong – whether it be the contractor or the architect or structural engineer’s fault.

Meet with More Than One Contractor

Be sure to get qualified contractors to quote on your storey addition project. Don’t just ask for quotes from anyone you can find. It’s a rather important project, so you’ll want only the best contractors in town. Meeting with more than one – we believe three is a good number – will give you a better idea of what your overall cost will be, as well as allow you to figure out which contractor is best for you. 

Ask Questions

Feel free to ask questions! A trustworthy and qualified contractor won’t shy away from answering any questions you might have. They’re also likely to put you at ease. You can ask them about their legal history, their licenses, insurance policies, warranties, etc. You should also ask for past client references. Take a look at our article on 13 Questions to Ask Contractors Before Settling on “The One”.

As adding a second storey isn’t a project that can easily be said and done, you can get in touch with one of our Renovation Advisors as well and they’ll gladly guide you in the right direction. Their experience is sure to help!

Who Can Help Me with My Storey Addition?

Our Renovation Advisors have thousands of projects under their belts. They’re highly qualified to help you and guide you, at no cost. They can answer any question you may have and help you get up to three quotes from Verified Contractors. This ensures that you get the best possible price (fairest price) from top home addition contractors.

RenoAssistance is here to minimize your risks when undergoing major renovations. Call us or fill out our form to get started! All at no cost, no obligation to you.

Live in Toronto? Here’s a Complete Guide to Getting Home Additions Done in Toronto

Happy Renovations Start Here!