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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Construction & Renovation > Second Floor Addition

Second Floor Addition Cost

How Much Does a Second Floor Addition Cost?

average costMedium: Partial Do-It-Yourself Can Run $100,000-$225,000high costHigh: Hiring a Contractor Can Run $225,000-$450,000
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Building a second floor (also called a second story) can added much-needed space, but costs at least 20 percent more than building the same square footage at ground level. However. if you don't have the land to build out it can make sense to go up.

Typical costs:

  • A selective do-it-yourself approach -- doing as much work as possible yourself and acting as your own general contractor when you need skilled subcontractors to do specific work -- can be difficult and time-consuming, but can bring the cost of a second floor down to about $70-$150 a square foot, or $105,000-$225,000 for 1,500 square feet, depending on how much you are able to do on your own or can save by contracting directly with subcontractors. A Virginia homeowner[1] with some construction experience spent about $100,000 to add a 1,300-square-foot second floor (master suite with spa bath and walk-in dressing rooms plus home office space), or about $77 a square foot for a project that took six months.
  • Hiring a remodeling contractor to build a second floor addition can run $100-$300 a square foot for the typical addition (2-3 bedrooms and a bath plus a flight of stairs), but can go as high as $400-$500 per square foot depending on complexity, quality of materials and local labor rates. That works out to $225,000-$450,000 or more for 1,500 square feet. A California family[2] spent $300,000 on a six-month project building a second story over most of their house, including an octagon-shaped turret above the garage.
Related articles: Bedroom Addition, Bathroom Addition, Home Addition, Attic Remodeling, Basement Remodeling

What should be included:
  • Each city or county has its own requirements for how much square footage you can add based on the amount of land. Better Homes and Gardens provides an overview of legal remodeling requirements.
  • provides a video[3] illustrating the process of raising end walls for a new second floor addition and gives an overview[4] of a successful second floor addition.
Additional costs:
  • You need to determine if your home's existing foundation will support the addition or need to be reinforced; consulting a structural engineer can run anywhere from $200-$700 or more, depending on what's needed and rates in your area. You will also need blueprints for the addition. Hiring an architect to create a set of plan drawings could cost you a flat fee of $700-$10,000 or more, depending on size and complexity, or the architect may charge 5-15 percent of the project's costs.
  • Books[5] about how to plan (and survive) a home addition run $10-$35 or more, or may be available at your local library.
  • Usually an addition will trigger a reassessment of your property taxes and a resulting tax increase, but in most areas the reassessment will only be on the value of the addition, not for your entire house. A large addition can also increase your monthly utility bills.
Shopping for a second floor addition:
  • Gather examples of second floor designs and details that appeal to you. Architects and contractors in Georgia[6] , Illinois[7] and Utah[8] display photos of successful projects.
  • The National Association for the Remodeling Industry provides an online booklet with tips[9] for hiring a contractor, plus contractor referrals[10] .
  • Check whether a contractor is licensed[11] in your state, and whether there are any complaints with the Better Business Bureau[12] . A written contract should include a detailed outline of the work required and materials used, dates within which the project will be done, and a payment schedule.
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