Should You Build a Full or Partial Second Story?

Do you want to add a second story to your home? This can be one of the most fulfilling of all home additions, giving your existing house up to twice its square footage in one fell swoop. But you aren’t limited to one type of second-floor addition. Homeowners can choose either a full second story or just a partial one.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each type? Learn what you need to know.

Why Choose a Partial Second Story?

The biggest advantage of only ordering a partial second-floor addition is cost reduction. Second-story additions are among the most expensive home projects due to the extensive work in adding the extra height and weight.

You may need foundation changes, inside support alterations, and ground modifications to allow it. Therefore, if you need to control costs, the best place to look is to reduce the size and scope of what’s being added.

The less weight you add to the home, the fewer of these structural changes you may need to make to support it as well. And a homeowner who only needs a little extra space or a specific room may not need to invest significant amounts of money in additions they don’t really need or may not fully utilize.

What Are the Downsides of a Partial Addition?

While limiting your second story’s scope does save a goodly amount of money, you will still bear many of the same costs as you would adding a full second floor. You may end up going to nearly the same — or exactly the same — amount of extra ground and support preparatory work. Therefore, the amount saved by a partial addition may not be cost-effective compared to what you’re already paying for.

Don’t overlook the aesthetics of a limited second floor. These often look best when added to what is already a split-level home or one with certain amenable architectural characteristics (such as existing Colonial features). However, simply placing a square on top of one part of the house could end up looking unwieldy if not designed well.

Why Choose a Full Second Story?

If you go to the extra effort and expense of building upward from your existing home, you may want to make the most of this project. That means getting the most additional floor space possible. After all, few homeowners want to tackle this renovation more than once. The homeowner should consider possible future needs to ensure they don’t create an addition that the family soon grows out of.

A full addition is also more likely to recoup the investment in terms of boosted home value for a future sale.

What Are the Downsides of a Full Addition?

As mentioned, the biggest downside is cost. Full additions may cost between $150,000 and $200,000. This is a big upgrade and may stretch some homeowners’ budgets. In addition, the types of rooms involved — such as additional bathrooms — can increase the price tag.

Depending on your original home’s structure, a full addition may not be easy either. If the house cannot support the extra weight, other options could be more cost-effective. For instance, adding a second story to the garage could be more attainable than pursuing a long and expensive set of upgrades on the main home.

Where Should You Start?

Clearly, you have no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Your renovation goals, the type of new rooms you want, your budget, and your house’s structure all factor into the equation. The best place to begin is by consulting with an experienced home addition renovation contractor. They will work with you to assess your options and find a great solution.

DesignFirst Builders can help. Our team has aided Chicago-area homeowners for more than 15 years. We can help you realize your home addition dreams as well. Call today to make an appointment.

Schedule a Free Consultation


"*" indicates required fields

Type of Project(s)*