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Adding a second story

Posted by Bruce M on October 26th, 1997 01:54 PM
In reply to Adding a second story to my house by John on October 25th, 1997 11:04 AM [Go to top of thread]

Hi John:
Don't know about Bob V's shows, but second stories have been added to a couple of the This Old House projects. Might want to check your local library's to see if they carry the old videos for TOH and/or Hometime.

A few points you must consider, though. First and foremost is the foundation. If you are lucky, it was overbuilt and will carry the added weight of a second floor. I would get the basement (or crawl space) wall width, composition (poured vs. cinder block) and footing width and depth, then take this to the local county building department to see if it is structurally strong enough. No use going further if it isn't.

You will need to make a scale drawing of your existing floor plan to determine where your weight bearing walls are and therefore where your second floor weight bearing walls (if any) must be located, as well as plumbing fixtures such as toilets, sinks, showers, etc. As a general rule, things need to vertically line up.

Final thing to look at are the existing ceiling joists....usually 2X4's or 2X6's. These will have to be beefed up. If you have rafters now, you can sister on larger 2X lumber to the ceiling joists to make them strong enough to become floor joists, trimming their ends to fit new platform framing for the second floor. If your house was built with trusses (and will thus be removed when you start your second floor), you may have to platform new 2nd floor floor joists, thus requiring the removal of your existing ceiling, although this will depend on how the existing trusses are built.

I've done a second story addition once.....and it was a lot of work but worth it in the long run.

Best wishes

Bruce M

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