Deciding upon Building a Room Addition versus a Second Story AdditionBy Mark J. Donovan
Question: Mark, I have a one story home with a basement but want to expand my home outwards but not sure if it can be done and if its cheaper for me to build out or up....would love to have some ideas of what to do..thanks
Answer: Tony, To expand your home outwards first check to see if you have the space, making sure you meet all required setbacks from property lines and easements. Your best bet is to go speak with your local building inspector to see what the property issues may be to expand outwards. For example, if you have waterfront property on a lake you can only use a certain percentage of the land for building surfaces, e.g. 25%.
Building outwards often allows you to continue to live in the home while construction occurs. Building up is not always the case. Often you need to move out for several weeks if you plan to build up. Also, if building up, the roof of the house has to come off, which means added expenses. Also, you need to see if the existing single story frame is strong enough to support a second story, e.g. 2x4 walls vs 2x6 walls. Often the ceiling joists need to be beefed up by sistering larger sized lumber to the existing ceiling joists.
I have a number of articles on building additions, and building second story additions. See: