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Old 07-10-2013, 08:57 AM
 
2 posts, read 6,088 times
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Default Add a room above a two story living and lower ceiling?

We are thinking about closing in our two story living room ceiling (around 30 ft?) to create a extra room upstairs. It will be about 300 sq ft room above the living, and the living room ceiling will become 13 feet tall. Has anyone done this? We do not care for the two story ceiling in the living room, worry about the thin balcony we currently have with young kids, and think the extra game room upstairs would be nice. In our house (1.5 story) it is a fairly simple upgrade with no roof changes. I would love to recommendations on a contractor who can do this, thoughts from anyone who has done something similar, and to see pictures (before / after) from anyone who has done something similar. Thanks!
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:07 AM
 
Location: McKinney
3,981 posts, read 3,199,163 times
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It's definitely not a "fairly simple" upgrade. The existing drywall will need to be removed where you want the new ceiling to be, and the new game room floor will have to be tied in to the existing wall studs, which may or may not be enough to support the extra weight. There will have to be new wiring for electrical, and that may require adding more breakers to your box to accommodate the extra circuit. You'll also need to build a staircase to access it, which is going to cut into the sq footage you think you're going to have. And since this is TX, you'll definitely need A/C up there, for which your current system might not be adequate.

My parents looked into doing this a long time ago with their house in Plano... That "simple upgrade" was going to cost them $25k... and that was over 15 years ago.
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:08 AM
 
Location: garland
484 posts, read 301,970 times
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You would likely need to add structural support along the floor perimeter for the new floor joists. If it's like most homes, that would involve at least two exterior walls which may very well be a costly endeavor. It would also involve re-routing hvac and electrical so your ground floor living room light switch didn't turn on the light in the new room above
Any way you look at it, it's not that simple of a change and would likely be a very expensive 300 sq.ft.
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:21 AM
 
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Do you have any walk in storage spaces that could be expanded for a gameroom?

I'd look at maybe moving before doing this. As previous posters said, it could be expensive. It could also be really odd looking depending on your floorplan.
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:26 AM
 
561 posts, read 685,839 times
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It's really not just a matter of adding a floor. That floor is not tying into wall structure like the other upper story flooring is. The typical process for residential building is to build the floor system (or use slab), frame a single story, add ceiling/floor joist system, frame the next story. In a home with multi-story rooms, the multi-story rooms skip that joist system and their frame ties directly into the top plating for the upper story frame. It's not a simple matter of just adding joists. Without the plating between floors, there's not a good way to tie in those joists to the existing structure in a way that the walls can bear the load of the floor. You would have to resort to beams, posts and/or an inner wall system on the lower story to accomplish this.

Basically, you can do it but it's probably going to be very expensive and uglier than you imagine. If you need more square footage and are really against just selling your home and finding a larger one, an addition at ground level will end up being cheaper, less problematic, and more stable.
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Richardson, TX
15,483 posts, read 13,426,961 times
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This isn't a simple upgrade. If you need the extra space, you may find it's cheaper (and easier) to move to a bigger house.
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:30 AM
 
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Ditto what everyone said: Add-ons are typically not aesthetically appealing and may actually diminish your home value to future buyers (I, for example, would never buy a house with an addition because I think they are obvious, and therefore, not appealing); you will need to add upstairs a/c in order to make it liveable for 5 months out of the year; the contractor issue is always a nightmare, not to mention, trying to live there while the work is being done; and finally, the work may not even be possible structurally. I would like to add that many suburbs around here require a permit to make any home improvements, so you will want to check with the city also. Good luck! if you decide to move instead, the good news is that the home inventory is down and homes are selling fast.
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:33 AM
 
2,277 posts, read 2,276,389 times
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But all the shows on HGTV said it was simple!!

As others have mentioned, this is not a simple upgrade. It's a huge project that will make you hate where you live until it's done. You will basically be building an addition, minus the roof and slab portions.

Consider, heating/cooling the space, access to it, costs for a structural engineer, cost of expensive LVLs to carry the load, cost of new windows and of course labor itself. Materials alone are often a deterrent to taking a project like this alone and easy to gather how much those cost. DO that first then tell us if you think it's simple!

Good luck, I would at the very least consider costs to move against the costs to execute on that project.
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Old 07-10-2013, 11:18 AM
 
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My wife and I have done full 2 story additions (turning one story home into full 2 story). We have done half story additions (kind of like what you are thinking of doing). We have also done adjacent additions where we have added a one or two story addition to the side of our existing home. The adjacent additions have by far been easier/cheaper with better ROI.

If the land is available to do it, I would really consider the adjacent addition option. As the other posters have mentioned, adding a second floor is usually not a trivial matter, and in my case, has usually resulted in a lot more destruction of existing house structure than anticipated.

That being said, the second/half story additions do have their place, and if it makes economic/functional sense, then go for it. Just make sure you know what you are getting into (cost and life disruption) before you start.

Personally, I will not do a second story addition again, but I am still open to half story additions.
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Old 07-10-2013, 12:39 PM
 
1,344 posts, read 893,122 times
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Quote:
If the land is available to do it, I would really consider the adjacent addition option. .
Drive through the older parts of any of the inner ring suburbs (Richardson, central Plano, Carrollton, Allen) and see all the horrible adjacent add-ons and don't do that. Hey a window that looks at the peak of the roof! That's really attractive! Any reputable contractor (find a big one and make sure they are licensed) can give you a good estimate on what will cost. If you can't afford that (imagine $25k and up), then don't do anything.

It's kinda funny that so many people have recommended moving. I'll leave comments about what that says about the value and future appreciation of the majority of DFW real estate to your imagination, but definitely highlights the generic-ness of the neighborhoods.

Also many have mentioned that this will wreck your house. There are plenty of extended stay hotels around the DFW area, you can easily find a basic one for $700 a month. Plan for a 2 month stay.
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