Considerations to Make When Getting a Second Story Addition

Considerations to Make When Getting a Second Story Addition
Published June 17, 2022 by Rob in Articles, Blog

When your growing family needs more room at home and you don’t have enough land space for an extension, a second-story addition may be your only option. 

But before you start planning anything and contacting a general contractor, you should make sure that your foundation can support the addition that you’re planning. What many homeowners do not know is that most foundations for homes with a single story aren’t reinforced enough to provide support for the weight of an additional story. The good news is that there are ways to fix that. 

Here’s everything you need to know about adding a second story to your home: 

Structural Requirements

The first thing you need to do is contact an engineer or a contractor who specializes in your area to assess the structural integrity of your foundation. This will ensure that the two added stories won’t be too heavy for it to support.

The engineer will likely recommend underpinning your foundation to make sure that it can safely support the additional weight that will be added.

Underpinning refers to the process of installing some type of support between your foundation and the ground in order to distribute the weight that will be added to the foundation. There are two types of underpinning:

Full Underpinning: A full underpinning involves drilling into your foundation and installing a series of steel posts. These posts will be connected with a network of steel beams and plates. This type of underpinning will bear the entire load of your home and its new addition.

Piering: Piering is another way to support existing foundations. Piers are vertical support members that are driven into the subsoil below the foundation. These piers will support the existing foundation and will help disperse the load that the foundation will bear to the soil below.

In some cases, both full underpinning and piers may be recommended to make sure the foundation is capable of supporting an additional two stories.

What Considerations Do You Need to Make?

There are also other factors to consider when adding an additional story to your home. Things like:

The Condition of Your Floor Joists

The first thing that you need to consider is the condition of the floor joists under your current home. Your floor joists will also need to support the additional weight of an additional story. If they can’t, they will likely need to be replaced before you start construction.

The Location of Your Home

If your home is located in an area that is susceptible to flooding and high winds, you will need to make sure that your home has the right type of foundation and is resistant to these types of natural disasters.

The Width of Your Home

Another important thing to consider is the width of your home. Most homes have a standard width of 12 to 16 feet. The structural engineer will need to know the width of your home and the length of the additional story to gauge the weight that will be added to the foundation.

Your Local Building Code

Finally, you should check with your local building code agency to make sure you’re in compliance with the building and construction codes.


If you want to add an additional story to the home that you already own, it may not be as difficult as you think. It is important that you consult with an engineer or general contractor to assess the structural integrity of the foundation under your home before you plan an addition. This will ensure that the new addition is structurally sound and safe for your family.

Incredible Homes is one of the best home remodeling companies in Houston, TX, that can handle your second-story addition or any project you want to do with your home. Contact us today to learn more about our home remodeling services!