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Growing into your Home: Planning for a Two-Story Addition

As your family grows and the years pass, your needs will change and the way you use your home will, too. You might find the smaller home in the neighborhood you love is a bit too cramped for your teenager clamoring for his or her own bathroom. Or maybe the lack of a separate TV room makes family movie night difficult. In this case, moving isn’t your only option – you don’t necessarily have to settle somewhere else. A properly designed and built addition can solve a growing family’s needs for many years.

Two-Story Addition

The Wentworth team has designed and built numerous home additions for clients, ranging from one-story rear wings to more complex two-story additions. One of our recent two-story addition design-build projects in the Washington, DC metro area involved a two-story brick colonial built in the mid-1950s, with modest requirements. The kitchen was only 8’x12′, the only eating space was a formal dining room and there was no family room (the concept of a family room was not yet prevalent when the home was built). Because the home had a large lot, it could easily accommodate a major two-story addition. Contact us to discuss your project, or keep reading to learn more about this home addition project!

Two-Story Addition Design-Build Considerations

While a home addition is a project best executed with the guidance of an experienced architect or design-build team, the following is a list of the steps we suggest following when deciding whether to build an addition to your home.

Zoning & Homeowner’s Associations

Because every neighborhood has different zoning restrictions, you should investigate the restrictions that impact you. Such restrictions may include backyard, side yard, and front yard setback requirements, all of which may impact the design of your addition. You can check with your local government or ask your architect to help you with this research. Additionally, your neighborhood may also have special considerations related to a Homeowner’s Association or a Historic District.

Your Home Addition Design Program

We suggest preparing a written outline of your requirements for your home’s expansion. This outline should address your functional and space needs, aesthetic issues and any special requirements you have for your two-story addition. It’s important this new space fits your lifestyle and solves the problem particular to your family’s needs. We’ve also found it helpful when clients assemble photos of projects or homes that illustrate how they want the addition to look. Photos of projects that show your design preferences provide your design team with a sense of your taste, ensuring the design matches with your vision.

Home Addition Construction Budget & Fees

If you are organized with your design program and your requirements for the project, your two-story addition design-build team will have an easier task of establishing a budget range. We always encourage homeowners to remain realistic about the budget so there is minimal disappointment down the road.

We know from experience that trying to do too much work with too little a budget will result in poor quality construction; unfortunately, cheap, fast and good quality do not go together in the real world. If your budget is tight, it is always better to do less remodeling. Finally, based on the scope of work for the home addition project, your design-build team can also establish architectural & design fees up front.

Home Addition Design

An experienced design-build team will give you the best mix of thoughtful design and cost-effective solutions. At the outset, your architect/designer will meet with you to gather pertinent information related to your two-story addition project. The team will then develop alternate design solutions. Preferably three design schemes should be presented to you in the form of floor plans and interior and exterior elevations. More than one perspective drawings can give you a good sense of the design. Depending on the design, products and materials will also be discussed during the initial design phase.

Home Addition Construction Drawings

Once you’ve selected a design, your design-build team will prepare detailed and thorough construction drawings of your two-story addition. The drawings will include documents of all products, materials and finishes. Floor plans will be carefully dimensioned, and all interior and exterior walls will be drawn in elevation with dimensions and annotations. Building details and all requirements will be documented. Thoroughly detailed drawings allow your design-build team to provide a fixed-price construction contract and more easily apply for a building permit.

Structural Engineer

A properly planned two-story addition will involve the expertise of a structural engineer who coordinates with your architect in the design of footings as well as floor, wall and roof framing to develop a structurally sound home addition. Oftentimes, the integration of a new addition with the existing building has certain structural requirements.

Permit to Build

After the design-build team has reviewed the final drawings with you, it’s time to authorize the application for a building permit. The permit for a two-story addition can take anywhere from three to six weeks, though the time will vary significantly with each jurisdiction. Typically the local jurisdiction requires that your architect sign and seal the plans. The structural engineer is often required to sign and seal the structural detail drawings as well.

Once the permit has been approved and you have signed your two-story addition construction contract, your design-build firm can schedule the start of the project.

Interested in adding a second story to your home? Call Wentworth’s addition builders in Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia today about our home design-build services!

“ Wow! I am incredibly proud of you and the kitchen. Congratulations! Yay! ”

Nina, Southwest Washington, DC
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240.383.1226