Adding a Second Story

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  #1  
Old 07-28-03, 05:44 PM
jcmjrt
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Adding a Second Story

My husband and I are seriously researching adding a second story to our home. We've wanted a master bedroom suite and the only real space is up and we'll have a view of the Bay from the second floor. We live in the SF Bay area so land is at a premium and housing prices are exorbitant to say the least. I'm retired USN and have time to work. My experience in the Navy leads me to believe that there's nothing that I can't learn to do. We've gutted (out to the studs and replacing some studs) and successfully remodeled a bathroom. I was thinking that I would hire a carpenter to assist. What resources would you recommend? Any other forums? How about books which would be helpful? I'm just starting the process so words of wisdom are welcome.
 
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Old 07-28-03, 07:29 PM
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I just finished doing this exact thing for a customer last week.
There are a great many details to attend to in a job like this. and, far too lengthy for this forum. However, what I am about to tell you, I want you to think seriously about. Your husband also.
This is not only a building project, but also a state of mind project.
I like your spirit and your positive attitude. I can say that you will probably be able to pull it off.

Yes, get yourselves a carpenter. Perferably one in his 50's with 20 or 30 plus years in carpentary. You can interview several if you like, but in addition to their experience, you need to look at their personality. It must be one, both of you are comfortable with. If they have a sense of humor, this is great. This type of job will be stressful. Now when you are choosing one, tell them up front what you want to to, and that you folks would like to help out also. Let them know you do not have alot of experience, but are willing to learn from them.

You are also going to need a set of plans. An arch or draftsman will be needed to draw up a set of plans. Follow your codes, and also check with your local permit section to make sure your codes are correct.

Look upon this as a journey and above all, have fun doing it. It is not going to be cheap, so have your money ready. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me. Good Luck
 
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Old 07-29-03, 12:46 PM
jcmjrt
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Jack,
Thanks for you words of encouragement. I'm definitely hoping to find the person that you describe. We are talking to an architect and plan on having engineering drawings. I don't want to have to figure out the structure as I go.
 
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Old 07-29-03, 07:32 PM
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Your on the right track. Keep up the good work.
 
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Old 07-29-03, 11:07 PM
L
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jcmjrt, What Jack told you is absolutely true. You need to be comfortable with the carpenter -- you're gonna be puttin' up with him (or her) for a while.

Permit? THAT'S a no brainer -- this is CA. You do much more than paint a wall without a bldg. permit, and you will be gettin' sued!! (And, you paint it the wrong color, and you just might get sued anyway!!)

'Frisco -- there is no such thing as building 'out'. your only choice is 'UP'. One more coat of paint would be encroaching on the neighbors!

It's GONNA' be stressful (like at least 20 years in the Navy wasn't??). I agree with Jack -- you're ready for this. After all,

"It's not JUST a job, it's an ADVENTURE!!"

(I did 4 years -- '69 to '73 -- I KNOW about the adventure!!)
 
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Old 07-30-03, 09:49 AM
bungalow jeff
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Of course, I feel much better about jcmjrt's chances of success than the average "I wanna GC the job myself, what's a hammer?" posts.
 
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Old 07-30-03, 10:29 AM
jcmjrt
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Yes, I think that the correct carpenter will be a key to making the job easier (not easy). The local architect that we are talking with says that the agency that we will have to deal with for permits is definitely owner/builder friendly...something not necesarily true for their dealings with "professionals". I definitely plan on getting the permits. I think that it will be stressful but can't think of any new job that isn't. An adventure is correct! I'm hoping that I can minimize the stress part with some good planning which I feel that I have time to do since I'm looking at a next summer start to build date. Not time to lolligag but time to do the work. I appreciate the support and if any of you do have recommendations for other resources (books, videos, classes) please feel free to pass them on.
 
  #8  
Old 10-27-04, 07:28 PM
coppolac
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adding a second floor

Hey Jack... loved the encouragement and good advice you gave. I'm in the same boat in Fairfield, CT. The housing prices are so high (550,000 to 3mil) if I sell I'll make the same as if I built up and sold and would have to dish out another 500K to find something better. My question is to add a second floor to a my 50s style ranch (24x34) without removing the ceiling. The foundation and main beam will support it, but I have old 2x4 trusses at 24oc in the attic. Would I be able to sister in the 2x10 or 2x12 floor joists above the ceiling without ripping down the drywall? Eventually I may re-do alot of the 1st floor layout, but I recently put in an entire new kitchen and would prefer to not demolish if I can.

Thanks!
Chris C
 
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Old 10-27-04, 11:41 PM
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Chris,

A couple of issues which you didn't mention. Is there going to be plumbing upstairs? What do you have for heating now? I assume you have overhead lights which means that wiring is coming through your top plates - interior and exterior walls. Also are you in favor of soffits or not?

There are different ways to tackle the project as you wish not to disturb the ceiling. With existing ceiling joists at 24" O.C., sistering will probably not be accepted depending on spans (again an unknown). I personally don't like going 24" O.C. with any floor system. I would have to install 2 layers of flooring for this idea at a minimum plus solid blocking. Allot of extra work and money! Others have done it but I don't like to chance any deviation within the floor system. More chance of a "bounce" effect. Roofing at 24" O.C. is one thing, floors are another. One major issue is that the span of dimensional lumber decreases by the framing distance, 12" O.C., 16" O.C., etc.. So if the framing of the floor system is 16" O.C., a 2x10 for example would not span the distance if done at 24" O.C.. Too much deflection.

You could install additional 2x blocking between the existing joists (3). This would be done on all top plates. This gets the new floor above the existing ceiling joists so all that is in place, wiring, ceiling and junction boxes do not have to be removed and relocated. Then lay a new floor joist system on top of this. New exterior wall sheathing will lock the new rim to main floor top plate and/or existing main floor walls.

The use of 2x10/12's is OK depending on spans. If need be, use TJI's if spans are questionable with dimensional lumber. The issue with this is you will have to consider soffits for any plumbing. Heating may be another questionable area. A good HVAC tech can assist with this.

The alternative is to do what I first mentioned and use web floor trusses. This would make it easier but the cost would go up. If you have F/A, you can run your vertical trunks up through a chase on main then branch off within the web truss area as you need to. They will work great for any plumbing as well. So if you have hot water heat, you have room to install with no worry.

That's a start for you, all without touching your existing ceiling. ( which I hope it isn't sagging) That would require another method to resolve.

Hope this helps!
 
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Old 10-29-04, 09:10 PM
L
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Adding a second story to an existing single story home starts right at the bottom, with the foundation. If your present foundatation won't support a second story, you either have to beef it up, or scrape the whole idea.
 
  #11  
Old 11-02-04, 10:21 AM
coppolac
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Adding Second Story

Thanks for all who have written back, great ideas.
Here's some more info;
The foundation is poured concrete and fine for the 2nd floor. (others have gone up on the street and they're all the same).
The spans from outside walls to center beam is 12'.
I have hot water baseboards for heat. Would make chase for pipes.

The idea for adding blocking on the outside walls is the best idea I have heard yet! That would raise the entire 2nd floor above the ceiling. One question though, because my ceiling is made up of old hand made trusses, the lower part of the truss, is made up of multiple, lapped 2x4s (not one continuous). The ceiling isn't sagging, but when the top structure of the truss is removed - it might. Could they be supported in some way? (I know it sounds like way too much effort, but humor me)

Thanks again guys -
Chris C
 
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Old 11-02-04, 12:20 PM
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Chris,

On behalf of everyone, You're very welcome!

Well you said it, "Humor me". Here goes. As I thought you would be asking this question as my last statement was,

"That's a start for you, all without touching your existing ceiling. ( which I hope it isn't sagging) That would require another method to resolve."

In the demolition process, you would be cutting existing ceiling joists and/or rafter tails, which may or may not be actually part of your existing soffit. The new placement of the second floor joists can be directly above the existing ceiling joists or just off to one side by 1 1/2". What would happen is a vertical placement, every 2 feet along each existing ceiling joist a 2x4. This would be done to hold up the existing ceiling joists to prevent sagging of the existing ceiling. With a laser level placed downstairs and a padded post on top of a jack, the ceiling can be checked for level, jack it up to whatever distance is required, a guy can install the 2x4 vertical upstairs, tying the existing and new floor together. This usually takes 4 guys or less, to make sure that things are level. I used to have the vertical 2x's pre-cut and then have one man up, one man down. The laser would sound when exact and with the use of a voice activated radio, you can easily advise the upper man to nail it. Done deal. Was this clear enough. In my head I can see exactly what I have done but explaining it can be tricky.

When I was a General Contractor, I was specializing in second story additions. Not many know how to plan and augment the crews accordingly to do second stories in a manner that requires minimal time to shell in a structure. Coordinating all this with the weather is another issue. I preferred to do second stories during the winter.(Minnesota boy) I'd rather sweep snow than deal with rain, regardless of the use of large tarps. Let's face it, there are different ways to do any project, This was just one of the ways. Some methods take longer, some take less time but always they must be done right and look great when done. In my experience, years of experience is not important as the one critical question, have I learned anything during those years? I can proudly say I have and am still learning. I know what has worked and what hasn't to date. I gave one example but it is not the only way. Depending on what flooring system is used, i.e. dimensional lumber, TJI's, web floor trusses, each application can vary.

Does this help.
 
 

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