Looking for a way to increase the size of your home? If so, you’ve probably pondered the idea of adding a second story to your one-story home.

Adding another floor to your home is typically considered one of the more costly renovations available to you. However, it doesn’t always have to be.

On average, you can expect to pay about $100 to $300 per square foot for a second story addition. In the end, it can be difficult to estimate the cost of building a second story until you’ve drawn up second story addition floor plans.

To help you prepare for your next big renovation, we’re going to talk about some of the factors that can play into second story addition costs. We’ll also talk about potential alternatives you may want to consider.

When Does a Second Story Addition Make the Most Sense?

Because adding a second story to your home can be a costly endeavor, it’s not something you should take lightly. There are times when adding a second story may not be the most cost-effective way to meet your needs. 

For example, you may want to create more space on your first floor for, say, a larger kitchen or open living area. Adding a second story will allow you to convert downstairs bedrooms into these common areas. However, it may make more sense to add an addition to your first story and leave the downstairs bedrooms intact. 

Typically, adding a full second story addition makes the most sense if you want to add more bedrooms to your home. Most second story additions include a master suite with an attached bathroom, a handful of smaller bedrooms, and another full bathroom in the hall. 

Factors That Affect Your Second Story Addition Costs

Some factors that affect the cost of a major renovation are out of your control. This can include things like your geographic location and your local housing market. 

However, there are some factors that are more specific to your property and your renovation plans that are worth considering. Let’s take a closer look.


Your second story addition floor plans will absolutely affect the cost of building a second story addition. Naturally, a partial second story addition will cost less money than a full second story addition. However, the layout and design you choose and how it impacts your existing property will also play a major role.

One thing many homeowners overlook when coming up with their design is the placement of a staircase. If adding a staircase will drastically impact the floorplan of your first floor, you’re looking at additional renovation costs. It is also noteworthy that bathrooms often cost more per square foot than bedrooms and living spaces.

Foundation Needs

In order to build a second story addition, you will need to have your property inspected. One of the biggest things your inspector will look at is how much weight your foundation is designed to hold. If it’s not strong enough for a second story, you will need to pay to have the foundation redone or reinforced.

(Note that if your foundation is strong enough for a second story, it is considered more cost-effective to build up rather than out. When adding space to your first floor, you will almost always need to have your foundation expanded outward.)


The quality of materials you use will impact the cost of your renovation–but so will the market. Right now, we’re seeing an international spike in the cost of building materials such as steel and lumber. Before you embark on your major renovation project, you may want to see how the current market will impact your budget.

Alternatives to Building a Second Story

It is entirely possible that a second story addition doesn’t best suit your needs. The good news is that there are smaller renovation projects you can take on that cost a fraction of the price. Better still, all of these alternatives have a great ROI, even if the increase to your property value isn’t as high. 

If doubling your square footage is not a necessity, take a look at these second story addition alternatives.

Loft Boarding

If your primary goal is to increase usable storage space, loft boarding may be the best choice for you. Loft boarding is one of the most affordable space-adding renovations you can take on. In fact, when you look at self storage vs loft boarding, you’ll find that this renovation costs less than other storage options. 

Accessory Dwelling Units

Accessory dwelling units are becoming a more popular option across the globe due to their multi-functionality. Many people use ADUs as apartments for relatives, guests, or renters, while others may use an ADU as a home office. Building an ADU is cheaper and less disruptive than adding a second story and can often achieve many of the same effects.

Garage or Basement Conversions

If one more spacious room is enough to suit your changing needs, you may want to consider a garage or basement conversion. This type of project can serve similar purposes as building an ADU. The primary difference is that while you have less flexibility in terms of layout, you don’t have to spend as much money for new-build labor and materials. 

Is a Second Story Right For You?

It’s not uncommon for homeowners to grow out of their homes. In some cases, a second story addition may be the perfect solution. We hope that our guide to second story addition costs–and second story addition alternatives–will help you find the answer to your space needs.

At the end of the day, we know that coming up with solutions isn’t always easy. That’s why we put together guides and how-to’s that will put your mind at ease and shed light on the right answers. Take a look around for more information that will ease your brain.

By Hemant Kumar

I am a zealous writer who loves learning, redesigning the information, and sharing the original content in an innovative and embellish manner. I hope you will find my work beneficial and entertaining. Happy Reading!