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How Much Does It Cost To Add a Second Story (Or Floor)? (2024 Inflation Included)

Last updated 03/07/2024 by

Jamela Adam

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Depending on the size of your second-story addition, the total project cost can range anywhere from $80,000 to over $600,000. While adding a second story to your abode can broaden your living space and potentially increase the value of your home, it typically requires a significant investment upfront. If you need help affording the project cost, consider financing options like HELOCs, construction loans, and personal loans.
If you’re feeling cramped in your current living space due to a growing family or the need for a dedicated office, a second-story addition may be the solution you need. But how much does it cost to add a second floor to your home?
As with any home renovation project, the answer isn’t always straightforward since many factors can impact the cost, from the size of your home to the materials used to build the second floor. In this article, we’ll go over the costs associated with adding a second story to your home to help you budget for the project accordingly.

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How much a second-story addition costs

According to data from HomeAdvisor, adding a second story to your home can cost anywhere from $80,000 to $250,000 for a partial addition or $100,000 to $600,000 (or more) for a full second-story addition. On average, you should expect to shell out approximately $175,000 to cover the overall cost of the entire project.
Note that this amount can vary substantially depending on a number of factors, such as the materials you use and how big your second floor will be. In general, however, second-floor additions cost homeowners between $100 to $300 per square foot.

SuperMoney may receive compensation from some or all of the companies featured, and the order of results are influenced by advertising bids, with exception for mortgage and home lending related products. Learn more

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Cost breakdown of adding a second story

Are you considering adding some extra living space to your abode? Here’s a detailed breakdown of the costs associated with a second-story addition project:


Materials typically make up the largest portion of home remodeling project costs: up to 50% (and sometimes even more). According to Angi, material costs for a second-story addition will probably look something like this:
  • Siding: $3 to $12 per square foot
  • Roofing: $15 to $50 per square foot
  • Drywall: $0.40 to $0.65 per square foot
  • Insulation: $0.50 to $5 per square foot
  • Flooring: $0.5 to $15 per square foot
  • Plumbing: $4.50 per square foot
  • Staircase: $50 to $100 per step
  • Doors: $40 to $500 per door
  • Lumber: $1 to $5 per square foot
  • Electrical wiring: $6 to $8 per foot


While it is possible to tackle an entire building project without hiring contractors, it’s generally not advisable unless you’re an experienced builder yourself. Here’s how much you can expect to pay for professional help:
  • Carpenter: $15 to $40 an hour
  • HVAC technician: $50 to $100 an hour
  • Electrician: $50 to $100 an hour
  • Plumber: $50 to $200 an hour
  • Architect: $100 to $250 an hour
  • Interior designer: $50 to $200 an hour
  • General contractor: 10% to 25% of the total project cost

Building permits

Before building an addition to an existing structure, you will need a permit from your local building department. Your building contractor will typically handle this for you, but you should still expect to pay anywhere from $1,200 to $2,000 for the permit.

Potential foundation reinforcement

Depending on your home’s current structure and the type of second-story addition you’re planning, the foundation may not be strong enough to support the extra weight of a second floor. If that’s the case, you may need to hire a structural engineer to strengthen the current foundation. Foundation reinforcement costs can vary depending on your property’s characteristics, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $700 to $5,000, according to Bob Vila.

Adding a staircase

What good is a second story if you can’t even reach it? When budgeting for a second-story addition, make sure to include the cost of installing new staircases. According to Angi, the cost of adding a staircase can range from $953 to $3,271.

Shape and size of addition

The more square footage your second-story addition consists of, the higher the total project cost will be, as it will likely require more materials and labor. It’s also important to consider the types of rooms you plan on adding to the second floor. For example, a bathroom addition typically costs more than an extra bedroom because it requires more plumbing, vents, and finish work.

Pro Tip

Always check local building codes and homeowners association rules before starting your second-story addition project to avoid potential legal complications.

Type of second-story additions

Expanding on the point regarding size, the type of second-story addition you make to your home will affect the cost of the project.
  • Full-story addition: A full-story addition involves adding a complete level to an existing structure, essentially doubling your home’s square footage. This type of project typically comprises multiple rooms, including bedrooms, bathrooms, and sometimes a living area. Naturally, this will be your more expensive option.
  • Partial addition: Partial second-story additions consist of adding a new level to only a portion of the house, such as expanding your master suite or adding only a couple of rooms. These additions are generally quicker and less expensive.

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What you should know before adding a second story to your home

Before diving into your home remodeling project, you’ll want to make sure you’re 100% aware of what you’re getting yourself into. Here’s what you should consider before adding a second story to your living space:

1. Prepare to shell out some money

A second-floor addition is more than stacking rooms. According to Drew Mansur, director at TileCloud, who has years of experience as a project manager and contractor in the home remodeling industry, “Adding a second story is like crafting an entirely new home atop the one you have. Costs can spiral up into the six-figure range. Why so high? Imagine intricately merging new with old — electricals, plumbing, HVAC… It’s a jigsaw puzzle.”
Mansur notes that while your home’s market value might bump up after the remodeling project, you shouldn’t expect a full return on investment immediately: “Second-story additions are an investment in the home’s longevity and your love for it. So don’t do it if you plan to sell soonish.”

2. You may need temporary housing

Another point many people forget to consider is that home remodeling projects may require seeking temporary housing. As Mansur points out, “Constructing a second floor isn’t a silent affair. There’s a lot of dust and noise. Your power and water may be temporarily off, and you might find yourself without a roof, quite literally. It’s mostly better to find a temporary home until your real one is ready.”
If you’re lucky and have family or friends that live nearby, you can stay with them for a while and potentially save money on housing. In most cases, however, you may need to find an Airbnb or rent a temporary apartment. Remember to take into account the added cost of temporary housing when planning your budget.

3. Your first floor is getting a facelift too

Many people forget that when adding a second story, it’s not just the top floor that sees change; the existing floor will also require some tweaks. Mansur explains that you should expect structural changes, such as “reinforcing walls and adding columns to even just revisiting the decor so everything’s in sync.”
There’s also the new stair situation to consider. “Unless you want them outside, they need their space, and fitting them could mean reshuffling your beloved first floor. If the traditional stairway isn’t your style, you can go for a spiral one and save a lot in space and costs,” Mansur adds.

4. Don’t forget about building codes and zoning laws

Mark Buskuhl, the founder and CEO of Ninebird Properties, says, “Before adding a second story to your home, you should be aware of the building codes and zoning laws in your area. Local governments have specific regulations regarding the height, dimensions, and design elements of structures that vary from one municipality to another.”
Buskuhl emphasizes that many areas require a construction permit for any additions or modifications made to an existing structure, so it’s crucial to find out the rules and regulations in your area and ensure any changes you plan to make are compliant.


Is adding a second story worth it?

While adding a second story can be expensive, it can increase the square footage of your home without consuming an additional lot of space. This addition can add value to your home, especially in areas where land is at a premium. However, whether adding a second story is worth the investment ultimately depends on factors like your property’s structure and your local real estate market, as well as your personal needs and financial capacity.

Is it expensive to add a second story to a house?

The cost of adding a second story varies based on factors such as the house’s size, the design’s complexity, construction costs, etc. On average, you can expect to pay between $100 and $300 per square foot. Also, keep in mind that adding a second story often involves additional costs like electrical and plumbing system upgrades, structural reinforcement, and possibly temporary relocation during construction. Make sure to consult with a professional contractor to get a detailed estimate for your renovation project.

Are two stories the same as two floors?

Yes, in architectural terms, a two-story house typically refers to a structure with two floors above ground level, with one level stacked on top of the other.

Is it cheaper to build a two-story house?

Building a two-story house can often be more cost-effective than building a single-story house with the same square footage. This is because a two-story home can share the same foundation and roof, potentially reducing the cost of materials and labor. In other words, a two-story house is less costly to build per square foot than a one-story home. However, the total cost of building a two-story home will depend on a variety of factors, including design complexity, materials, and local labor rates.

Key Takeaways

  • The cost of a second-story addition varies based on factors such as the size of the second floor and whether you’re using high-end materials, but you can expect an average total cost of around $175,000.
  • Material costs typically make up the largest portion of a floor addition project, including siding, roofing, drywall, insulation, flooring, plumbing, staircases, doors, lumber, and electrical wiring.
  • Labor costs for carpenters, HVAC technicians, electricians, plumbers, architects, and general contractors can range from $15 to $250 an hour.
  • Additional costs to consider before starting your second-story addition project include building permits, potential foundation reinforcement, and the cost of adding a staircase.
  • Before adding a second story to your home, it’s important to consider necessary structural changes and compliance with building codes and zoning laws.
While adding a second story to your home may increase your property’s value down the line, it requires a significant upfront investment. If you don’t have a huge chunk of change saved up to pay for the home addition project, consider taking out a construction loan, a home equity line of credit, or a personal loan to relieve some of the financial pressure. If you need help getting started in your search, check out SuperMoney’s picks for the best personal loans for home improvement projects!

SuperMoney may receive compensation from some or all of the companies featured, and the order of results are influenced by advertising bids, with exception for mortgage and home lending related products. Learn more

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