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Foundation Requirements for Adding a Second Story

If your house feels crowded and you can’t expand your house lengthwise then you might have to add a second story to your house. But it is no easy task because if you want to add another story to your house you will have to check the foundation of your house.

The foundation of your house supports floors and load-bearing walls. There is a limit to how much load a foundation can bear. If you want to add another story to your house you need to figure this out. A proper foundation not only holds a house above ground but also keep out moisture are insulating against the cold.

image - Foundation Requirements for Adding a Second Story
Adding a Second Story

Before a house is built engineers have to test the soil to determine how deep the foundation should be and how much weight it can bear. This is a very important step because if the foundation is weak then a house can collapse.

Once a house has been built and the owners want to add another story they will have to check the foundation. If the foundation can support it only then they can add another story. The foundation requirements for adding a second story can vary from one place to another.

The Importance of House Foundation

A foundation keeps the house secure on the ground, bears the load of the house, and stops it from collapsing. If the foundation of a house is weak then earthquake and flood and other natural disasters can damage the house. If you build a strong foundation for your house you can easily add another story on top of your house.

But if the foundation of your house is weak then it is wise not to add another story. You need to consult an engineer before adding another story to your house. If you are prepared, then the construction will go smoothly.


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Foundation Requirements for Adding a Second Story

Now that we have talked about the importance of foundation it is important to know what measures should be taken before you add a second story and what are the requirements are. Well, the foundation requirements for adding a second story are:

The Capacity of Existing Foundation:

If you want to add a second story to your house the first thing you need to do is check the capacity of the existing foundation. To test the capacity of the existing foundation you need to consult an engineer. If the tests show that the foundation is capable of bearing extra load, then you can start construction.

If, however, the foundation cannot support more load then you either have to tear down the house and build a stronger foundation or give up the idea of a second story.

Some of the things you need to check while examining the capacity of the foundation are- the general condition of the foundation walls, depth of existing foundation elements, etc. Once you are satisfied with the condition of the foundation you need to move on to the next step.

Current State of the Foundation:

While the capacity of the foundation is important it is also important to determine the current state of the foundation. Whether the foundation walls have cracked or the basement has been flooded is important in determining the next step.

Depending on how old the house is many things can go wrong. If the foundation walls are cracked, then the foundation cannot bear the existing load so you cannot add extra load on top of it. In this case, the foundation walls need to be inspected and repaired. New columns need to be installed if necessary.

On the other hand, if there has been flooding, molds could grow inside the foundation wall. Not only it can weaken the foundation but also some molds can be poisonous. So, the water needs to be drained and foundation walls need to be checked for mold. If any molds are found they need to be removed.

Design for Wind Resistance:

All buildings should have the capacity to resist wind pressure. For a new second story added on top of an already existing one-storey house, design for wind resistance can be complicated. While you are building a second story new framing should be properly tied down, to resist wind uplift forces.

Steel straps can be used to connect the second story to the first story. When you are building a second story it is very important to consider wind resistance otherwise any natural disaster can damage the newly build the second story.

Safety Measures

  • Before building a second story, check the foundation of your house. If the foundation needs repairing, then repair it. If the foundation cannot bear any extra load, do not build a second story.
  • Always consult an engineer before adding a second story to your house. Be very clear about what you want and listen to their professional opinion.
  • When the construction is going on it will be wise if you and your family find a place to dwell temporarily. It is not safe to live in the house while construction is going on.
  • No matter how prepared you are adding a second story can be unpredictable and expensive. You need to be prepared for everything. Also, you need to make a budget.
  • Be very specific about the design of the second story. It can be quite difficult to add another story on top of an already finished house but if you have got the chance to do so make it count.

Conclusion

Adding a second story to your house can be quite expensive and time-consuming. But before you start construction you need to check the foundation of your house and make sure everything is alright.

If you add a second story without checking the foundation your house will in danger of falling. Houses with weak foundation tend to collapse during earthquake or flooding. So, to ensure your family’s safety make sure the foundation requirements of your house is fulfilled before adding a second story.


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