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Old 06-13-2012, 03:27 PM   #1
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2nd floor addition


I have purchased a 1200 sq. ft. bungalow that has existing 8 ft interior ceiling height. I am planning to add up and will be ripping off the old roof. My question is: Is it possible to add a foot to the existing main floor ceiling height by framing a pony wall on top of the existing exterior walls before adding the second floor floor system and framing? This is preliminary, and if it can't be done, it can't be done and we will live with existing ceiling height.

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Old 06-13-2012, 03:58 PM   #2
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There are simply too many variables in your question to be able to give you a direct answer.

I would suggest starting with talking to an Architect and/or residential designer to find out what you can do with the house to get what you need.

They will inspect and measure the present condition of the house and should be able to come up with some suggestions that could work for you.

They may have to work with an engineer on the project.

Andy.

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Old 06-13-2012, 04:01 PM   #3
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Funny you should mention it, we are meeting a residential designer on Monday. I thought I would get a leg up on my questions prior to.Thanks again.
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:26 PM   #4
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2nd floor addition


A residential designer in most cases would be the wrong person to be talking to.
There just going to be able to draw you some pretty pictures.
A real engineer will be looking at things like the soil, the foundation, how your walls were built.

I've never understood why people would buy a house with the intention of adding a second story as soon as they buy it.
Unless it's free, the cost ends up being about the same as if you built a two store house from scratch.
The house you just bought can not even be lived in until it's at least dryed in on the second story. A very real chance of the lower level being damaged from rain while the top floor is open.

Why would you want 10 ft. high ceilings? Cost more to heat and cool, and will add a tremendous amount to the cost.
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:58 PM   #5
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2nd floor addition


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marmotman
I have purchased a 1200 sq. ft. bungalow that has existing 8 ft interior ceiling height. I am planning to add up and will be ripping off the old roof. My question is: Is it possible to add a foot to the existing main floor ceiling height by framing a pony wall on top of the existing exterior walls before adding the second floor floor system and framing? This is preliminary, and if it can't be done, it can't be done and we will live with existing ceiling height.
Yes you can add 1' on top of your existing top plates. We do it all the time. We don't frame any walls. We use 3-1/2"x12" lvl's on top of the plates. Ask your architect or engineer about it and see what they say.
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Old 06-13-2012, 05:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
A residential designer in most cases would be the wrong person to be talking to.
There just going to be able to draw you some pretty pictures.
Oh now you are just killing me.

Some of us actually do know something about building AND can do some pretty pictures. LOL.

I was a licensed GC here in Calif. for about 10 years and am thinking about renewing it.

Many jurisdictions already have data on the soil capacities of the area your house may be in, and have a prescriptive solution for most kinds of residential construction. Here in Orange County most do anyway, and I "design" prescriptive solutions accordingly.
I am not bagging on you Joe, just clarifying things a bit.

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Old 06-13-2012, 07:51 PM   #7
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2nd floor addition


Lvl's are a great Idea. Otherwise a pony wall would create a hinge point to a structural wall.

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Old 06-13-2012, 08:06 PM   #8
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Yes you can add 1' on top of your existing top plates. We do it all the time. We don't frame any walls. We use 3-1/2"x12" lvl's on top of the plates. Ask your architect or engineer about it and see what they say.

This is exactly what we have done for additions and the upper lvl eliminated the need for updating the existing exterior wall headers to handle the new load placed on them from building upward.
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Old 06-13-2012, 10:32 PM   #9
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^I never thought of that excellent !

I learned something thanks,
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:24 AM   #10
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FYI, the residential designer I use also has an architect working out of his office, and up here in the cold frozen north, all drawings have to have an engineers stamp prior to permits being issued.
I like the idea of the lvl's and will pass it on.
Thanks again for the input. I will keep you posted as to what happens.
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Old 06-14-2012, 12:04 PM   #11
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2nd floor addition


We looked into doing that with our 50's era brick-on-block house. It can be done but will need to be properly engineered with approved permits. You're putting a lot of new weight up there, so the existing walls will need to be able to handle that load, or the structure improved to do it.

We decided to go with a complete demolition instead. By the time we stripped off the existing interior walls (1" furred walls and NO insulation) with drywall covered in lead paint, and then dealing with matching up the drywall levels, we'd still be stuck with the low basement ceilings below. Which has asphalt tiles with asbestos in them (fine, until you start breaking it up for removal). Turns out about even to just tear it all down instead of trying to patch the old and new together.
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:34 PM   #12
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Turns out about even to just tear it all down instead of trying to patch the old and new together.
Sometimes its even cheaper to tear down and build new. It is difficult sometimes for people to wrap their brain around the fact that sometimes its better to throw out what you've paid for than try to fix it. Material cost may not be that great but the labor can eat your alive ....

When adding a floor or additions onto an existing dwelling I'll get it priced out making the needed repairs and new construction, and doing it all new and let my client decide which way they want to go since they control the purse strings.

Good luck with your project!
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:59 PM   #13
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Yup, not to hijack the thread, but we started doing an L out the back with a 2nd floor over everything. When we stepped through all the pros and cons it ends up being better to go with the same sort of layout, just in an all new structure. Along the way we lose the low basement ceilings and at least a month's added construction time. Shorter time, pretty much the same price, and everything exactly where we want it.

We were doing this to replace the kitchen (among other things), so that big ticket item was already part of the budget. I would strongly urge anyone thinking about adding a whole second floor to look into the costs for a total replacement.
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Old 06-14-2012, 04:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkearney99
You're putting a lot of new weight up there, so the existing walls will need to be able to handle that load, .
Can you explain that?
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Old 06-14-2012, 09:12 PM   #15
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If you're adding a second floor there's the weight of all the new materials. How the existing wall will handle it is a question often worth having an engineer answer. Seems pretty obvious, but if you're a 'framing contractor' you know this already.

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