DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum (
-   Project Showcase (
-   -   2-Story Addition...Trials and Tribulations (

ddawg16 12-02-2011 10:15 PM

2-Story Addition...Trials and Tribulations
This is a story....the names have been changed to protect the incompetent.

Well, actually...a lot of you have asked me to post a progress thread on the 2-story addition to my house.

A little back ground first. This is our house. A very very small house with two cats in the yard, and 3 kids in the house...along with me and the wife. 1026 Sq feet....3 bedrooms and one bathroom. Kind of rough with just one bathroom. Did I mention that we have only one bathroom?

We bought our house in 2000 just before the market took off. Along the way we have made numerous improvements with the intention of increasing the size when the time was right. 2 Years ago I completed the garage. Our old detached garage was 18x20 and filled up with water every time it rained. The new one is still detached but is 20x25....2-story.....and dry. We did it first because we knew it would be integral to helping us do the 2-story addition to the house (at least that is the story I gave my wife to let me build the garage).

And here is what the garage looks like....all 1040 sq feet worth....more than the current house...

If you want to see more details on the garage, a link to the build is in my signature.

Now, before I go on allow me to stress that this thread is not about be bragging about my building skills or lack thereof. It is about sharing what I have learned as a DIY’er…

While I still consider myself to be a ‘newbie’ on this forum, I have noticed a common trend over the past few months. Some of the questions are pretty dumb. So dumb that I hope the poster is not a licensed driver. But a good majority are valid questions….though I have issues with how some are answered. One of the things that ‘irritates’ me is how quick some responders are to say “Get a Licensed” xyz…..In some cases I agree…but in a lot of cases, I don’t. It is about par to saying, “Hey, my light does not turn on, what should I check first.” And the responder saying “You need a licensed engineer to solve the problem.”

With that rant over…..I would like to point out that my wife and I are doing almost ALL the work ourselves. There are a few exceptions. I did hire a professional architect to do my drawings. I did my own drawings for the garage…but did hire an engineer to spec the structural….(those cantilevered floors will do it every time).

The guy I hired was great. He swung a hammer before coming an architect….so he knows what he is doing. He took my initial AutoCad design…tweaked it to our liking and then added the needed structural items. Bottom line, I was way in over my head thinking I could do my own drawings.

So…this is what he/we came up with. The 1 story structure at the front is the existing house with the 2-story portion the part I am adding.
And this is what the rear should look like. Not real obvious at first…but the 2-story cantilevers over the 1st floor by 3’ on two walls.

For those wondering about cost….I can’t divulge the cost of the architect…..his wife and my wife are friends….I got the ‘good guy’ discount….but to be honest…I think his services would have been worth a good $8k….he even walked the drawings through the permit office.

Permits….around $2k

Site prep….not much….except for a big slab of concrete across the back of my house….

Using a sledge hammer, pry bar and wheel barrel, I removed this in one day. Made for a good workout.

Put it all in one of these. $365….included drop off and pickup.

Once that was out of the way we could start on the foundation. When I did the garage, I hired a contractor to do the foundation. I had no experience in it so I figured I should farm it out…..and like so many other people, got hosed. But I learned a lot. Like, make my own measurements…and hire the same day workers he does.

Arulio does not speak any English, but he is in the country legally and does great work. He dug out the foundation by hand with only 1 helper. Took him about 2 weeks. In retrospect, I should have rented a bobcat and dug out the majority in one day. It might have saved me about $500.

All told, I have about $2500 in labor, $1500 in hardware (anchor bolts, forms and rebar) and $2000 in concrete. The concrete was the only thing I estimated right.

Oh, don’t forget the $1100 for 3 of these…..a lot of dirt came out of that ground….

……and still had some left over……..

ddawg16 12-02-2011 10:16 PM

When your doing the foundation, you want to make sure you get everything in that you want….much harder to do it after the fact…

This is the conduit for the power to my garage….it’s going to where the new load center ‘will’ be. Regarding conduit….if you think 1” is big enough….make it 1.5”. When you start pulling wire, you will understand.

Here is an example of why you need an engineer to define what you need. This picture is of the corner of my house where the new foundation will tie into the existing. My existing foundation is essentially a 6” wall on top of a 12” footing…that only goes down about 12”. My new foundation is almost 3’ deep with an 18” wide footing…walls are 8”.

We had to dig under (called under pinning) the existing foundation. In addition (not shown), I had to drill into the existing footing and epoxy in rebar.

Besides the new foundation, I had to ‘modify’ the existing foundation…..our 55 year old house may have survived a few earthquakes….but I think it was pushing it’s luck. There are only 3 anchor bolts per side. That would never fly today. I had to rip off the stucco on part of the existing walls and drill new anchor bolts along with hold down bolts….and then epoxy them in. Oh yea, it cost $300 to have a “Master inspector” show me how to do it. Actually, money well spent….without his input, I would have done it wrong.

This is the light wall….on one wall I had to drill 1” holes and put in 7/8” bolts.

Anyway….towards the end, these walls will have ” plywood or OSB put on them….then that gets covered with stucco. Your classic shear wall.

In addition to the shear walls, I also had to pour a footing under the house.

See this area? It is the crawl space of the new addition….just to the left is were the stairs will be….straight back is the existing bathroom…in between is a wall….I had to pour a 2’ deep footing under that wall…….boy, was that fun….well…actually, Arulio had fun. I had the fun with the plumbing….I had to reroute my main sewer line over 1.5’. That story alone is worth it’s own thread.

In addition, I had to pour pads for piers so that we could install short beams. These will be used to support the stairs.

ddawg16 12-02-2011 10:17 PM

One thing I can’t stress enough is making sure the foundation is right. That means measuring everything several times. Making sure your anchor bolts are in the right place, correct distance from the edge and sticking up far enough. Take your drawings and write on the wood of the form what should be there. Then go back and check it 3 more times. I know I did, and still made a couple of mistakes. When you are dealing with hold down bolts that are 3 feet long and 1” in dia, not a lot of room for error. In one case, I had to upsize a beam from 4x6 to 6x8 in order to compensate for a bolt in the wrong position…..still not sure how I screwed that one up. Once the concrete dries, it’s not moving.

So, as you can see from the above, I have a slab and raised foundation. Good reasons….the slab will be the family room….we have 2 boys who like to play Wii….it gets noisy when they bounce. The raised is so that I can manage the plumbing and electrical easier. My main sewer line comes right down the center of the house and into the area you see on the left. I would much rather crawl under the house than go through what my in-laws went through when they had plumbing issues in the house…with a slab.

Now that the slab is done….the real fun starts…framing…and this is also when you find out what mistakes you made….

Ok….plumbing came first…..

Then Sub-floor over the crawl space….

With a little bit of help from my kids….I try to keep them ‘somewhat’ involved……funny how they can say “I want to help”. Ok, so I give them a task….please vacuum this area…..30 seconds later, they are gone….

There are some serious PSL beams involved in this project……this is one of the smaller ones…..and one of my “Darwin” moments….I almost lost this one…..yea….I’m using a drywall lift to lift it…..

One of my bigger problems is keeping the rain out…..I started in July and had hoped to have the roof on by now….but like ALL projects, they take longer than expected…..I feel like I spend half my time covering everything with plastic.

At least I have stairs…..

And the ceiling vaulted in the ‘pub’…..that is what we call the room where the stairs are….it ‘used’ to be our bedroom… 1/3 of it is now stairs…might as well turn the other 1/3rd into a pub…..

ddawg16 12-02-2011 10:17 PM

Those PSL beams are nothing to this one…..6”x10” 12.5’ long steel beam (3/8” thick)….I have to weld custom caps and buckets on it to hold some of the PSL beams……you won’t find this in the “span tables”.

And that is were I am this week……and next week….stuck in Texas on business….hoping we don’t get any rain….because all that plastic I put up got blown off yesterday in those high winds…..

CoconutPete 12-06-2011 08:14 AM

Great read - just read your garage thread too, awesome work. Drool worthy!

jcrizzy 12-30-2011 01:21 AM

Amazing post and pics. Great details. And thoroughly impressed. I have some similarities... Small house (1175 sqft) with 2 growing boys. Have been wanting to do addition since we bought. The bad part is bought in the 20% cash we put down and planned to use for addition/equity is completely gone with today's value. Few years back got some quotes for 500-600sqft addition. With the obligatory $100k++ range. Too much.

so more recently have been thinking how we can do most of the work and save $ because that's the only way it can happen. I'm reasonably handy and have some friends in the business (finished carpentry, plumber). But not really sure we could pull off what you're doing here.

Foundation seems most daunting (along with roof) -- so I'd likely hire that out. Just seems too intense. Framing while needs skill...seems like most of it is built off the same principles...and precision. studs 16" on center, top plates, headers, etc.. Of course diff walls will require some tweaks.

Oh and I love the idea of slab + raised for the sewer/plumbing concerns. I have same situation where the new addition/slab would run right over center of house where the sewer runs and that makes me nervous for future fixes, etc.. a raised portion for that sounds like a nice idea.

I guess all-in-all it's about patience, attention to detail and being precise mostly. If you can take your time feels like it can be done. Well at least in theory!
But this post is incredible encouraging. This is the only hope for me to get a reasonable addition. If not will be very cramped house once 2 boys turn into teenagers in a few years.

AndyGump 12-30-2011 01:30 AM

I would have charged about $8k with engineering too on a job like this.


ddawg16 12-31-2011 08:24 PM

Today was a great day......I got it up......

My steel beam that is.....

Part of my 2-story addition requires a 12' steel beam (6"x10" 3/8" steel). Making the beam was not too big concern was how to get it up....things weighs about 500 lbs..... one material lift....transport home (don't tell the rental company about it bouncing off my trailer and bouncing down Hawthorn BL)....

Get a good neighbor to help....put in place. Overall, my stress over this part was more than the actual effort to make it happen.

With this beam in place I can now set the large PSL beams that connect to it....which means I can finish the 2nd story floor....which means I can frame the 2-story....which means I can then put a roof on it....and end my water problems..

Like all projects, they take longer than expected.....I had hoped to not have to deal with the winter California rains.....oh well....

PowerWash 01-02-2012 07:11 PM

You sir are no DIY'er. You have engineered plans and seem to be following them in a professional manner. In my book that is a Professional. Good luck with the rest of your addition.

M3 Pete 01-06-2012 10:19 AM

I had to laugh about your kids. My wife always tells me to involve my 6 and 8 year old boys. This past weekend I had about 30 holes I needed to drill in plywood. After about 5 holes my 6-year old lost interest. 8 year old won't even bother.

But the weather gods are shining on you at the moment. No rain in sight.

ddawg16 01-06-2012 01:47 PM


Originally Posted by M3 Pete (Post 814417)
I had to laugh about your kids. My wife always tells me to involve my 6 and 8 year old boys. This past weekend I had about 30 holes I needed to drill in plywood. After about 5 holes my 6-year old lost interest. 8 year old won't even bother.

But the weather gods are shining on you at the moment. No rain in sight.

Weather? A lot of good it does me....I'm in Canada at the moment freezing my rear off....get home Sat so hopefully I can get some work done.

ddawg16 02-20-2012 09:49 AM

Update.....major milestone completed. I finished the floor of the 2nd story....all the beams are up...all those metal brackets (1/4" plate steel). All the 1 1/8" T&G plywood down. I can now walk around without worrying about falling through a I only have to worry about falling off the edge....Now I get to start framing....

The 'brackets' in place....each one weighed about 75 lbs....I used my drywall lift to lift them into position...

The view with all of the floor joists and blocking complete.

And a couple views of the cantaliver portion...

And the finished floor...if your wondering what the blue is....that is a tarp covering where the balcony is going to be....I have a little work to do there to get it finished.

And the stairwell leading down to the original part of the house.....

I'm way behind schedule....but then again, after 2 trips to Canada and a couple more to Texas ....I guess I'm glad that I have gotten as much done as I have so far....with luck I'll be in town for awhile....

Dakota76 05-04-2012 10:33 AM

This looks just excellent
Im here in canada freezing my rear off as you put it
Im also looking to do an expansion on me 2 story house been doing a lot of reading getting my info straight before i start

kenny408 05-08-2012 04:35 PM

wow! you do great work! I love how your garage came out too. i am trying to build a detached garage in northern CA very similar to the one you built. But the problem is that my garage is all in my head and yours is built!
great work.. looking forward to following your new project.

ddawg16 05-08-2012 04:48 PM


Originally Posted by kenny408 (Post 917307)
wow! you do great work! I love how your garage came out too. i am trying to build a detached garage in northern CA very similar to the one you built. But the problem is that my garage is all in my head and yours is built!
great work.. looking forward to following your new project.

Thanks for the kind words.......And....I know exactly how you feel....I spent about 2 years planning my garage....

To save yourself some time and grief, find out what your limits close to the property high...setback, ect. It's worth going down and talking with the might be surprised at how helpful they can/will be. In most cases, they want to help you get the most you can and stay within code....

First thing you are going to need is a plot plan or site layout....basically, you have a drawing that shows your existing house and garage....and what you plan to do. You won't be able to submit any drawings for your garage until you have an approved plot plan. So if you think your close to starting your garage...get that plot plan done.

Are you doing the work yourself or are you going to farm it out? I know a great architect if you need one....chances are he could do everything remotely....especially for a garage. I did my own garage plans...but it took me long enough....

A site to also check out....Garage's just about garages....lots of good info...especially if your thinking about epoxied floors and other man cave stuff....

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:01 AM.

vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1