5 Questions to consider before adding a second storey to your home

7 Feb 2018



So you’re considering adding a second storey to your home. You know what you’d like to achieve and you’ve researched second storey addition builders who can manage the project for you. Before you commence interviewing builders and engaging in the design process, there are some less obvious questions that you should consider:

1. Is there a view that the addition should be orientated towards, or one you wish to avoid?
You may have city, river or ocean views that you can capitalise on from a second level, or perhaps a pretty rooftop or parklands vista. It is important to ensure that the second storey makes the most of potential views. This means ensuring that the best views from the new addition aren’t from the toilet or the Walk in Robe. Likewise, you don’t want your main windows overlooking a local sump or phone tower. Climb on the roof and map out your view. As a rule of thumb your first floor will sit about eight roof tiles up from the level of the gutters. Be careful!

2. Where will the staircase be positioned?
Obviously, you need to have a way to access the second storey and you will likely need to loose some ground floor space to accommodate the staircase. As a general rule, it is preferential to have the staircase situated off the main entry of the home and often a small bedroom, study or a portion of either can be used for this purpose. If so, you’ll need to decide whether you wish to replace the space elsewhere. In some council areas, and in some heritage precincts particularly, the second storey needs to be set back on the home out of view of the street. In such cases the staircase will need to set away from the front entrance. The positioning of the staircase will also influence the configuration of the second storey.

3. What material will be used for the floor base? This is a question that many second storey addition builders will avoid discussing with you,  as most favour 19mm compressed-board floor sheets. However when your project is complete and it sounds like a herd of elephants moved in upstairs, you will wish you’d been aware of your options on this point. At Addstyle we are unique in our use of a 75mm reinforced, aerated concrete as standard in our second storey additions. While compressed board is slightly cheaper and is easier to construct, the thermal and acoustic properties of aerated concrete are far superior and most definitely a worthwhile investment.

4. Will you stay in the home during construction?
In most cases the addition of a second storey is relatively non-intrusive and despite the exterior of your home being turned into a busy building site, the majority of work is undertaken above you and accessed via ramps and scaffold. The break-through for the staircase can be made towards the end of the build, meaning that there is only a short amount of time that the ground floor is disturbed. That said, if your project involves ground-floor renovation or extension works, you may wish to consider either moving out or discuss staging the project with your builder.

5. Do you actually need to go up? Adding a second storey is a great option for many properties, however a large portion of the project cost is spent on scaffold as well as higher trade rates for working at heights, and of course the cost of a staircase. As a general guide your budget for a second storey addition project that includes a Main bedroom, Ensuite, Walk-in-Robe and Sitting Room should start at around $220,000. The same project at ground level could be achieved from around $150,000. If you have the space to extend and don’t have a view to capture from above, moving out rather than up, may be your better option after all.


Addstyle Master Builders is a specialist second storey addition builder in Perth and the south-west. Over the past 30 years Addstyle has completed hundreds of second storey additions and has won multiple housing excellence awards for it’s projects. Visit our project gallery to view examples of our work and contact us today to arrange a complimentary in-home consultation.




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