Remodeling a historic home can be an exciting challenge for homeowners. When it comes to expanding your unique space, though, which is better? Adding a second story or a ground-level addition? Here, we share comparisons to consider when considering a second story vs. ground level addition to your historic home. 

Why Renovate a Historic Home?

Historic homes can present a lot of challenges for homeowners and builders because of their ancient (and sometimes fragile) structures. But the benefits of renovating them can often outweigh the cons, allowing homeowners to craft a unique dream home. Benefits like:

  • Increased square footage:

    Historic homes typically have smaller living spaces, so they may not fit modern needs

  • Improved energy efficiency:

    Older homes may not have energy-efficient upgrades like central heating and cooling, smart thermostats, double-paned windows, and much more — all of which are necessary for cutting costs and energy consumption

  • Enhanced character:

    Historic homes have unique characteristics and features that aren’t often found in new homes. The good news? A renovation doesn’t have to take away from your home’s unique charm; it can enhance it.

Restrictions When Renovating a Historic Home

Before you get started with your home addition, first check to see if you can actually renovate your historic home. In many places, it’s illegal to add square footage to a historic home in order to preserve the structure’s integrity. 

Next, consult with a company like Factor Design Build to understand all of your options before remodeling your historic home. Our architects and designers will be able to give you better insight into what’s possible, what’s not, and other things to consider before you remodel your home. 

Once you’ve checked both of these must-dos off your list, it’s time to weigh the pros and cons of a second story vs. ground level addition. 

Second Story vs. Ground Level Addition 

Benefits of a Second Story

Adding a second story to your historic home is a huge undertaking, but one that may be worth it in the long-run. That’s because it can provide tons of benefits. Let’s break them down:

  • You don’t have to sacrifice outdoor space.

As we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, outdoor space is absolutely crucial for homeowners. A second-story addition lets you retain all of that additional living space (and eventually upgrade it!).

  • A second story may actually cost less.

Foundational components for ground-level additions are very expensive, so the cost to build a second story may actually cost less. This is especially true if a house is built on terrain that is not flat.

  • You’ll have more privacy.

Ground-level spaces are typically more open and have a lot more traffic. A second story can help create more separation between different areas of your home, allowing everyone more privacy — especially those who work and school from home.

  • You’ll have better views of your surroundings.

Adding a second floor can unlock site lines you never knew were there.

Benefits of a Ground-Level Addition

The benefits of a ground-level addition may not be as long as above, but it’s a benefit that can make or break your entire historic home remodel. That’s because a ground-level addition is undeniably less intrusive than a second-story one. Most preliminary work can be done while living in the house, minimizing the duration or need for any potential temporary living arrangements. On the other hand, building a second story requires moving out entirely before the project can start and likely staying out until it’s close to finished.

Factor Design Build is Your Historic Home Renovation Partner

At Factor Design Build, we can help renovate and transform your historic home with our true design build approach. Whether you want to make small enhancements or build entirely new additions, you will have the same team to plan and execute every single step. From initial inspections to architecture to design, our experts will act as your renovation partner throughout the entire process, creating a seamless and successful experience for you and your family. Contact us today to see how we can elevate your historic home.