How mahy of you have had 2nd floor added to your home?

Lorix2

<font color=blue>Pixie and Dylan's mom<br><font co
Joined
May 5, 2001
I'd like hear your experience and advice.

We're seriously considering going up on our small ranch style home putting the BR's upstairs and expanding the downstairs. We'll have the builders frame it out, roof it, etc..and my DH will finish the inside (granted - this will take alot of time).

My concerns are:

Did you have to move out for a week or so? less?

What should I be asking the 3 contractors I'm getting estimates from? I was going to ask for references, if they are insured, how long they estimate it will take to complete, etc.....what else??

(I've checked with the BBB and all have satisfactory reports with them)

Thank you for any thing you can add here...:D
 

kidzmom3

<font color=green>DIS Veteran</font><br><font colo
Joined
Sep 14, 2001
We are trying to do that to our house. I was told that you cannot live in your house with the second floor off. The inspector could potentially pull your permit and not allow any furthur construction. Yikes!! thats in MA, not sure of other cities/states. The builder tells me it will be at least 3-4 weeks out of the house. You also have to make sure there is an engineer/architect who will draw up the plans as structural concerns can arise. Such as, can your foundation support the new weight of walls. Some builders are engineers and /or architects, sometimes you have the builder draw up the plans then pay an engineer to make sure you are structurally sound. Make sure your builder knows your towns/states building codes well and does not propose something you can never get permitted for. Good luck! It is a lot of work but I hope in the long run it will be worth it.
 

nativetxn

<font color=teal>Moderator<br><font color=red>Hono
Joined
Feb 15, 2000
Interesting question, we haven't done this but we're considering having it done. Great info kidzmom3
 

Wish Upon A Star

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 10, 2000
We just had this done . . .We had a ranch and we turned it into a cape cod. Basically we wanted to do this because we love the neighborhood and we wanted our children to have their own bathroom and large bedrooms. We had 2 bedrooms and a full bath done upstairs.

We did not have to live outside our home . . .we lived there the entire time construction was going on . . .

Just some quick words of advice:

Please, please, please, make sure you get a done date on your contract.

Our contractor verbally told us 3 or 3 1/2 months . . .it took 7 months and he never completed the job, we ended up completing it ourselves and now we are headed to court over this.

The contractor left us with damaged first floor ceilings which he said would be fixed, our central A/C is all messed up because he was too cheap to hire a professional. This entire ordeal was a nightmare.

I checked all his credentials, BBB, references and he came up clean . . .We also had 3 other written estimates from different companies.

I would never, ever even think of doing it again . . .I would rather move into a larger home, than to have to go through that nightmare.

Every case is different . . .I don't want to deter you . . .the house itself is beautiful, the kids love their rooms . . .we just ended up with a deadbeat contractor who thinks he's going to get away with not completing our job . . .Just remember, if you do sign a contract with someone whom you chose, keep anything and everything as far as what you have put out; bills, receipts, document any work that you end up doing, even sweeping. It's very important you do this. . . .It's 6 months after he said he completed our job and he has just now decided to sue us for $6,000 thinking maybe we threw things out . . .Also, if he does say, "Can you purchase this, I"ll reimburse you", etc . . .make sure you get it in writing with a signature.

I wish you luck:D
 

Lorix2

<font color=blue>Pixie and Dylan's mom<br><font co
Joined
May 5, 2001
kidsmom3 - thanks for the info. One contractor said they would "prefer" us out of the house for at least a week while the roof is ripped off, etc..which makes sense, but it would be livable while the construction was going on. Thanks for your advice and good luck to you too!

Wish Upon A Star - what a nightmare! Sorry you're going thru such an ordeal, that's terrible!! We are in the same situation....love the location, the schools, need bigger bedrooms and living space, etc. There are just no houses for sale in the same school district, if they are, they are too expensive, or on a major traffic road...so we've decided to stay.

I cannot imagine them asking for me to pick anything up for them!!?? Isn't that unusual? What's scaring me now is that this one contractor is telling me that an architect/structural engineer will cost a minimum of $5000.00 knocking that right out of the budget. I thought that seemed high? No?

Luckily DH is very knowledgable and experienced with plumbing, HVAC, framing, flooring, etc..so alot of that he'll do himself.

This is really stressful stuff isn't it?!
 

Wish Upon A Star

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 10, 2000
Our architect was $2,000. Maybe your best bet on that one is to tell the contractor that you will hire your own architect, that's what we did. It is expensive, but I think $5,000 is a bit extravagant . . .but check around your area . . .make some calls and get a rough idea of cost.

What basically happened was that our contractor told us he'd take care of everything . . .BUT, his promises fell short . . .The A/C part was the worst! I wanted to hire someone professional but contractor said he had someone to do the job and not to worry. Well, contractor and his sweep guy actually did the duct work, but they could not and would not do any tin work or drip line work. He told me at that point that he was having an A/C guy come and do it, but that person failed to show . . .that was in the Summer of 2001. In November, he called me up and asked if I could try to find someone because he couldn't (I know it was weird, but I was stuck) he said we'd work out all the pluses/minuses at the end (it was stated in contract that way) but we finally just came to realize that he never intended on reimbursing us for anything:mad:

All in all, we were stupid . . .and we should of known better, but we were just so excited to finally be getting another full bath and big bedrooms for the kids . . .

All I can say is the good guys will prevail when we go to court!:D

But really, if its in your budget to build an addition, then I say go for it . . .do some research, get info (as much as you can) on the person you hire . . .and be involved . . .if you see something you don't like, let it be known . . .

All the best to you!:)
 

PartyofSix

TripMomma + 4
Joined
Apr 7, 2002
We have never done this as we are holding out building our huge dream home on day. I wanted to add some thoughts for you. My dad is a major Contractor in our area who only does commercial work so I kinda have a feel for how things work. Also, he is a General Contractor. Saying that, I know how much insurance and bonds and liability is put upon him. I know that if I was considering something as important as my family home I would get someone that came recommended. Ask for references on this person. I know my dad could put a ton of names and numbers to gether for that type of thing. Also be sure there bonded. What happens to your guy when he pulls his back after he's torn off your roof? Or if he decides he just wants to go on to another job? Bonds protect you from him! A reputatble company or firm would have a bond. Also, I know my dad carries several million dollars in life insurance to be able to have a bond and people like that don't fly by night. I would also look for that INC. at the end of business name a prof. would be incorporated and carry appr Insurance policy for his business. Do you know what proper coverage is for that type of business if you were to look? We own a towing, used car lot, and auto repair and if my customer wanted to see my policy I don't think they'd know what legal limits i was to carry. One other thing, If the BOSS is there working that's not a good sign JMHO. I have seen time and time again growning up my dad having to compete with Joe with a latter over the top of the station wagon because he was cheaper than dad because of no over head ie, no insurance, work comp, bond, or assets. I've also seen people calling dad cause Joe has made a mess, not come to complete the work, or just plain got the advance and no showed. (Joe is hypotheical) Also, you mentioned your dh is qualified to do some of the work. When making and est for your job dh should tell the GC exactly what it is he wants to contribute and what he is capable of doing. Any tear out work or clean up or painting or sanding trim molding work. I would not recommend him to go over his head as that could cost you more than you care to think about. If he contributes the GC will be very closely watching because this is a direct reflection of "his" work and he'll want it to look prof. and neat. I would spend the money and hire someone like I describe and not have to worry about getting a avg. Joe and hoping for the best. I wish you luck hope I helped some.
 

Lorix2

<font color=blue>Pixie and Dylan's mom<br><font co
Joined
May 5, 2001
PartyofSix - thank you for excellent advice. I feel a little uneducated here....what exactly is bonded? I have printed out this thread for my DH so he can read your post.

Wish Upon A Star - So you just went thru the yellow pages and called around for an architect on your own? Do I need both an architect AND a structural engineer? This particular contractor is making me feel that I do...did you go to your city/town hall and obtain blue prints of your home?

I cannot get the other 2 contractors I've called to even return my call because they are just straight out and booked until winter - I was hoping that by spring we'd be upstairs, maybe there is still hope!

thanks again DISer's!!
 

PartyofSix

TripMomma + 4
Joined
Apr 7, 2002
Well, I'm not an expert but bonded means simply your protected if there is something that goes wrong. If your contractor goes and gets supplies and does not pay for them the supply comp could put a lien on your home for the cost of materials owed. Or if the contractor is sole properitor and he dies your job is granteed. Like if he sub'ed out some of the work for lets say plumbing and he owes the plumbing sub 4,000 for the draw on your home for the time period and he dies well the bonding company would pay for the sub plumbers so you are not stuck paying the sub plumber and the contractor you hired. So hence the sub plumber it's owed $$ and won't put a lien on your home for the $$ owed to him. The bond also means the contractor you hire is top quality for the most part. I know dad carries servere million dollars in bonding and life insurance. He must maintaine min. of 1 million in life insurance with his bondin company. He also may not co-sign for anything that is not his..(ASSETS) they want everything he does to be HIS! So if you were to sue your contractor his mother is'nt going to come to court and tell you you can't take (ASSETS) her home because he co-signed even though she lives there and makes payments. You'd be able to go straght for HIS free and clear ASSETS. Oh this is getting you confused I'm sure. Basically what it boils down to, is WAIT I know you don't want to, but theres prob a good reason those other contractors are sooo busy. Go to there office don't call them! Check the place out look for cirft. of attending recent courses and workshops. Are they up to date? Look for the business lincense, is it posted proudly on the wall where you can take a look? Does he have a neat and clean place? Is it well organized? Can he call you in his office and sit with you and show you ideas for your home and make suggestions? Or are you walking into a storage trailor with plans laid out everywhere and has to clean you a place to sit? Are they members of the chamber of commerce? And ask for ref. Good Luck and I hope I did'nt blow your brain up.LOL
 




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