Second Story Addition VS Basement Development VS Out Addition

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Posted by: from Vulcan
11/7/2012 at 4:43:24 PM


I'm out in Vulcan, Alberta and wondering which would be a better option to look into - I have a 1300 square foot house built in 1920 with a partial basement - about 18feet dug down 5.5 feet and the rest is a crawl space, an attic with 5 foot ceilings (REALLY wish I could add 3 or 4 feet to the attic because I think that would look awesome and be easy to add the bathroom over the main floor bath), and a triple lot with a ton of space towards the back.

I'm looking for which option would be more viable - to expand out with an addition of 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, expand up to a 2nd story and add 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, or develop the basement with 2 bedrooms and a second bathroom?

If possible a ballpark of $/square footage including electrical, plumbing, permits, etc etc - pretty much everything excluding flooring and painting.... Wondering if it's something that's a 10,20,30,40, 000 $ etc job sort of thing.

Any advice?

Thanks so much for your help!


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Date/Time11/7/2012 at 6:38:02 PM

Only a local contractor can give you a price, but you will be well over 60K. The cheapest option would be between a one story addition and adding a second floor, depending on the work involved. Next would be your 2 story addition with the existing roof raised. The basement would be the most expensive cost per sqft, based on the manual labour involved to lower your basement floor to create a full 9' basement.

Hope this helps.

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Date/Time11/7/2012 at 10:02:39 PM


I agree with James, providing pricing can very difficult for all three options as the scope or work and specification can range dramatically depending on where you live.

I have worked with older buildings like this in the past, my personal opinion is that a one storey addition added onto the existing home would be the better option of the three. This way you can implement modern foundations, insulation, framing, roofing techniques etc and are essentially doing a 'new build'.

By doing the 2nd storey addition you may have issues with the existing foundations, are they in a good condition? Will they take the additonal loads of a second storey? Engineering will likely be involved, does it open up other issues with the existing structure/building, there is certainly an element of risk involved.

The basement development would come a close second for me but again you are working with an existing space, perhaps one that is more susceptible to moisture issues as the building gets older and perhaps not as great a Return on Investment (ROI) in an older home.

The addition would allow you the freedom to design and build a space that suits your needs.

My experience in Cochrane AB is standard basement developments range from $40-50/sqft (no thrills), an addition would be no less than $100/sqft, and I am estimating a little here but I would put a second storey addition at the $150-$200/sqft easy.

Hope that helps.

Good Luck.

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Michelle in Vulcan
Date/Time11/8/2012 at 11:03:26 AM

With the basement and 2nd story - is it 6 of 1, half dozen of another in the sense of highest cost coming from excavating the crawl space, and adding another 4 feet to the roof?

I would really love to add on a second story as I think the idea of a loft master bedroom and bathroom would be awesome - i already had a formal dining room, living room, and reading room so extra 'living' space isn't an issue.

I am trying to get creative on ways to find more space that is financially within reason and still keeps to the character of the house.

Thanks for the responses - look forward to hearing more :)

Happy Snow!


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Michelle in Vulcan
Date/Time11/10/2012 at 9:31:59 PM

This may sound fairly silly, but is (in the attic) making a jut-out and 'raising the roof' in select parts any more economical or same price range?


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Date/Time11/11/2012 at 8:37:43 PM

Hi Michelle,

Whichever way you go you are going to be making a huge investment! It sounds like you have some dreams you want to turn into reality.

I wonder if you should turn your question around and do this exercise a little differently. Whatever you do is going to be custom work and based on the options you provided will probably be in the $100 to $200 per square foot range, depending on the finishes.

My idea would be to figure out what you really, really want, have it designed, and then get some price estimates for the project. It might be $2000 to $3000 for the architect but you are going to have to spend that anyway.

You would then be able to give a lot more detail and get a lot better estimates, and make it easier to figure out the finances. Even if it involves saving for an additional year or 2, you are going to get exactly what you want when it is all said and done.

This type of thing is something you are probably going to do only once in your life so why not get it right the first time so you can be happy with it!

Good Luck,

Jim Kuzma

Kettleby Handyman Services

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Michelle in Vulcan
Date/Time11/12/2012 at 11:08:02 AM

Thanks so much for your help - that helps a lot! :)

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Date/Time12/2/2012 at 12:53:37 AM

Hi Michelle,

In your case, it would be fastest and least expensive to build out with an addition.


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