Building a Second Story Over a Garage: What You Need to Know

Adding a second story over your garage is a cost-effective solution to increase your home’s square footage. You are adding a multifunctional space that offers limitless possibilities. Moreover, you are not losing valuable space on your property if the other option is expanding outward. This way, you can increase your storage area or build an in-law suite, a home office, a playroom for the kids, and so much more. 

There are numerous benefits of an improvement project of your home in San Diego, and a second story addition above your garage is an option well worth exploring.

Can I put a second story above my garage? 

Building a room on top of your garage is no small feat. It is considered one of the biggest and most complex home remodeling projects. Like most projects of this magnitude, this one comes with its own set of challenges. There are several factors you’ll want to keep in mind.

Regulations and permits

First things first. Check the zoning regulations for your area to see if you are allowed to build a second story addition. If so, inquire about the procedure for getting the necessary permits for this type of project.

Exterior alignment

One of the main challenges of building above the garage is aligning the second story with the existing upper floor of the home. You’ll need the expertise of an architect to help you find the right solution to align the new level with the old one correctly.

Exterior aesthetic

A remodeling project such as this one has a significant effect on your home’s curb appeal. Therefore, keeping your addition in line with the rest of the house is essential in terms of design and its aesthetic qualities. Consult with your designers and contractors on how to make your addition look seamless and in harmony with the rest of the existing structure. 

Plumbing and HVAC system installation

Coordinate with your plumber and remodeling contractor on the best way to install plumbing, electric, and heating systems. They will need to be strategically positioned to avoid possible need for modifications after the project is completed. Planning and subsequent construction are key to their successful installation.

Can my garage support a second story?

To keep your home structurally safe, the construction of your second story, no pun intended, lies on a solid foundation. Therefore, you will need to hire a structural engineer to check the home’s existing structure and if specific points need to be reinforced. There are numerous ways to bolster the foundation, including concrete, steel, plywood, or solid wood.

The structural engineer will perform a thorough inspection and check if you need to address and repair any issues before beginning construction. The ground beneath your house may not be able to withstand a second story, so you’ll need to perform a soil test to eliminate the risk of your home sinking into the ground.

Who are San Diego’s go-to specialists for second story additions?

Whether you’re thinking about building a man cave, an elegant master suite, or a guest room for visitors, second story additions are a great way to add bonus space to your home. Here at our company, we have a three-decade-long track record of successfully implementing your ideas and turning them into reality. 

Lars Architecture boasts the absolute best designers, efficient project managers, and seasoned construction professionals who have seen and done it all.

We’ve got what it takes to provide you with a hassle-free and streamlined process and to rejuvenate your home. Let our specialists take over while you and the family enjoy outdoor activities at Mission Bay Park. Schedule your consultation today, and let’s get started!

The Importance of the Foundation to Your Second Story Addition

Does your home feel cramped? Perhaps you’ve got a baby on the way, or you’ve started working from home. If your lifestyle has changed and you need valuable extra room, a second story addition is a viable option for your house. 

But, before you start designing your concept, you need to check the foundation of your house and assess its state. This includes the walls, beams, and all structural elements of the house. Second story addition contractors in San Diego are here to show you the importance the foundation has on your home, and for any home improvement projects you wish to embark on. 

Can my foundation support a second-story addition?        

Every building rests upon its foundation, which is in many aspects its most important element. If properly built, it should last a very long time and withstand any exposure to stress and pressure. Thus, the safety of any building depends on a sound foundation.  

Checking the soundness of your home’s foundation requires serious expertise and relying on experts with specialized knowledge is of great importance.


Adding a second story to the home presupposes a thorough checking of the foundation and whether it can withstand such an addition and remain safe. Different cities and jurisdictions have varying requirements related to the foundations as preconditions for any attempt of adding floors to a house.

Structural requirements

The weight of a second story with rooms, furniture, appliances will exert a lot of additional pressure on the foundation of a building, much more than just the roof it supported before this addition. Therefore, you will need to contact a structural engineer to calculate the weight of the walls and other elements of the additional structure. The calculations include the need to perform tests of the soil the building rests on, as well as some drilling in the foundation itself to examine its quality and the compaction of the soil. 

Building code requirements 

Building code restrictions often prescribe the need to introduce structural support, such as steel connections, plywood connections to the walls of the main level of the house that extend into the foundation, and installing additional steel of concrete columns and footings.

So, before you undertake any serious remodeling that involves an addition of an entire story, you must thoroughly check the state of the foundation of the house and repair any imperfections if necessary. A project of this magnitude requires such interventions to keep the home structure and your family safe.  

How do you reinforce a foundation for a second story addition?

Your home may not be able to support a second story addition in its current condition. The way to reinforce your house’s foundation is with a large concrete pad with metal bars running through it, known as footings. They are necessary to keep the foundation from moving, shifting, and settling unevenly. Homes built in the early and mid 20th century often don’t have footings under the slab.

A structural engineer will analyze the state of the foundation and determine whether there is a need for reinforcement.

Where do I find reliable second story contractors in San Diego & the vicinity? 

Building up is an excellent way to add extra space to your home. According to statistics, it also boosts your home’s curb appeal and its resale value. So if you’re looking for reputable experts for second story additions for your home in La Jolla or another neighborhood in San Diego, we’ve got you covered!

With over 30 years in the industry and a team of dedicated and highly skilled pros, our experts will help you add a room above your garage, extend your living area, or render another type of project. Call today to set an appointment!