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Re: Construction method for Second Story Additions

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Kate -

Assuming your second story is somewhat "normal", if it were cheaper to build a
big table over the existing first story without touching it, you would see
this all over town. Since you don't, it 's reasonable to assume that it's not
really economical to do this.

A second thing to consider in that scheme is that functionally, 99.9% of the
time you want to connect the first floor to the second with an interior stair.
This then leads to some minor remodeling in the existing "untouched" first
floor, and starts to structurally tie the two pieces together.  Before you
know it your second floor is sitting right on top of the first floor like it
really wants to.

As an added insight, if the first floor has a flat ceiling which is remaining,
we often remove the roof, leave the ceiling joists and run a 2x4 flat plate on
top of the ceiling joists over the bearing walls to support our new 2nd floor
joists.  This allows you to frame the 2nd floor in whichever direction you
like and doesn't put any load on the old ceiling joists and/or ceiling.  It
does, though, create a rather larger inner floor space (about 24" or so) as
long as that is not a problem.

Bruce Resnick