Four Great Ideas for Second Story Additions to Your Home

Second Story Addition Ideas | Need ideas for my second story additionAdding a second story addition to your home can add value, personality and excitement to your home. While any homeowner can easily get excited by the possibilities available to them about additions, the process of actually deciding what your addition should be can be time consuming and frustrating. While there are many options available for numerous types of homes, here are four great ideas for second story additions that can work with any home style and homeowner preference.

Storage Area

While a new storage area might be low on the list of potential additions, it is very practical. This is especially useful if you have children, love collecting or if you simply have a lot of items that tend to do nothing but add clutter to the house. While you may want to keep your items due to sentimental value or monetary value, clutter can make a house seem very cramped and stuffy. In addition, cluttered houses with no room for storage tend to become stagnant in their décor because homeowner’s don’t want to get rid of their old items to make room for new items.

Your storage area can also be a display area for collections and precious family items like photos and trophies. Your sentimental items can be displayed with pride and visited as often as you’d like instead of merely placing them in a box and only looking at them while cleaning.

Personal Office or Study

How should I build my second story additionPersonal offices and studies are perfect for people who need a quiet place to concentrate on work or schoolwork, especially in a house filled with various people and pets. A locking door, a desk, a computer and a bookshelf are all practically anyone needs for their own personal office. If you have the means, you can also easily convert your working space into a meeting area for your business. It’s also a good idea to include an additional exterior entrance for more private and professional meetings as it may seem unprofessional to lead clients and associates in through your house.

Entertainment Room

A dream for many people may be a reality for you. An entertainment room or personal theater is an extremely appealing addition to many homes. You can tailor the room for your own personal interests by including a flat screen TV, entertainment center, a small arrangement of theater-styled seating, gaming consoles, surround sound, arcade games and more. It is one of the more expensive options, but it is also one of the most enjoyable.

Additional Bedrooms or Apartments

If you plan on extending your family soon or want to have an extra room for company, additional space can easily be converted to additional bedrooms. The simple addition of a bed, dresser and perhaps a small desk can easily convert any space into a viable bedroom.

In addition, you can also convert the space into an apartment and rent it out for extra money. If you have extra space in your home that you’re not using, it’s a great way to make some money.

Planning – The second Step to getting Permit Approved

The division of land and the location is what planning focuses on.  Some rural cities have an issue where planning approval is required but the staff does not have the authority to give the approval.  Fortunately San Diego is not one of the cities, nor are majority of more populated urban cities.  If your new construction project requires a subdivision of land or the addition of built materials including parking services and other significant changes to the site, these changes must be approved before a planning board.

  • To streamline this process a SJB Construction Inc. recommends bringing a large site plan or handouts of the site plan that can be easily viewed showing the dimensions of the lot, the buildings, the trees and all boundaries involved in the scope of work.

Typical conflicts:

The relationship of the existing lot – keep in mind if you’re planning to build the board does not wish to negatively effect the street, neighboring properties within this proximity.  Easy access for fire and emergency equipment and visibility for oncoming motorists are basic musts if this project has a chance of approval.

Advice from an experience contractor: Don’t be intimidated if you have a tailored blueprint or site plan that’s completely customized.  Just keep in mind to make this as clear as possible with all detailed dimensions proposed.

Another good idea is to bring photographs of neighboring properties and streets.  This will help give the board members a visual representation of your ideal project alongside the existing structures.  The thoroughness involved and showing good faith goes a long way in these initial efforts.

Again, this is a part of the permit approval that is important for an experience general contractor to do.  An experience contractor has all previous county relationships and knows all the correct rules and regulations along with great assets to leverage if there’s any hang-ups.


You are ready to Remodel – Getting Permit Approved – Step 1

Based on your location what you’re remodeling/building may require any of the following types of approval.  Although we wish to give the most accurate information on homeowners it is always best to use a professional general contractor vs. doing it on your own with less experience and risking a major headache/financial burden.  With that said here are the general steps/rules required to get your building permit approved.

Zoning – The First Step Involved

Your city/home has ordinances that apply to areas or zones, on the town’s map.  Some areas are zoned residential (such as homes) and some are commercial (such as business).  Not all eventualities are covered and so the zoning board hears owners seeking clarification or exception to these rules.  An owner may go before a zoning board for a variance granting relief from a particular zoning ordinance or to appeal the denial of a permit based on an interpretation of that area.  During this process is important to be patient as these things definitely can take time.  The zoning process also gets you on the municipality property tax roll.

Typical conflicts:

Adding an in-home business or to add a unit for my parents/in laws

It will be necessary to seek conditional use approval rating exception to the rules of property use.  You may also need to seek a variance on the number of dwelling units allowed.

Advice from an experience contractor:

For any reason if you need to go before a zoning board before you can move forward with a project that a lot of its ease of Edinburgh as there is this a home that show that the data is imperative to stop all work and wait for the approval.  Don’t be careless and make the mistake of thinking that you can continue to build while this issue is pending.  It is not an easy task to bend the rules of zoning ordinances and it’s not always a grandslam.  The board will need a convincing reason to make an exception for you without setting a bad presence this is exactly why you are hiring an experienced a general contractor.

Construction management – Residential Remodeling

Construction management started with the development of huge commercial projects. Large construction companies would be delighted just to have a small portion of the work and were the executives did not want to pay a general contractor the standard markup of all the work involved.

This management approach was born with the notion of finding professionals who would work for a fee and manage a bunch of contractors, typically in a larger scale.

Construction Management

With that said construction management is typically for commercial products.  However in residential projects this can entail a process where the owner provides plans and specifications.  The construction manager takes bids from subcontractors and suppliers.  The construction manager then reviews these bids with the client and the final say in choosing the correct subcontractors is made. This is a very difficult management approach to fulfill both from the clients end and from a residential home remodeling point of view and essentially extinct for that reason.

Why is construction management not suited for my residential room addition?

  • You are dealing with a lot of many middlemen.
  • If you have separate contracts with each subcontractor and that will be a big hassle.
  • The construction manager does not always bear liability for the work rather it is the individual contractors involved.
  • It may be difficult for the construction manager to control all subcontractors since he does not hold the purse strings.

Hybrid Approach is best

The best value for residential remodeling is a process in which homeowners are dealing with the general contractor but also can rest assured that the project is going smooth and deadlines are accurately met. Trusting in one general contractor to coordinate tends to reflect value in that they tend to know subcontractors very well, pricing and have more leverage than a hired on construction manager lacking more field knowledge and established relationships. Our advice at SJB Construction Inc. is to seek a remodeling company that offers a hybrid where you can rest assured your project is monitored while trusting in a lean team to actually go in and do the work versus pass the project off to various other silos.

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Do it Right – Remodeling Your Bathroom – Tub Conversion

If you are ready to give your bathroom a facelift there are many small caveats involved with the process that an experienced contractors know which many homeowners skip if doing on their own. This article is created for the homeowner; SJB Construction Inc. always recommends hiring a professional. In this specific example Steve is going to turn a tub into a shower. Keep in mind not all steps are included as the piece is meant for a more experienced homeowner or to offer “tricks of the trade” that most people would skip.

Step 1 – Preparation for Tub Conversion

Prep the room with masking off. You can use painter’s plastic – Home Depot sells Husky Brand 12×400 ft for about $25. Use 3M blue tape around doors and region to create a barrier that will trap 90% of dusk/debris inside demo area.

Step 2 – Best Demolition for Remodeling

This step is straightforward. Eye protection and dust masks are must. Keep any eye out for being too aggressive with plumb lines as they can be a big headache and costly if broken.

  • Remove Wall (Drywall, Tile, ect.) as complete as possible
  •  Use Jackhammer to make remove concrete for new drain (see )


• Typical Dimensions standard tubs are all 60” wide ( 5′ ) they vary slightly in depth, from 30” to typically 32’’; hence the shower will be typical of the existing footprint of the existing tub. Of course this can be modified if space is available

Step 3 – Extension of Drain – Once concrete is removed

2” Pipe 2” Drain 2” P-Trap – The new 2” drain pipe needs to have 1/4” per foot fall (from the center drain to the newly located santee fitting).

  • Santee aimed at drain – Center Drain to Center New Shower Value – More custom and aesthetic
  • Foam around ABS pipe in concrete prior to backfilling
  • Backfill with 3” of sand then 3” of concrete

Backing Needed – 2x12s “vertical” around perimeter – Roll up the wall to seal bottom of the shower pan. Now you are ready to create Dam for leading edge of the shower.

Drainage and all Plumbing for Shower should be installed and tested prior to moving on.

Step 4 – Create Dam to contain water flow

Backing Needed – 2x12s “vertical” around perimeter – Roll up the wall to seal bottom of the shower pan.
Now you are ready to create Dam for leading edge of the shower

  • 3 – 2x4s Douglas fir – 6” inches from edge to fasten. These will serve as the dam.

Step 5 – Hot mop for weather protection

  • Should have about 10″ Buildup around the edge.
  • Drywall will overlap 3/4″ the new hot mop this serves as weatherproofing.
  • After Hot mop is completed Plastic Cement will be floated on top.

Step 6 – Tile and Completion

Denshield is a tile backer

  • Do not use standard drywall as bathroom has high volume of moisture and you will not get this remodel passed through inspection.

What if I do not have a Level Surface?

  • Use plastic cement, typically sold in premixed bags at most of the tile supply centers. This will help float tile aesthetically. Set this and let dry 24 hours to start for best foundation.

Finally, Set the Tile and Grout!

Overall, make this a fun project and do not be afraid to hire an experienced general contractor. Such phases as the demolition, plumbing, hot mop ectera should definitely be contracted out if not comfortable. Keep in mind many steps of the process were neglected due to magnitude of project but this is just to give some secrets how to start or what to think about

Air Conditioning For Second Story Additions

People make it a priority to take care of the items they own.  After all, everyone works quite hard to get the things they would like to increase their quality of life.  A car is a good example of an asset we maintain.  There is a lot of upkeep to allow us to have the freedom of transportation. We put fuel in our vehicle so it doesn’t run out of gas; we replace the tires, and complete oil changes.  Our cars can be a life line.  Our homes should be taken care of too and we must not overlook the maintenance that it needs to get the most out of our homes.

Ventilation for Second Story Room Addition

With summer heat coming in strong, air conditioning units need to be calibrated and dampers need to be converted from heat to let the flow of cool air flow throughout the home’s ventilation system.  When adding a second story project to your plate you have to consider the ventilation so you don’t have a hot upstairs.

One common fix it for second story home project is activating your air conditioning unit especially in older homes.  The cooler has been covered for the winter and it’s time for that tarp to come off.  Because the AC unit has been shut off for so long the filters have been stale and bacteria may have had an opportunity to build up in the fibers of the filter.  You don’t want to activate your AC without swapping these filters out and by not having the proper duct work leading to your upstairs project.  They are also known to become dry and brittle over the cool months so a fresh cut filter will do the trick.

Another minor second story house project that can be accomplished for the summer is to get the plumbing situated.  Bathroom additions are common for home projects and keeps people from trucking up and down the stairs.  A second story bathroom will offer the convenience and safety needed with the addition.  Make sure you don’t leave out the pipe work or you will have to rip out all of your hard work and start over.
It’s a good practice to flush your water unit at least once every year or even when you are starting a second story project.  You need to release the water pressure from your home when adding new pipes to the infrastructure to prevent injuries..  The problem is most home owners aren’t aware of this need so it’s often over looked.  When it becomes ignored debris and calcium build up can actually block the pluming making it harder for your water tank to produce enough pressure.

Sustainable Housing Options

With such vast changes in the world regarding environmentally friendly materials and thinking at affordable rates it is no wonder why people are beginning to venture out and find new, innovative methods for sustainable housing.  There is chatter in urban communities that want to stay completely off the grid. There is also suburban homeowners seeking to differentiate their home or align with their values of environmental conscious behavior.  Although this concept can be accomplished it always takes time to engineer a suitable home.  There are a few practical solutions for people to adopt to save money on energy costs.

Sustainable Housing Options

Solar power or photo-voltaic technologies can be utilized by converting energy from the sun into efficient electrical energy.  Solar systems are practical not only for homes but also for business.  A simple solar system can harness enough power to charge a cell phone, lanterns, and even car batteries.  Think of what could be energized in the home, it’s likely to use this concept to power a heater or even a few lights in the home.

Briquettes – What are they?

Another practical solution for sustainable housing is to use heat.  Briquettes are a very effective source for heat.  It is friendly to the environment and it is cheaper than using coal or kerosene.  Wood burns way to fast and loses its heat, and it takes a lot of man power to keep wood in stock.  A sustainable home can have heat with briquettes to keep the home warm in cooler months.

Hydro plants are used to generate power for sustainable housing.  The system can completely eliminate the need for commercial electricity if the hydro system is tuned correctly.  These systems generate energy by using water from streams or rivers.  They are effective enough to power small hospital clinics and street lights.  To use this system your home will need to be close to a fast moving water source.

Wind Mills for Energy

Wind is a very simple method for generating power for any sustainable home.  Multiply your wind mills by a dozen or so and you will really harvest a lot of energy.  The only downside are those days that aren’t so windy so adding many wind mills to charge car batteries as an alternate power solution can save you a lot of headaches.

Scientists have yet to unlock the full capability of biofuels.  Biofuel is a cheap, readily available source to use as alternative fuel.  Restraints are happy to have people haul off their sludge and grease, and this resource is available for sustainable housing.  It depends on the home owner how they will convert biofuels into energy.

Renewable Energy – What is it?

Without a doubt, solar energy is by far one of the best renewable energies that can be harvested. Renewable energy technologies can range from biofuels, to wind and hydro solutions but capturing the sun’s rays can solve a many energy problems.

PV Technology in Manufacturing Plants

Photovoltaics PV technologies use solar cells to convert light from the sun into power or electricity. Photovoltaic cells are created with materials that are semi conductive with their properties and in their most basic elements they are known to power everyday items like calculators and wrist watches. Now, photovoltaics are providing electricity to homes, buildings and manufacturing plants.

With direct sunlight photovoltaics are the most effective but even cloudy days can offer up power to photovoltaic cells. Dust on the panels and rail fall may cripple the renewable energy technology but the risk of these elements does not diminish the value of harnessing solar energy. Photovoltaics don’t really use the rays but from the electrons that are freed by interaction with sunlight and the materials in the solar cells.
There’s a myth that you must be a grand scientist to create your own renewable energy. The truth is many can create their own system with the right materials and the right guidance. Investing in photovoltaics will let people create an environment friendly power source. It does not pollute the environment and are very low maintenance.
Another renewable energy technology is passive solar power that will heat a home and offer light too. Home owners and business complexes are already engineering and tuning passive solar power. Windows that face outward to the sun are able to take in the heat coming from the sun and then let the heat dissolve slowly into power. Passive solar technologies aren’t a functioning part by any means, but are like using regular items on a structure and modifying these to take in heat.

What is Passive Solar Energy

Passive solar energy doesn’t just capture heat to create heat but it can also be captured to produce ventilation and cooling systems as well. Converting it to cooler air may be a little more extensive but passive solar energy is still an effective renewable energy technology to take advantage of.

One method to maximize on renewable energy technologies either passive or with photovoltaics is to create a structure big and long enough to face the sun at fifteen degrees. This direct angle to the sun will allow the rays to hit the surface to produce a strong enough element for power without sacrificing the integrity of the home or building itself.

Green Building Techniques

In today’s environment it’s evident that eco-friendly building is not going anywhere. In fact, contractors who are environmentally conscious are being sought for two reasons: one they are aware of all the regulations and pre-screening of jobs prior to start and two families can have the peace of mind they are creating a home that is not dangerous to live in.

Although upfront costs are typically more for green building the savings over the long run on such things as energy and tax credits make this strategy an easy sell for many homeowners.

Here are a few items you should ask for/seek if you are remodeling and looking for an eco-friendly, sustainable project.

  1. Programmable Thermostat : Average life cycle is about 10 years and allows users to control costs/energy bill much easier than old school air conditioning.
  2. Aerosol Duct Ceiling: Very easy to install and prevents energy loss escaping the heating and cooling of your house.
  3. Structural Insulated Panels: If you are thinking of conventional building this would replace the wall/framing by offering a panel that is made of OSB, Fiber Cement and Plywood. Not only does this downsize the lumber requirement but also reduces air infiltration.

Keep in mind energy and green building is still a very new topic. Over the next decade our society will not only be aware of how to be more conscious but more government incentives and innovation will make green building the only route to go. For more tips on green building, remodeling and home improvement follow us on Facebook or subscribe to SJB Construction Inc!

Starting a home remodeling company?

In modern times, its understandable that most people are being pushed out of home remodeling as a result of the housing bubble and real estate crisis. However, there is always room and business for the top tier professionals with solid referring clients, reputation and quality of service/craftsmanship. For those passionate about home building here are some paths/advice for anyone with dreams of having their own construction company one day.


Experience or Education?

As a standard most general contractors would agree that experience is education. Most companies will take on apprentices and be willing to teach an eager learner so depending on your game plan you may be able to save a great deal of money if you play the cards right.

  •  Experience – As a general contractor you will come across multiple issues that you simply just cannot learn in a classroom or book. Organizing all subcontractors while attaining building permits, securing the property, providing temporary utilities on site, managing employees on worksite, Site survey/Engineering Architects, hauling/recycling of materials, monitoring schedules and invoicing, and having an accurate archive of product warranties, ect. is a skill one truly learns by doing and masters after hours on the job.


  •  Education– In 90% of cases if you are seeking residential remodeling certifications and 2 year technical degrees (Construction Building Technology, Certificate of Design/Build Remodeling) are the way to go. You will need to pass the California Contractors State License Board test to be a legitimate contractor in California so intensive study courses to prepare may be best for those whom already feel confident in their abilities.


Basic requirements

Workmans compensation– This is a requirement in California to protect any workers in the field operating under your company as a protection if they are hurt on the job.

Pay taxes- Regardless of fifteen employees of just yourself you are required to file all taxes as a business owner under the IRS.
Business Name and Registration- Once you take the leap you will need to register your business as a general contracting business with the department of labor



Cyclical earnings– Remodeling is a tricky industry and a smart business owner understands you can triple your typical income one great year and have the potential to flatline or decline in a recession. Re-investment to secure business and monitoring cost efficiency are paramount to success.

Do not expect your exceptional carpentry to get second story additions– Be prepared to adapt with technology if necessary, maintain superior client service and be open to client ideas. Nowadays in an information based society clients can be very demanding and used to having several options to choose from.

Do not take on jobs you cannot hack- If you are in over your head your client will ultimately find out and you risk sacrificing a potential long term referral/client or even worse monetary damage that your company will have to cover legally.


In Conclusion

Home Remodeling is a very rewarding but challenging career choice for those who wish to pursue. At the end of a Second Story Addition, Kitchen Remodel or Room Addition seeing the entire project come to fruition is a feeling unlike many other professions can replicate. By making clients happy and adding value/equity to others homes feels great as well. Have fun, keep on top of industry regulations/trends, keep an open mind and mainly always be honest with your clients. Good Luck!