A reader's Roofs and roofing question: New upper floor?

Phil P.   from   Sydney Australia   had this question about maybe adding a new upper floor.

Bill. This is a great site and your practical insights are a real help.

I'm sure you've got a long list of things you want to put on your site.

  • I'd be interested to see a section on the basics of building up a level in an existing single story house.
  • My place is brick veneer and I plan to build a second level set into the existing roof.
  • My place has a major (higher) open gable roof running into a minor (lower) open gable both on the same axis with one side of both gables having the same face (if that makes sense).
  • I want the upper section to have a single gable on the same axis but it will be set back from the front walls of the existing structure (and possibly the back wall too).
  • I want to do it myself - I've done two years of the tafe carpentry ticket and will finish next year - although I work full time as a solicitor, so my experience is next to zilch!

Anyway, I haven't started getting into it in any detail yet, and it may be a bigger subject than can be dealt with easily on your site, but any feedback would be appreciated. Regards, Phil.

Bill's answer

You are right about me having a lot of things still to put on my site.

  • As far as your job goes, what you are proposing to do is quite tricky in more ways than one.
  • From my point of view I can only talk in generalisations, and up here in Darwin we tend to think about structural implications a lot more than you southerners.
  • Sooner or later you are going to need a good designer and then engineer to get the project certified, and the people in your area are the ones who sign the job off so you have to listen to them.
  • The roof sounds simple enough, gables are easy to modify.
  • Nearly every job I have done and seen like this, has overhung the existing house to a certain extent, even if only enough to fit a stairwell without compromising the living space downstairs.
  • Of course this depends on if you have the room on the block of land to do this.
  • Brick veneer is not known for it's strength, but even if it was I would still be thinking of lightweight construction upstairs. Steel stud walls.
  • Timber frame has disappeared up here, expensive in materials, too labour intense. We use 75mm steel studs.
  • They can be built off site, delivered by truck and fixed in a day.
  • Otherwise they are an excellent material for owner builders. A few hundred dollars for a mig welder and basic tools and it does not take long to learn how to weld. (don't worry your carpentry training won't go to waste, that is good general stuff:-)
  • When you get more advanced with you planning ask away if you have any questions. Existing plans and sketches always help. Just send as attachments.
Cheers and good luck with it.

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