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A Comprehensive Guide to Pop Top Additions

Pop top additions require a large investment, so it only makes sense that you ask the right questions. Is a pop top home addition right for you? What are the factors to consider before adding a second floor to an existing house? And how much does it cost to build a second floor?

Read through to find out.

Is a pop top addition right for you?

Adding a second floor pop top to your home is a great way to increase living space. With lots getting smaller and smaller in Arlington VA these days, there’s no better way to extend than to go up. But aside from the added space, what exactly are the advantages of pop top home additions?

No need to relocate

If you love your location but your home can no longer accommodate your growing family, custom pop top floor additions are your best option. Finding a new home is very time-consuming and stressful. Not to mention the scarcity of available homes for sale. By building up, you can have your needed space without going through all the trouble relocating.

Larger outdoor space

It’s nice to have an outdoor patio during the warmer seasons, or even just a small outdoor garden. But the necessity for a larger space can make you rethink priorities. With pop top additions, you no longer have to pick between living space and outdoor space. You can have both.


Unsurprisingly, the bulk of construction costs goes to framing and foundation, which is why an added level is much less expensive per square foot to build. There is typically a smaller footprint and roof area to cover. As for fuel efficiency, you can save a lot in the long run, since less exterior wall and roof area is vulnerable to outdoor elements.

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How to add a second floor to an existing house?

Pop top homes need to be built with care and precision, so it’s important to hire pop top additions contractors – like Pop Up Kings by VP Construction, who are knowledgeable in this area. For Arlington VA residents. But before you make that decision, here are the factors you have to consider:

1. Long-Term Planning

The first question to ask yourself should be, how long are you planning to live in the same location? If you intend to stay permanently, you might want to invest more in a pop top addition that is built to last. Make use of materials that are durable and could stand different weather conditions. It is also important to consider long-term possibilities like expanding your family or accommodating more people in your home.

However, if you’re looking to relocate sometime in the near future, you better inform the contractor. Honest contractors will advise you on how to maximize your investment. A pop up second floor additions can increase your home’s living space and can recoup up to 112% of your costs.

2. House Structure

Not all houses can accommodate a second floor pop top. There are certain standards to follow, particularly concerning the existing foundation. An added story puts a greater pressure to the ground and walls, so let your contractor do an inspection and evaluation before pursuing the construction project. If your home does not meet the requirements, expect that there may be structural preparations and retrofitting that can incur more costs and time.

3. Budget

Generally speaking, moving up is less expensive compared to building out. For pop up additions, you are not required to do excavation work and install a new foundation, but it still entails a considerable budget. Similar to building a new house, you need to set aside a significant amount for the walls, floors, roofing, as well as the expenses for possible redoing of electrical and plumbing setup. Another thing to be considered is the amount to be expended on staircases, and other unforeseeable construction costs, should your existing foundation be inadequate for the second floor expansion.

4. Design

There are different types of upstairs expansion depending on the original layout of your home. Full second story homes are one of the most common, especially for bigger families who need more bedrooms and bathroom space. There are also one and a half story houses that can give you ample amount of space while remaining economical. This can be done in various ways, one of which is by installing dormers to convert the attic into a bedroom. Upper decks are an option as well for homeowners with smaller lots who want more outdoor space.

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5. Timeline

Adding a second level to your home is a long process. It varies based on several factors — scope, inspection requirements and the time it takes to obtain permits, among many others. With Pop Up Kings, architectural planning and designing takes 30-45 days, while the construction phase takes 90-120 days. The building permit, on the other hand, may be obtained within 30-45 days.

6. Disruption

Pop top construction projects can cause major stress and inconvenience to households. It involves a lot of hammering, drilling, demolitions, footprint alterations and removal of the roof. Your best option is to set aside a budget for rent and move out temporarily until the project is completed, or at least at its finishing stage.

Having said that, home rental doesn’t come cheap nowadays. Some families still opt to stay even during the construction period. Decide whether you can cope with the disruption that inevitably comes with pop up second floor projects.

7. Regulatory Responsibilities

Just like a new home construction, pop up addition projects also come with plan submissions, building permit acquisition and multiple inspections. Make sure to check your local regulations first in order to avoid future troubles.

Pop Up Kings and the whole VP Construction team take our local responsibilities seriously. We ensure that all our projects are aligned with the regulations of Arlington VA. For this reason, we request the necessary permits and inspections for our clients, and represent them in any Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) hearing.

8. Neighborhood Norm

Lastly, take a look at your neighborhood and assess how your architectural style can blend in with the rest of the houses. Modern homes have recently been sprouting up, but the charm and oneness of an old neighborhood cannot be paralleled.

How much does it cost to build a second floor?

At VP Construction, a standard second level with a staircase usually costs $150,000. There is an option to add a new story with a staircase, new kitchen and at the same time have your main level remodeled for about $225,000. You can also go all-in and include a basement remodel at an average price of $275,000.

How to start?

Once you have decided to proceed with your pop top home project in Arlington VA, the next step will be to talk to a contractor. Pop Up Kings by VP Construction provides an initial on-site consultation service at no cost!

Interested? Fill out this form.

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