Can I build a second story?

One of the questions we get asked all the time, is can I build a second story. The simple answer is yes anything is possible, but it may take time and money. A lot of people assume a house made of block, is ready to take a second story as is and that is not true. A lineal meter of block wall can load a compressive weight of 750 kilos Which is not a lot when you are talking cement block of the original wall, new beams, new walls and an extra concrete roof. The second story in reality is supported by columns and beams and this is where extra time and costs are involved. The big question is how were your existing colums made and what weight were the footings designed to hold.

There are basically 3 types of columns used in Yucatan homes.

Sanct columns are the weakest they are just interlaced block with a piece of rebar in the center filled with a slurry of very wet concrete or mortar

Next is columns reinforced with Armex, Armex is a reinforced square tube made of a wire rings and thin rebar. the Armex mesh is filled with concrete for strength.

Best of all is rebar positioned in a square pattern so that the long lengths form the corners of square tube and that is tied to gether at close intervals with reinforced wire. Some times Armex is reinforced with rebar on the corners for additional loading capability. the column is then filled with concrete which should be vibrated to remove air pockets.

 

 

 

The next issue is the footings for the columns and how large they are. Obviously a small footing will not disperse a large load into the ground. The footings need to be large enough to support the wieght of a second story, with out sinking or twisting.

 

 

So the question, can I add a second story, is not an easy one to answer without knowing how the house was built. The good news is poorly built columns can be replaced, but it all adds to the time and cost of construction.

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