If you have a single-story house, you might be considering adding a second story. However, before you start making plans, you need to be sure that everything will go well. After all, 50% of homes in the United States were built before 1980, says Comfy Living. There might be things you need to repair or reinforce, whether you’re thinking of just adding more storage or an entire in-law suite addition. Here are three things to consider about second-story additions.

You’ll Likely Need to Leave During Construction

Construction on a second floor will take a long time and it will turn your home into a construction zone. Outside of very specific circumstances, you’ll need to find somewhere to live while the construction is happening. Make sure that you have lodging for the entire length of the project, plus room for flexibility. Otherwise, you might find yourself paying far more than you expected to extend your stay at the last minute.

You May Need to Reinforce Your Foundation

Your home is built on a stone foundation and that foundation may only be capable of handling the existing amount of weight it holds. If you’re considering adding a new floor to your home, this will increase the weight supported by your foundation. You’ll need to have a professional come in and determine what kinds of reinforcement your foundation needs before any repairs are made. This is a step that cannot be skipped, since adding too much weight can make the house unstable.

You’ll Need a Staircase

While this seems obvious, it can get complicated. In order to reach your second story, you’ll need to add a staircase to your home. A typical staircase will take up a lot of room on your existing first floor, so if you have a small house, it might get in the way. Depending on your plans for the second floor, you have some options. You can put in a spiral staircase that won’t take up much space. Or, if you’re building an in-law suite addition, you can make the second floor accessible through only an exterior door.

A second story can make a huge difference to your home. It can free up space or create an in-law suite addition where additional family members can live with a little bit of privacy. However, you need to consider everything before you start building.