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Closing off 2-story family room

We bought a house this summer with a 2-story family room and foyer. This wasn't something we were looking for but the house had the best lot for the price.

Now we are seriously regretting that decision. Our first floor is heated by a propane furnace and with this 2 story design the heat is funneled upstairs. Unfortunately, the heat doesn't make it into the bedrooms so the heat pump that heats the upstairs is still needed. Needless to say the heating bills have been outrageous. When we come out of our rooms in the morning we can feel the trapped heat in the hallway and yet the downstairs is cool.

My husband and I started thinking about closing off the ceiling in the family room, which would create a new room upstairs. The more we talked about it the better it seemed. There are already two windows up there and we would leave the space open to the hallway and use it as an additional family room or study space for the kids.

Our question is how difficult would a project like this be? And does anyone have an estimate on the cost? We are DIYers but this project is probably beyond our abilities, but we aren't sure in today's financial climate if we could get a home equity loan, or if we even should. We live in Stafford, Virginia, about an hour south of DC.

Thank you for any advice!

A. Spruce
Re: Closing off 2-story family room

If you're reasonably handy, then you could tackle this project. My guess is that it will cost you between 3k and 5k to do it yourself and between 6k and 8k to hire it done.

Re: Closing off 2-story family room

don't forget that by creating a new floor above you'll need to put heat up there also as well as electrical outlets, lights and switches, etc. also, depending on the size of the room things come into play like do you need structural posts in the middle of the room below and if you do, is the floor below equipped to handle it via columns in the basement. it's a pretty big job, i think it's something that would require a general contractor, also permits would have to be pulled because you would be changing the floor plan of the house and the livable square footage which you want done to code incase you resell. you don't want a buyer coming in to see a shoddy job, you want it to look like it was always there. i'd get at least 3 estimates and remember, never go with the lowest estimate and always check several references.

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