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Most cost effective - single story or two story?


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David's Forum Posts: 1

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By David in Kernersville, NC on 3/6/2003


Hello All,

My wife and I are in the early planning process. I have been wondering whether it is more cost effective to build a single-story home or two-story home. We are in the process of looking for plans and I was wondering if anyone had any advice on which method would give us the most bang for the buck. We hope to build an approximately 2,500 square-foot three-bedroom home. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!

David

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Darlene's Forum Posts: 20

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By Darlene on 3/6/2003


I have been told that a two story is less expensive because the footprint of the home is smaller than a one-story home, typically.
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By Jeffrey in Vail, AZ on 3/6/2003


On the other hand, I have heard (don't you love such definite sources!) that some things cost more on a two story, particularly labor for things involving heights. Also, the design of the house does need to be able to support itself (not a big deal, but one more thing). In cookie-cutter-type developments, they can put more two stories in the same space, so mass builders like them. I think you should decide what you like and go for it. I don't think the differences are going to be very far out of the noise one way or the other.

Good luck!
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By Jerry in Buda, TX on 5/11/2003


I think with the price of concrete work these days, and related site work, etc. it would be cheaper for the two story. As an electrical contractor, I know it is cheaper to wire a two-story home than a one story. How much depends on the design and electrical-panel location and the distance to the kitchen and major appliances. I have heard the heating and AC operating cost will be higher unless you install separate units for each floor and keep away from the type of open high ceiling that connects with the second floor.

We are going to build soon. Our house plans are a two-story design with our children's bedrooms and a "bonus"/media room on the second floor. We designed it with separate systems for each floor and made a way to close off the second floor. Our kids won't be around forever, but they will need a place to stay when they come home to visit. We then can set the upper AC system to cycle on and off at longer intervals, but still operate occasionally to avoid problems, as we live in Texas and experience extreme temperature changes.
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By Eric James in Rex, GA on 8/24/2003


A smaller footprint will give you more living space for the buck, but not necessarily more "bang." A 2,500 s.f. one-story home includes a 2,500 s.f. basement (typical for your area) AND a 2,500 s.f. roof, exclusive of any garage. A two-story 2,500 s.f. home completely stacked (the ideal) includes a 1,250 s.f. basement and a 1,250 s.f. roof, cutting in half two of your major expenses.

A smaller footprint will also fit on a smaller lot, potentially saving more costs. There is some additional expense in exterior wall and certain construction at heights, but other overall costs (electrical, plumbing, ductwork) are reduced. You can also minimize cost through proper design, eliminating vaulted and/or two-story ceilings, and squaring up the box shape of the home... however adhering strictly to ALL cost-cutting measures will completely eliminate "bang."
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