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Should I Build a Two-Story or Ranch-Style Single Story?

October 18, 2019

Which is right for you, a one-story or two-story home? How do you choose one over the other? The stairs are not the only consideration; the number of floors in your home affects its aesthetic appeal as well as other factors such as sound quality and utility bills. Here’s what you need to know — the good and the bad — about building a single-story home versus a two-story home.

Single-Story Homes

A traditional Texas rancher or a quintessential Austin bungalow — single-story structures provide a warm and cozy appeal that just ooze the comforts of home. Here are the pros and cons of choosing a single-story home.

Advantages of Single-Story Homes

  • Simpler maintenance: With a single level, general upkeep like cleaning the roof, window washing, and painting stays on ground level, making them easier and safer with no potentially dangerous ladders or scaffolding necessary.
  • Easier and cheaper to design: With less space and a simpler structural layout, it’s easier to design a single-story home, which also makes the process less expensive.
  • Safer in emergencies: If you experience a fire, or any other circumstance that requires immediate evacuation, you’ll be able to open any window and easily crawl outside to safety. 
  • Safer for mobility: A staircase or second-story walkway creates potential dangers for young children or the elderly, whereas a single-story home eliminates the risk of perilous falls and accidents. 

Disadvantages of Single-Story Homes

  • Costlier than you’d think: When you break it down by square footage, a single-story home actually costs more to build than a two-story home. Why? A larger footprint means more foundation building and more roofing materials will be necessary.
  • Potentially lower resale value: Unless this is going to be your forever home, it’s important to consider the fact that two-story homes sell at higher prices since there’s a higher demand for them from growing families. 
  • Less privacy: If you’re out in the country, this may not be a factor, but most of us have neighbors and foot traffic around our homes. This traffic isn’t so bad outside the kitchen or living room window, but it can be quite bothersome right outside a bedroom window. 

Two-Story Homes

Whether modern farmhouse, contemporary Craftsman, or other architectural style entirely, two-story homes convey a sense of stately charm and dignity. Here are the pros and cons of choosing a home with two stories. 

Advantages of Two-Story Homes

  • Reduced building cost per square foot: Contrary to popular belief, the priciest portion of your home cost is the foundational aspect, including breaking ground for (and laying) foundation and roof installation. On a two-story home, these elements are built on a smaller footprint, which saves on overall cost.
  • More options for design: When you’re working on a bigger space and scale, you’ve got more room to experiment with architectural and design elements. 
  • Better views: No matter where you live, a room with a view is a priceless feature of a home — and naturally, the higher your elevation, the more expansive your view. 
  • Privacy: Having two floors creates a separation of spaces for entertainment and quiet. Plus, it allows more privacy in bedrooms from neighbors and foot traffic.

Disadvantages of Two-Story Homes

  • Higher utility costs: Because heat rises, your upper story will be warmer than the downstairs, which means you’ll need to adjust your heating and AC to accommodate to comfort levels. 
  • Potential noise increase: If not properly designed with acoustics in mind, a double-story home can create unwanted noise as it echoes throughout the home, especially from the second story down to the first. 
  • Increased risk of accident: For young children, the elderly, or anyone who experiences mobility issues, a stairway presents a potential danger and increased risk of accident. Even if this doesn’t apply to you presently, it’s important to keep in mind if you’re planning on growing a family or retiring in this home.
  • Construction time: Because of the second floor — and the “third floor” attic if applicable — a two-story home takes longer to build.

Need a Home Builder in Austin, Texas, for Your One- or Two-Story Home? Paradisa Homes is a premier home builder in Austin, Texas. We want to help bring your vision of a one-of-a-kind space to life — while making the entire process as simple and as enjoyable as possible. Contact us today to learn how our full-service staff of architects, designers, engineers, and construction professionals can help you build the single- or two-story home of your dreams.