Is It Better to Build a One-Story or Two-Story Home?

[fa icon="calendar"] March 19, 2021 / by Home Services Expert

new construction two story homeWhen you’re building a new construction home what should you choose: a one-story or two-story home?

Most places have a mix of both types of homes, and there are benefits and drawbacks to each style. Whether you’re looking at cost or the size of your household, or even lot size – there are many things to think about. As you’re deciding whether to build a one-story or two-story home, here are some things to consider:


Cost Per Square Foot

Overall it is likely going to be cheaper per square foot to build a two-story home. According to Schumacher Homes,

“When it comes to pure economics, two story homes are surprisingly the more affordable option. Tall rather than wide, two story homes have a smaller footprint, which means there is less foundation for the home and also less roof structure up at the top. In a two story home, the rooms are less spread out since they are on top of one another rather than spread across a broad landscape, removing the need for plumbing and wiring to stretch throughout the home. All together, two story homes offer construction cost savings.”

Cost per square foot is not the only thing to consider, of course.


Lot Size

When it comes to the “footprint” of your home, single-story homes generally take up more lot space. This could become an issue if you have a very small lot, because it means your house will have to be small enough to be built to code. However, it may not be a huge issue if your lot is big enough to accommodate your desired house size and still give you a yard that’s big enough for you. Depending on your needs and if space inside the home is a high priority, you can have much more living space on your lot with a two-story home.


Ability to Sell Quickly

Are you concerned about selling your home at a later date? According to Schumacher Homes,

“If you are thinking ahead toward a time when you might consider selling, it’s important to note that single story homes tend to resell easier and quicker due to their popularity with home buyers.”

Whatever their reasons for popularity, single-story homes are the preference for many and could sell quicker. Keep in mind that it can depend on the real estate market, and if there is a shortage of homes (as is often the case here in the North State) then homes may sell relatively fast regardless of the style.



From a practical perspective, it’s easier to maintain a single-story home. This is because things are simply more accessible. Getting onto the roof or cleaning the gutters of a single story home is a much easier task than with a two-story home. Additionally, it will be easier to paint and clean the exterior if it is one-story.


Heating & Cooling

A two story home can be costlier to heat and cool. says:

“Heat rises; cold air drops. As a result, your upstairs will run hot, your downstairs cold, and you'll have to adjust your heating and AC accordingly. In fact, some experts say that a two-story home may have double the heating and cooling costs of a single-story home of the same square footage.”

Here in Northern California, we are rightfully more concerned about the hot season and keeping a house cool upstairs. Homes are significantly more energy efficient today than they used to be, so a newer two-story home may still be an improvement over an older home in terms of energy efficiency. It’s best to talk to your contractor to get an idea of the latest trends in efficiency, and ideally to speak with previous clients of the same builder about the energy efficiency of their homes.


Ease of Getting Around

Accessibility and getting around the house may be an issue for you. If that’s the case, a single-story home is the way to go. If you need or desire multiple levels, keep in mind that you can make sure essential spaces (including a bedroom and full bath) are on the first floor.


Determining the Best New Construction Home Style

In the end, there is no right or wrong answer here – just details and facts to take into consideration. You have to decide what is most important for you, along with the constraints you have:

  • Lot size
  • Building codes and permits
  • Construction costs
  • Budget limitations
  • Household size and needs

Here at Experts In Your Home, our new construction contractors are happy to help you begin this process. Give us a call or contact us online and we will do our best to answer your questions and get the process started if you are choosing to build a home.

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