This is a question many homebuyers contend with. On a practical note, split level homes are great for growing families and those who are looking get the most size for their money. Two story plans also have a smaller building footprint which means a larger yard. They also can provide some separation if that is something you are looking for say from your kids.
You do however lose some usable square footage on the stairs as well entry and exit landings. Split level homes tend to feel a little more broken up when compared to the openness of a one level. Some feel they do not offer the same curb appeal as a single level. They also do not appeal as much to the aging population.
However, this is often a question that boils down to cost specifically cost per square foot. Generally speaking, split level offers considerable more square footage for the money, but why is that? When considering which option best suits your needs, it is important to consider where the savings is coming from.
The most obvious savings are in the foundation and in the roof. In a true split, you only need half as much materials as you would for a comparable sized single level. You also can expect up save up to 35% on materials for the foundation. The other less evident savings is in the lumber.
Single level homes especially newer designs tend to be more open style floor plans. These tend to include larger rooms with fewer walls than a two story homes. This generally means the span or overall length of the wood beams is longer. This also means they probably will also have to be thicker to be able to support the same weight as would a shorter distance.
If you’ve ever been to you local hardware store to buy lumber, you know the price of goes up exponentially. While a common stud 2”x4”x8’ might only cost $3, a double in length 2”x4”x16’ would cost you $10 where as 2”x12”x24’ might be $55. Then you also have to remember building code may require specific grades of lumber for certain applications.
It can be a lot to think about. The point is comparing these two can sometimes feel like apples and oranges, especially when you throw in a few hybrid variations such as the popular single level with a bonus. As former new homes agent and sales manager, I know. If you need someone to help you see though the fluff and assist your process to make a solid decision for your family, please contact me.