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What's cheaper to build- 1 story, 1 1/2 story or 2 story house? Assume all are about 2000 Sq Ft? Answered

Looking into having a home built. Want to know which is easier to build thus cheaper to build.


I realize that this post is few years old and the
answer may not be of help to the person who posted the question. I do believe
that there are a number of us who may be trying to make a build decision. (I
have made my 2 years ago and construction is essentially complete)

I have used Craftsman Book
Company’s “Insurance Replacement Estimator” to work out permutations (Check it
out, it has 30 day free tial; $6/mo after https://www.craftsman-book.com/insurance-replacement-estimator).

Location used is Orlando Florida as it is very close
to the US national average.

Cost of land is extra


What's cheaper to build- 1 story, 1 1/2 story or 2 story


See attached image “Cost 1.png”


Is it cheaper to build up or out?


See attached image “Cost 2.png”

Cost 1.PNGCost 2.PNG

I love my new custom home from Hagen Homes. The owner was on the job site everyday. We couldn't be happier. http://hagenhomes.com/

The answer depends on a rather large number of factors. What area of the country are you building in? And what type of construction are you considering. Concrete slab or pier and beam? Good load bearing soil or shifting clay with a high plasticity index? Are you building a brick veneer home or siding? A one story home has more foundation and foundations are expensive and more roof but roof is not as expensive as foundations. A two story has more framing labor and brick labor since they will have to scaffold up on the second floor. Electrical, hvac and plumbing costs should be about the same. The builder you pick will have a greater impact on the cost of your home. Some builders like to build single story homes and charge more for two story homes and other builders are the other way around. In the end the best way to work this is to find a plan that will fit the lot you have and the you and your other half if any both agree that you like and then shop for a builder that you have trust in and agree that the price if fair. You will be working with this builder for 3 to 12 months and picking on by price alone is a mistake. Some times the lowest bidder is not the builder to sign a contract with. And as a last comment you don't need an architect to design you home. Few homes are designed by architects and few architects design homes.

I agree with most of your points except for the last one about architects. Many architects design homes, I am one of them. I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the value of an architect when comes to material selection and overall design. Those are two example areas in which an architect can provide building savings to an owner. As an architect, we also provided a accurate and detailed drawings to ensure the home is built properly, the better the drawing set, the more accurate bids will and construction will do much smoother and quicker. Architects also works as an advocate for the homeowner, making sure the builder is doing what they are supposed to be doing as well as helping the owner understand builder quotes and timetables. Lastly, having an architect design a home is the only way to truly get a custom home, good design will lead to efficient and cost effective construction.

Most of the homes I design are true custom designed homes. The lead to happy builders and more importantly happy home owners.

I agree with both of you. If you want an off-the-shelf design, or something that's only a minor variant on one, on a plot that has no complications, you don't need an architect. If you want to push the boundaries at all, having someone who is an engineer rather than just a technician does help. Builders work by rules of thumb; architects can evaluate the exceptions and find least-cost solutions. "Anyone can design a bridge that will withstand most situations. An engineer can design one that will just barely withstand the worst-case situation." You may not always get what you pay for. But don't expect to get more than you pay for.

Architects are definitely not engineers. Are you an architect? What I was saying earlier is that architects will often come up with plans and designs that the client usually doesn't even think of. Architects can bring a quality of design that most builders or stock plans do not have being that architects are design professionals. Not only can an architect design something cost effective, but also spatially effective. Many stock plans have way too much wasted space, specially in circulation and programmatic relationships. Even is you have a site with no complications, that shouldn't be signal not to have an architect design a home. Having an architect also provides a design which is to code and therefore fulfilling all safety issues.

Why do you think a building designer can't come up with new ideas and custom plans? I've been designing custom homes for 30 years. Some of my homes have won awards. I've had lots of very happy customers both builders and home owners. Atleast in Texas, architects have NO training in residential design unless exposed to that in their internship. I never said that no architects design homes just that few do, atleast in my experience. It's a common misconception that you "HAVE to have an architect" design a home. I like to clear that up when ever possible. Designing a home really well is part talent, part experience and part education. When you have all three it's a good thing for all involved.

Don't forget that you loose interior space in a 1.5 or 2-story building to stairs, that cheaper to heat and cool a 2-story house but that the initial build of the system is more complicated and that the traffic flow is different (you may want your teenagers to live on the second floor...).


8 years ago

depends on your requirements(bedrooms,bathroom,lawn).is your 2000 square feet a lot area or floor area?but i would say 1 story,because less materials are needed to construct your house.less cement,gypsum board,timber,and you don't need stairs.less foundations for the house will also be made. if that is a floor area,it's cheaper to build a 2 story house rather than a 1 or 1.5 about orksecurity's thought on the roofing material needed for a 2 story house against a 1 or 1.5 story,he is definitely wrong.no matter how high your house is,if all of your floors are of the same floor area as the first one,you'll still be covering it with the same amount of roofing material whether it is only a floor or even 10 floors.

I'm sorry you failed the quiz this morning. You didn't read all of the question before answering. If you're building a 2000 sq. ft. one story home, then you roof 2000 sq. ft. If you build a 2000 sq. ft. two story home then you only roof 1000 sq. ft. The other 1000 sq. ft. is roofed by the second floor.

That's assuming the first floor and second floor are equal is size which isn't always the case.

Re that last paragraph: I think you missed my point. 2000 square feet of floor area as two stories is 1000 square feet of roof. 2000 square feet as one story is 2000 square feet of roof. For 1.5, it depends on how much is 1 and how much is 2. Surface area of walls would admittedly be different as well; that depends in part on the design of the place.

i forgot the labor cost,obviously 1 story house need little manpower as compared to building a higher house. also take into consideration.

The single story home has fewer safety considerations for the workers and you might also be able to save money on a crane depending on the type and size of the trusses you must install. You also reduce materials with a single floor design, and it's never easy to lug a bathtub up a flight of stairs. However, a competent crew of builders would make no distinction between either choice. They'd likely finish the single story home faster, but not by long enough to make a significant impact on the bill from your contractor. You do have to consider one other thing. How much space do you have available on your land? Obviously the single story home will take up more of your land than the two story home.

Get quotes on specific designs, which matter much more, but... all else being equal, I'd suspect 2-story just because there's less roof to deal with. However, this is definitely an area where free advice on the Internet is not worth what you paid for it.