One Story or Two? What to Consider

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When you’re in the early phases of designing a brand-new home, one of the first questions you’ll need to answer is whether you will build a one-story or a two-story home. A lot of this comes down to personal preference, but there are also some practical considerations to take into account.

If you’re wondering, “Should I build a single-story or two-story home?” here’s a quick overview of some of the pros and cons of one-story and two-story homes in Pennsylvania.

Two-story homes generally cost less per square foot to build, because you don’t have to do as much excavating and foundational work. This means you can save a bit of money per square foot in your construction costs. You’ll also have less roof area to construct and maintain, which can be quite beneficial.

Two-story homes are also more fuel efficient, because less area is exposed to the weather in terms of wall and roof square footage. Your utilities also won’t have to travel as great a distance, so you don’t have to worry about wiring, plumbing and sending HVAC as far to get them to where you need to go.

Depending on the property, a two-story home can give you some better views, and save you some more space outdoors because you don’t have to use as much land space. Finally, upstairs bedrooms have a bit more privacy in a two-story home, especially in a neighborhood.

Of course, there are some drawbacks. The stairways can take up a lot of space, and can become an issue for children, elderly people or people with mobility issues.

One story
Single-story homes give you more living space per square foot, because you don’t have to worry about staircases. You also don’t have to worry about the challenges of staircases with elderly people, children and people with mobility challenges, so if you want to “age in place,” a one-story home is a good option.

Of course, as mentioned above, you do have to plan to pay a bit more per square foot because of the larger footprint, which means more foundation building, more roofing materials and more extensive systems for plumbing, HVAC and electrical. You’ll also have less privacy, because you’ll be at eye level with your whole neighborhood.

Having said all that in central PA, WSL generally advises our customers to consider a budget of $150 per sq. ft. of living space for a single-family home and $130.00 per sq. ft. for a traditional 2-story home.

This budget takes into consideration the following: Typical costs on lot, sewage, well and site prep, full basement and an attached 2-car garage.
Extensive site work and high-end finishes would of course change the budget.

All of these are issues you’re going to want to consider if you’re preparing for new home construction. Ultimately, your decision may very well come down to personal preference, but it’s at least worth taking these other factors into account. For more information about whether you should build a single-story or two-story home in Pennsylvania, and how to go about the construction process itself, contact the team at WSL Incorporated today.

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