John Explains: The Difference in Cost in Building 1, 2, and 1.5 Story Homes

How Do You Know if Building Up or Out is Right for Your Family?

When you're planning a custom home with us, many people are interested in increasing the square footage in their floor plan. It's important to understand the difference in costs for a 2-story home or a 1-story home. People typically expect a 2-story home to be more expensive than a 1-story, but that's not always the case. A 1.5-story home is actually the most expensive. Learn why below.

FAQs About the Cost of Building A House With 1, 1.5, or 2 Stories

Building a new home requires hundreds of big and small decisions. In fact, the ability to choose every single feature and amenity in your home is one of the biggest reasons to build rather than buy a house. One of the more important choices you will make will be the number of stories your home will be in overall budget. Home prices are influenced by many factors, including the number of stories in a home. You may pay more or less depending on whether you choose a one-story, 1.5-story, or two-story home

In our video, John Graziose uses his expert insight to help you understand the factors that influence the cost of adding a second or half story. Watch for insights on the cost associated with common floor plans, how open-concept living impacts the way a house flows and floor plans are arranged, and why a 1.5 story home is the most expensive option for your custom home.


Factors that Affect Home Pricing

The cost of building your Finger Lakes custom home from the ground up will depend on your choices and several factors.

  • Size: The size of your home and the number of stories it contains are key factors in home prices. Generally, the larger the home, the more you’ll spend on building materials. It also takes longer to build a large home, which increases labor costs.
  • Lot: Lot prices can vary considerably. Location is an important factor in lot price. A small lot in a desirable location may cost less than a multi-acre lot in a less popular spot.
  • Features: You’ll pay more if the design of your home is complex or includes custom features.
  • Upgrades: Upgrading standard features or appliances or adding rooms will increase your cost.

2 story custom home in rochester new york

Is a One-Story, 1.5-Story or Two-Story Home More Expensive?

Many people want to compare the cost to build a ranch vs. a two-story home. You might assume that two-story homes are more expensive to build than one-story homes, but that’s not always the case. A modern single-story home usually requires a bigger foundation than a two-story and a larger roof. In addition to paying more for the materials and labor to build the foundation and roof, costs to expand heating and electric systems laterally will usually be more than vertically. Since those systems must travel through every part of your foundation, additional materials and more manpower hours will be needed, adding to the cost to build a ranch house.

Although one-story ranch house plans typically cost more to execute, you might pay more for a two-story home in some instances.

What floor plan fits your family? Do you prefer rooms big enough for entertaining, want a first-floor master suite, or want an open floor plan in your new home? Just as with a one-story home, a two-story house floor plans with a large main floor will require a bigger foundation, larger roof, and more extensive plumbing and electrical work in the basement. You’ll also need to pay more for building products and labor than you would for a smaller two-story home and might need to buy two HVAC units to heat and cool your home.


Is it Cheaper to Build a 1 1/2 Story House?

Surprisingly, a 1.5-story home can cost more than either a one- or two-story house. Just like a one-story home, a 1.5 story house needs a generously sized foundation. Although the first floor is large, the second floor isn’t quite as spacious.

The dimensions of the small second-floor prevent us from using standard trusses. Trusses are pre-fabricated triangular structures that tie the outside walls together and provide support for your roof. If you choose a 1.5-story home, we have to build flooring and other structural elements out of what we call “stick frame,” which is a more expensive process.

Are you ready to build a new home but having a little trouble deciding between a one-story, 1.5-story or two-story home? We offer many home styles and can help you consider all of the pros and cons. Take a look at our floor plans page for a little inspiration, and reach out to us when you're ready to start the conversation that makes your custom home dreams real!

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