Building a home is one of the biggest projects most people will undertake. The decisions you make will affect not just the livability of your home but the ongoing upkeep costs, resale value and even the quality of your investment.
One of the biggest decisions is whether you want a single-storey or double-storey home. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and there’s no real correct answer.
In Australia, largely because of the wide open spaces we enjoy, people tend to favour single-storey houses. However, as urban density continues to increase and suburban blocks become more expensive, that trend could start to change in some areas.
To help you make the decision that’s right for you, let’s have a look at some of the pros and cons of two-storey houses.
Pros of a double-storey house
The main advantage of a double-storey house is space, although there are other benefits.
Optimal use of space
By building up instead of out, you are able to make the maximum use of your block. A double-storey house will give you the greatest amount of living space, even on a small block. This is particularly beneficial in inner-city suburbs where land is at a premium.
For larger suburban blocks, a double-story house is a great way to maximise living space while keeping the house’s footprint to a minimum. By keeping the footprint as small as possible, you’re leaving much more land available, which can be used for backyard and garden space, a swimming pool, recreational areas or whatever else you want.
In a double-storey home it can be easier to create privacy. In single-storey homes, especially those with a smaller footprint, bedrooms and living areas tend to be all clustered together. However, in two-storey homes, bedrooms can be located on the second floor and living spaces on the first floor, making it easier to create quiet, private areas in the house. This is particularly useful for families with children or teenagers or for people who work at home.
If your property has a particularly appealing outlook, a double-storey house will help you take advantage of those views. If you have coastal views, a hillside aspect or a proximity to nature, a second-storey can be a great way to maximise those views, while also letting in as much natural light as possible.
Increase design options and kerbside appeal
A double-storey home can have a more grand and impressive appearance and this can increase the kerbside appeal of your property. A double-storey property will also enable you to take advantage of a range of design options not available to single-floor homes. These include things like balconies and feature staircases.
Cons of a double-storey house
While there are some clear advantages to building a two-storey home, there are some less obvious disadvantages.
Accessibility and safety
Because of the need for stairs, a two-storey home can present clear accessibility problems. People with mobility issues, such as the elderly or people with injuries or disabilities, may have trouble getting up and down the stairs. Or, in the case of people in wheelchairs, may not be able to use the stairs at all.
Besides accessibility issues, stairs can also present a safety risk for children and those with mobility concerns.
A two-storey home comes with some design limitations due to the fact that the ground floor must structurally support the second floor. As a result, you have less flexibility when it comes to the ground floor layout.
Time and money
In general, a single-storey home will be cheaper and quicker to build. Because of the greater design and construction complexities, a double-storey home will end up being more expensive and could increase construction time by many months. Read our article on “How to Avoid Budget Blowouts when Building a Home”
Heating and cooling costs
Climate control can be much more challenging in a two-storey property. As a result, you could find yourself paying a lot more for heating and cooling. And these costs can really pile up over the years.
The final decision
Ultimately, the decision will come down to a range of factors including budget, lifestyle, design requirements and the size of your block. It’s vital that you discuss this decision with an experienced home builder so you fully understand the pros and cons that come with a double-storey home.