The Extra Costs of 2-Story Homes

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Sure, having the extra space that a second story provides in your home is a great perk, but before you start your house hunt or drawing up plans for an addition, you should consider the added costs of an additional story. Ranch style homes have made a comeback in recent years; they were widely popular in the 1950s among baby boomers, but then eventually fell in popularity to two-story homes. Now, a ranch is the most popular style in a whopping 34 states—talk about a comeback!

The truth of the matter is that there are a range of benefits to a single-story home. These include making it easier to be mobile within your home, having more actual living space (staircases take up a lot of room!), and ridding yourself of the costs associated with a second story. Keep reading to learn about all of these costs that you may not have thought of in considering what kind of home is best suited for you and your family.

Higher Electric Bills

A modern two-story house with the lights on through the windows.

Along with an increased heating and cooling cost, a second floor also dictates a higher monthly electric bill, which means more money out of your pocket. This is because your home will undoubtedly have more light fixtures if it has an additional floor. Especially if your single-story home boasts a more open floor plan, you can take advantage of larger light fixtures instead of many small ones from room to room and floor to floor. This also makes it's easier to save electricity and ensure all of the lights that don’t need to be in use are off when they should be, as there is simply less space to walk around and check before you go to bed or leave the house.

Increased Cost of Heating and Cooling

A second story is sure to increase the costs associated with heating your home in the winter and cooling it in the summer. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a single-story home with the same square footage of a two-story home to cost considerably less to heat and cool. This can be attributed to the science behind it: heat rises and cold air drops. That makes it tough to keep the upstairs cool in warm months and the bottom floor warm in cold months, meaning you will need to run your system more often to reach ideal temperatures.

A single-story home maintains an even temperature more naturally than a two-story home, which allows owners to keep their thermostat at a modest temperature to stay comfortable no matter what the weather. A fireplace or wood-burning stove also goes further in a ranch style home, reaching more rooms and avoiding the problem of all of the heat rising to the second floor. Finally, trees offer more shade for single-story homes than two-story homes, also aiding in the cooling process and helping to cut costs.

More Costly Maintenance

A man powerwashing a two-story house.

Maintaining a home is a lot of work, not to mention the cost! A two-story home prompts the need for more maintenance and therefore more money spent. For instance, a single-story home makes it much easier to clean your own windows on a regular basis without having to hire a business to do it, which can cost a pretty penny. It also makes it easier to powerwash your home yourself instead of having a professional take over.

The Need for More Bathrooms

A two-story home commonly demands the need for more bathrooms. In a single-story home, you can get away with having fewer as everything can be situated closer together, making it easier for family members to share and to have them conveniently and centrally located. Fewer bathrooms in your home can equate to less water usage, which means good things for your utility bills.