You are planning on building a house but are still undecided whether to go for a single or double storey home? While the choice can be obvious in some cases (e.g. size of the block, budget, and personal preferences), it is not a simple decision to make when both are possibilities. Our building designers from Green Start Design have selected some of the main elements to consider to help you make your final decision.
A single storey home gives the impression of being more open with comfortable hallways and open entrances. However, the general footprint is bigger which impacts the size of the outdoor area. Double storey houses fit well for families with pets enjoying outdoor activities and allow space to include features like patios and pools.
Stairs in a double storey home are not necessarily age friendly and therefore less accessible for elderly persons and families with young kids. Both living and quiet areas can be easily separated by having bedrooms upstairs to reduce the noise and keep sleeping areas further from traffic. Depending on where you are located, double storey homes have the advantage to offer elevated views and therefore value, it also has a particular street presence to consider.
Overall, double storey houses cost more to build. Two major elements are impacting the cost. Firstly, the ground floor needs to be designed so it supports the second floor therefore the use of stronger materials/extra reinforcements is required. The second element comes from the builder in terms of scaffolding and the extra work required to move materials upstairs. If your project is an investment, keep in mind that the majority of buyers still prefer single storey homes mainly because of the cost but also the tradition.
Depending on where you buy the block of land, some councils have specified areas for double storey houses only and others where they want to limit them. These specifications are generally to control the streetscape or style in heritage areas.
When it comes to safety, it is obvious that single storey houses offer more safety for the elderly and children (e.g. no stairs or windows to fall down, easy escape in case of fire). It is also easily manageable for a wheelchair access. If you are planning on living an unlimited period in your future home, you may need to consider the single storey house as a better option to help you cope with aging.
As double storey houses are more compacted, they require less external maintenance over the years. For example, the roof area is smaller and there is also less outdoor wall space. However, a single storey house is more convenient to use a ladder to do repairs on the roofing or clean the gutters.