From the Ground Up

One Story vs. Two Story — Which is Better?

Sometimes when people think of custom homes, they think about these huge houses with multiple levels. But custom homes come in all shapes and sizes, they are custom to you and are built for your specific lifestyle and family needs. We have all types of different floor plans, some that are one story, some that are two-story, and some that have an option to add a basement or not. Everyone wants different things, which is why custom homes are so great.

If you’re having trouble choosing what you want for your custom home, here are the pros and cons of both.

Inside entryway of a home


One-Story Homes


Accessibility: With no stairs, that means you don’t have to haul your groceries, laundry, or vacuum cleaner up the stairs every week. In general, maintenance is a lot easier when everything is on the ground level.

Safer: If you have small children, pets, mobility-challenged people, or elderly people in the household, it’ll be a lot safer if you don’t have a staircase. Plus, if there is ever a fire, it’s easier to evacuate.

Aging in place: If you are downsizing or planning to make this your forever home, single-story homes are better for people who are aging. It’s easier to move around and it’s wheelchair accessible.

Quieter: You won’t hear footsteps above you or noise from people coming up and down the stairs.

More design options: One-floor living can give you more options with ceiling heights and skylights since you don’t have to worry about a top floor.


Costly: One-story homes require more land, which means more money. It requires a bigger footprint, meaning more foundation and more roofing materials. You’ll also need bigger HVAC and plumbing systems because it needs to extend the length of the home.

Less privacy: Depending on where you live, there’s a possibility that your house is more visible since everything is at eye level.

Resale value may be lower: On average, two-story homes sell for higher prices and are more in demand among families. This may change as baby boomers start to downsize, though.

Exterior shot of a home on a sunny day


Two-Story Homes


More privacy: The second floor of your home is less visible from the street, which provides more privacy. It also isn’t as accessible to any break-ins. It can also provide privacy between bedrooms by having some on the first floor and some on the second.

Costs less per square foot: The most expensive elements of home building are the excavation, foundation, rafters, and roof installation. All of this will be reduced with a two-story home. Plus, roof maintenance will be less since it’ll be a smaller area.

More energy efficient: With fewer outdoor walls and roof areas, you’ll be less exposed to the weather. That means it’ll be harder for heat to sneak out or cold air to come in.

Better views: When you’re up higher on the second floor, you’ll have a better view. You can also add a nice patio to enjoy on the top floor.

Larger outdoor space: One-story homes take up a lot more land space. With a two-story home, you can use that space as outdoor space and enjoy a larger yard.


Higher risk of accidents: There is always the chance that someone falls down the stairs. You may have to go out and buy child-proofing gates to try to avoid these accidents.

Wasted Space: A stairway can eat up 100 square feet of living space, which can add to the overall cost.

Construction considerations: Two-story homes can take longer to build because of the second floor, staircase, and sometimes a deeper foundation.

Exterior photo of a home on a snowy winter day

Whatever you choose, we can help design your dream home. We have floor plans with both options and each floor plan can be customized to meet your exact needs. Or, we can always start from scratch! Download our Catalog of Floor Plans to check them out.

Contact us today!