One or two floors: which house is better to build?

The question of choosing the height and number of storeys of the house has long been on the list of the most popular among future residents of the countryside. What is cheaper and easier to build with an equal area? When should you choose a one-story house?


To build a one-story house, there are more requirements for a land plot. The one-story building should be more spacious, well, or at least “square”. The building spot for a one-story house is about twice as large, and it is not easy to fulfill the norms of distances from the fence on six acres even with a two-story house.

Planting a one-story house on a plot is more difficult, especially if all the regulations are followed. And there are a lot of them: by the distance of the house itself from fences, neighboring houses, outbuildings, locations of a septic tank, a water well or a well.

And since the building spot of a one-story building is larger, then on a modest plot there is a risk of being left without a lawn, a bathhouse, a garden and other important and pleasant places for a summer resident. Therefore, it makes no sense to try to squeeze in a flat house with an area of ​​​​100-120 square meters. m on a plot of less than 6 acres. It is better if there is even more land, at least 10-12 acres.

The second requirement is that the site must be flat, without significant elevation changes. Otherwise, for a device, for example, a slab foundation, you will have to dig part of the earth, and these are additional costs. A pile foundation is more suitable for uneven ground if the owner of the house is ready to put up with the fact that there will be a basement of unequal height on different sides of the house.

Building cost

Most of all disputes arise in the assessment of the difference in the cost of building a one- and two-story house. This problem must first be solved geometrically. With an equal floor area in houses in a one-story building, the area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe foundation and roof will be approximately twice as large. And the area of ​​enclosing structures (walls), on the contrary, is about a quarter less. Therefore, if expensive foundations are designed in the house (insulated Swedish slab, for example) and roofing (natural tiles), then saving on construction will not work even with very budgetary walls. And vice versa: if it is planned to use an expensive “pie” of the wall (brick with insulation and a premium facade finish), but roofing and foundation solutions are inexpensive, then the savings will be noticeable.

The general rule is that the more expensive the foundation and roof, the lower the cost of the area of ​​​​the house as its number of floors grows. So, for example, a three-story house with an expensive foundation and roof will generally cost even less than a two-story house.

Next, we compare the design features, and it turns out that in a one-story house there are no costs for arranging an interfloor ceiling and stairs. A two-story house definitely needs a staircase, and it also requires space for approaches and corridors. This “eats” the usable area of ​​the house – an average of 12-15 square meters. m. If the staircase is spiral, then a little less, but it is also less convenient in itself. A ladder is a very significant expense: from 50 thousand to 300 thousand rubles. There is virtually no top in this price tag: it all depends on the choice of materials and the complexity of the project.

A plus to the economy of a one-story building is the arrangement of an interfloor overlap, which, with an insulated roof, may not exist at all, or (with a cold attic) it is very cheap.

Let’s add a smaller number of windows to the advantages of the economy of a one-story building. And since the area of ​​​​vertical structures is smaller, then this will affect the price of finishing inside the house – you can afford more expensive wall decoration inside. For example, lining the bedroom with precious woods, and the fireplace area in the living room with real copper sheets.

An important point is how the roof will be equipped. According to the laws of physics, the heated air in the house rises, and if the roof is poorly insulated, the house can lose up to 70% of heat.

In both types of houses with a pitched roof, it can be insulated over the entire area or cold, with only the attic floor insulated. The first option is more expensive and less reliable: insulating inclined roof surfaces is more resource- and labor-intensive (expenses for work and materials increase). It is easier and cheaper to insulate a horizontal overlap.


There are features in the engineering systems of one- and two-story buildings. Routing heating and hot water pipes along the perimeter of a one-story house is not only longer, but also more energy-intensive. Indeed, from the boiler room, from where hot water is supplied, to the point of consumption (washstand, shower, etc.), this water still needs to be delivered. This takes time and heat is lost: the longer the route, the longer the hot water goes to the right place, and on the way it cools down, warming up the pipes. And this is a whole task to make use more comfortable, and not to wait, as in the “Irony of Fate”, for “warmth to go.”

Heating is the same. The longer the pipelines, the greater the energy loss. Based on this, it is more practical to place bathrooms and washstands closer to the boiler room, and it is easier to do this in a two-story building than in a one-story building. On the other hand, in a one-story building, you can make “wet” zones near the boiler room and minimize tracing, and on the second floor, even with a minimum number of residents in the house, you won’t be able to do without a bathroom upstairs: it’s completely uncomfortable to run from the bedroom to the toilet up the stairs.

On the other hand, a one-story building, especially made on a slab foundation with a warm floor, has a significant advantage – a properly calculated and made floor can warm the house itself, without additional batteries and convectors. And up to the second floor, this type of heating will definitely be small. Along with water and sewage, you will have to pull up the heating, no matter how it is implemented – also through the floor or radiators.

Another stumbling block is lighting and ventilation. Due to the large depth of the rooms in a one-story building, it may be necessary to provide more types of lighting and more points of artificial light, as well as equalize air exchange so that there is no stagnation of exhaust air enriched with fumes and carbon dioxide inside the house.

Economy or comfort

Often, it is not the economy that becomes an argument in favor of the preferences of one or another type of house (it is obvious that any house can be both more expensive and cheaper than its counterparts, depending on the chosen decisions on the quality of materials and constructive features), and the subjective “like – dislike” of a particular customer. However, when comparing one- and two-story houses, serious arguments are added to subjective factors.

The main one is the same staircase. There are several arguments for a one-story building at once: you don’t have to run up and down several times a day, the stairs are a dangerous element of the house, especially for children, and for some older people and people with disabilities it is extremely difficult or sometimes impossible to use the stairs at all. On the other hand, walking up the stairs is useful. Walking is a must for a healthy lifestyle, and going up and down stairs is more effective than “horizontal” walking.

About the safety of stairs for children, too, not everything is so simple. After all, children who live in a house with a ladder do not fall from it, because they know how to use it from an early age. This is a physical skill that a child needs for normal development. It’s just that the stairs should be made safe, with a comfortable height and width of the steps, side railings and preferably not a spiral one.


When choosing a house with one or two floors, you can find a compromise solution that does not greatly affect the construction budget. For example, to make a mezzanine – a balcony on the second level. Or, as they would say in Soviet times, a mezzanine. Such a space can be used year-round as a studio, office, lounge area, or made exclusively for summer so that it can be closed for the winter and not heat the extra space.

This solution is now often used in barn houses that have become popular, which a priori assume one-story, but due to the height of the walls and the ridge of the roof, they allow part of the house to be covered with a half-attic.

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