Author Topic: 1-1/2 story vs full 2 story house  (Read 3757 times)

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Hydroman

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1-1/2 story vs full 2 story house
« on: August 26, 2006, 10:45:29 AM »
We own a 20x40 one story cabin on 20 acres in North Idaho (off grid). We are looking at various expansion design possibilites. We are thinking that staying with the current foot print by going up will cost less (save the roof trusses, existing metal roof etc).

Can anyone inform us on what the primary advantage is of going with a 1-1/2 story house  over a full 2 story? Is it just cost or is there some other reason one might go with a 1-1/2 story? It is hard for me to believe that the building cost advantage is that great. It seems to me there would be a slight increase in material cost but the labor would be about the same. Given the extra usable square footage of a full 2 story versus a 1-1/2 story with a 4-5ft knee wall, it seems the extra cost would be worth it. This assumes no dormers or other extra architectual details. Is there something else we should be considering when making this trade-off decision?

Thanks,
« Last Edit: August 26, 2006, 10:48:29 AM by Hydroman »

glenn-k

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Re: 1-1/2 story vs full 2 story house
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2006, 11:12:07 AM »
Cost savings may depend some on whether you are doing it yourself or not, how well things come apart and how well they go back together.

In a remodel like this it seems that there is as much labor tearing things apart and salvaging materials as there is to just expand the ground floor.  Usually at least twice the work.  You would have to weigh the variables and the value or cost of your time also.

Welcome to the forum. :)
« Last Edit: August 26, 2006, 11:12:22 AM by glenn-k »

Hydroman

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Re: 1-1/2 story vs full 2 story house
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2006, 12:27:09 PM »
Thanks Glen,

You make a good point relative to the decision to add to the ground floor versus adding a 2nd story. Of course adding to the ground floor will still result in demolition of existing walls  as well cutting into existing roof lines.  

 I still would like to understand if there is any reason people go with a 1-1/2 story vs a full 2 story other then the cost savings?
« Last Edit: August 26, 2006, 12:32:53 PM by Hydroman »

peg_688

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Re: 1-1/2 story vs full 2 story house
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2006, 02:33:13 PM »
[highlight]Height restrictions[/highlight] comes to mind. Also for a 2 storey you'll need , [highlight]if permit is required[/highlight] , a 8" foundation wall. That would tend to go to $$ issue's but [highlight]IF a permit is needed [/highlight]and your foundation does not meet or exceed requirements you'd be looking at eng. fee's , upgrading a foundation in place is never cheap.

 But again thats a [highlight]IF[/highlight] and money's not a issue.

 I also think you'll be in for more surprise's at the building dept./ bidding process, engineering design etc ,  again IF a permit is needed, going up even a little will be lot's of dollars , truss's will need removed to the ground , wiring , venting , plumbing all will need removed for safe / efficient / work to be done. Standby when you look at the bids , you might want to sit down first. What your talking about doing is not impossible with enought money you can do anything right ;)

  Have you every repaired or replaced even two truss's on a completed house?

 I have , a few times,  [highlight]it is a super large extra PITButt.[/highlight] I hope to never have to do it again , which means MTL big wind storms for PNW and multiple house repairs this winter ::) ;D

 Welcome aboard :), G/L PEG

Hydroman

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Re: 1-1/2 story vs full 2 story house
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2006, 02:38:00 PM »
PEG,

Cabin/Land is in Bonner County, Idaho. What Building Department?  ;D


peg_688

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Re: 1-1/2 story vs full 2 story house
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2006, 02:40:20 PM »
Ok so no permit , that opens it up some . You have building experience ? Will you be hiring it out , or DIY?

 Are they really truss's or is it a stick frame roof ?

 Is the foundation adaquate  for the added weight / structure ?

« Last Edit: August 26, 2006, 02:41:31 PM by peg_688 »

Amanda_931

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Re: 1-1/2 story vs full 2 story house
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2006, 05:21:21 PM »
Of course the senior citizens with creaky knees among us are going to ask--do you really want to trot up and down stairs all the time?  

It might be nice to have interior stairs if you really wanted to get some exercise in bad weather, but....

glenn-k

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Re: 1-1/2 story vs full 2 story house
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2006, 05:52:20 PM »
My uncle and a bunch o us remodeled an old homestead house -- I remember he mentioned that building new would have been cheaper and easier.  Seems like a similar deal to me.  That and every time I do  a steel  re-model on stores - buildings etc, I always figure about double the time it should take because it always does.

peg_688

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Re: 1-1/2 story vs full 2 story house
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2006, 06:32:38 PM »
Quote

  That and every time I do  a steel  re-model on stores - buildings etc, I always figure about double the time it should take because it always does.

  So  you go in doubling , then dbl again , and you're right on in the end. I'll have to try that , the old dbl x  dbl = Right on  ;)

glenn-k

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Re: 1-1/2 story vs full 2 story house
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2006, 06:58:53 PM »
That is the way it always goes with remodels.  You know it should take 2 hours to do the beam and after 8 or so it is finally in place.  Hard to make any money on them lots of times.

Hydroman

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Re: 1-1/2 story vs full 2 story house
« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2006, 09:49:15 PM »
Ok, so you have convinced me it is not worth it to add a 2nd story. It is going to be add-on to the groundfloor or maybe just be happy with the current cabin as is,  or just build something new from scratch. With 20 acres there are a number of prime building sites. In fact the site where the cabin currently is would not have been my first choice if I was the one building it. I bought this place for the land, setting and year round creek for hydropower.  By the way it was owner built in 1999, with 2x6 construction, so it is not some old pioneer cabin.

So lets get back to my original question. What is the primary advantage of going with a 1-1/2 story (2nd story with short knee-walls) versus 2 story assuming one is buiding new from scratch? I know the reason people go with one or 2 story but I am not sure why one would go with 1-1/2.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2006, 09:55:49 PM by Hydroman »

glenn-k

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Re: 1-1/2 story vs full 2 story house
« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2006, 10:02:10 PM »
Aesthetics to some.  As PEG mentioned height restrictions in some areas.

On thing I can think of is that most of the 1 1/2 story are semi-balloon framed  --studs go up to the upstairs 1/2 wall.  This is  a way to make an upstairs wall that is very strong with no hinge point and floor joists are put on let in ribbons.  Just seems easier to me.  The only other reason I can think of is that it reminds me of most of the old style houses where I grew up-- cool attics with angled walls.  It is also great for people who like dormers.  

I think as you said, cost difference is not that great and it comes down to the look you like and your reasons for wanting that look, amount of room or storage.  It may in some cases change the amount of useable space you are taxed on due to height qualifications if that should enter into the picture.

The short answer seems to be "personal preference."

glenn-k

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Re: 1-1/2 story vs full 2 story house
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2006, 10:03:23 PM »
We'd be interested in learning more about your hydropower too. :)

desdawg

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Re: 1-1/2 story vs full 2 story house
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2006, 05:36:35 AM »
I think Glenn hit on it when he mentioned aesthetics. Lots of these homes have a very small footprint and if you add a tall building to that it would look gawky and ungainly. Another reason probably stems from folks living in snowy country where a steep roof that sheds snow is needed. Usable space going to waste can be recaptured at a relatively low cost per square foot.