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BillRoland
Premium
join:2001-01-21
Ocala, FL
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
reply to inGearX

Re: one story vs two story houses - pos vs neg?

I've lived in one stories my whole life (concrete slab, no basement). My brother lives in a two story. My take, I've always liked the idea of living in a 2 story, but, I don't know if I would like it in practice. Climbing stairs, while good exercise, gets to be a pain, especially moving furniture or heavy items up them. Then you can hear people moving around on the wood floor (not really an issue on a concrete slab).

I guess I wouldn't rule either out, would come down to how well liked the house and how well I liked the price.
--
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KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK
reply to Voxxjin
When I was a boy we lived for a time in a house that was 2 stories and a basement. The bedrooms were on the 2nd story and the laundry was in the basement.

However, the house had a laundry chute and a dumbwaiter. As I kid I used to think both were amazing.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini


BubbaKlinton

@comcast.net
reply to scooper
said by scooper:

When the wife and me bought this house (a 2400 sq ft singlestory contemporary),...

We have a single unit heatpump / propane furnace - a 4 ton heat pump and a similarly sized furnace in the crawlspace.

Unless you are in AZ near the Mexican border, that heat pump is WAY too big. Even there, it is too big. AC makes us feel comfortable by controlling humidity -- plus heat. You will be MUCH more comfortable at 85 degrees and 40 percent humidity than 70 degrees and 80 percent humidity.

Next time you replace the system (and that happens about every 16 years or so unless it is ground source) have a mechanical engineer look at the numbers.

It wouldn't surprise me that some previous owner got some idiot HVAC contractor to install a hugely oversized unit.

Going smaller will save you in power bills too.


BubbaKlinton

@comcast.net
reply to graniterock
said by graniterock:

As someone who grew up in a ranch style and now live in a two story I am surprised as to how hot the upstairs gets on the top floor as compaired to the main floor.

That is an HVAC design issue. The system was not well designed, but it can be fixed. Have an HVAC expert come in and balance the system. They will restrict the flow to the registers on the first floor, which will mean more air to the second.

You must be careful though. If the system is restricted too much, you will have system freeze up problems in Summer.

This is one reason many new new homes have two HVAC systems. Plus it gives more control, and some redundancy. I really understand that right now -- NO AC. If you have two units and the first floor system fails, sleeping is still OK. If the second floor unit fails, you just sleep on the first floor.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
reply to Voxxjin
Ever been on the first floor under the "Laundry Room" when the washer and dryer are in operation?

scooper

join:2000-07-11
Youngsville, NC
kudos:2
reply to BubbaKlinton
We were the ones who put this in in 1997 - the previous unit had failed. Being relative newbies to this (and not much internet about this), we took the contractor's recomendation. Next time - we'll be having a Manual J calculation done , but it wouldn't surprise me if we are a little oversized - we can hold 70 degrees inside on a 100+ degree day outside (and with NC humidity, to boot) - and we aren't running 100% duty cycle to hold 75 inside in those conditions.

Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
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reply to BillRoland
Click for full size
Foot of staircase.
Click for full size
Head of stairs
Click for full size
Landing looking down.
If you build or buy a two story house do not install a staircase like this one. Here are some photographs and some of the problems with the staircase:

1) The top photograph shows the foot of the stairway ending at the first floor hall. The stairway is so narrow that it almost does not meet the width requirement for a stair way lift. Make sure you build a wide enough staircase. Normally the rail the seat rides on has to be bolted to the floor at the foot of the stairs. That means the rail would stick out in the hallway. One stairway lift manufacture offers a automatic folding rail for an additional $1,000.00 on top of a $3,400.00 cost for the basic lift.

2) The middle photograph shows the top of the staircase. To descend the stairs you have to turn right, walk down three stairs, make a 180 degree turn on the landing and then walk down the stairs shown in the bottom photograph. This scheme makes it very difficult to move furniture to the second floor.

If you are considering an elevator you can save money if you install a wheelchair lift. A wheelchair lift has an open platform with formed metal sides. It does not operate automatically. The user must hold down a button until the lift ascends or descends to the desired level. Most wheelchair lifts can accommodate three landings, for example, Basement, First Floor, Second Floor. I was quoted about $18,000.00 for a wheel chair lift and $30,000.00 for an automatic elevator without a basement landing.

If I was building a two story house I would have the shaft way for an elevator or wheelchair lift constructed with the house. I saw one proposed design where the shaft way formed two aligned closets. The cross beams for the floor of the second floor closet was dropped onto brackets. The floor and brackets could be removed if the elevator was installed. If you can afford it install the wheelchair lift when you build the house and get full use of it.

This house has no aligned closets so a shaft way would have to be constructed on the outside of the house. I saw one design where hallways were aligned one above the other with a window at the end of each hallway. The windows were replaced with doors and a shaft way was constructed at the end of the hallways to accommodate the elevator.


Snakeoil
Ignore Button. The coward's feature.
Premium
join:2000-08-05
Mentor, OH
kudos:1
reply to inGearX
Advantages of 1 story:
No stairs to climb when going to get the laundry.
Even heat, A/C distribution.
Easy to access roof, and the rest of the home exterior.

Disadvantage:
Can have a large footprint. Meaning on a less then an acre of land plot, it'd be more house vs lawn.

Advantages of a 2 story:
Smaller foot print. Meaning more lawn, less house.

Disadvantage:
Uneven heat, A/C distribution. The upstairs can be warmer in the summer time then downstairs, and hotter in the winter then down stairs.

Having 1 or possibly 2 flights of stairs to climb. When you are young stairs aren't an issue, but as you age and your joints start to go, they become an issue.

Roof, second story exterior being hard to get to. If you own/can afford a ladder to reach that high, and heights don't bother you, then this isn't a big deal. But if you don't own a ladder that tall, or heights bother you, it is a big deal.
--
Is a person a failure for doing nothing? Or is he a failure for trying, and not succeeding at what he is attempting to do? What did you fail at today?.


Snakeoil
Ignore Button. The coward's feature.
Premium
join:2000-08-05
Mentor, OH
kudos:1
reply to Mr Matt
Interesting. I had never given an elevator a thought. Though if it starts around 30k, it might be better just to use that money and buy a one story home.

But if building a home, I can see having it planed/put in, during the planing stage. Plus, it could be a feature that a future buyer might be interested in.

Our two story home would have to have an exterior elevator shaft built on. The home is 30/40 years old, and I doubt that they thought about wheel chair access to the second story that far back.

--
Is a person a failure for doing nothing? Or is he a failure for trying, and not succeeding at what he is attempting to do? What did you fail at today?.


dosdoxies
Premium
join:2004-12-15
Wallingford, PA
reply to inGearX
I think whether you have kids or not should factor in the decision. When I was a tyke my family lived in an old 3 story house with 10 or 12 foot ceilings and I can't count the times I took a fall down those stairs. I sure wish we had lived in a 1 story then.


workablob

join:2004-06-09
Houston, TX
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to Mark910
said by Mark910:

Ranch. 1 floor. As you age you will appreciate no stairs.

This
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djrobx
Premium
join:2000-05-31
Valencia, CA
kudos:2
Reviews:
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reply to BubbaKlinton

We have a single unit heatpump / propane furnace - a 4 ton heat pump and a similarly sized furnace in the crawlspace.

Unless you are in AZ near the Mexican border, that heat pump is WAY too big. Even there, it is too big. AC makes us feel comfortable by controlling humidity -- plus heat. You will be MUCH more comfortable at 85 degrees and 40 percent humidity than 70 degrees and 80 percent humidity.

I dunno. I'm in an LA suburb. It gets hot but nothing like Arizona. We have a 4 ton on our 2083 square foot 2 story. It seems to be sized pretty appropriately, it just barely keeps us cool (thermostat gets up to 78 and it runs endlessly) when it's 105+ out. Granted, it's old, so it's not as efficient as it used to be, but it's certainly not crazy oversized. Our neighbors have a slightly larger house and just put in a 5 ton unit.

Our old 3.5 ton unit installed into our 1400 square foot two story home was a bit oversized. I wouldn't go less than 3 in that house though.

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Rethink Billable.

ctggzg
Premium
join:2005-02-11
USA
kudos:2
reply to inGearX
Am I the only one who didn't know what a "cape" home is?


GadgetsRme
RIP lilhurricane
Premium
join:2002-01-30
Canon City, CO
The only one who admitted it.
»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Cod_(house)
--
Gadgets


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to ctggzg
said by ctggzg:

Am I the only one who didn't know what a "cape" home is?

Don't feel bad, I only assumed what ranch style homes are.
Where I live, these are the terms we use:

Bungalow - Single story with basement
Split-level - Half is 2 story, other half is 1 story (Set in middle of the first half)
Cottage - Two story with basement

The end

MaynardKrebs
Heave Steve, for the good of the country
Premium
join:2009-06-17
kudos:4
reply to markf
said by markf:

I would say a big factor for me would be land costs. Where I am, to purchase a lot would be expensive enough and I would want as much outdoor space as possible, so I would give 2 story.

While I understand the when we get older argument in favour of a bungalow, I have a long way to go yet. I would probably want to downsize from my next home into my "retirement " home too.

To have the land for a one story would mean being out of town, (or paying a fortune) so more driving, and at an advanced age I would see that as less desirable. If I were custom building I would make sure the stairs are wide enough to accommodate a lift if necessary.

To put up a ranch-style house on my hood would take about 1/4 - 1/3rd acre of land which means purchasing two lots with existing 2-storey homes on them, demolish the homes, and only then build the ranch house - and would cost about $3-5+ million to just buy the existing homes. Besides which, ranch style just isn't the style in my hood.

A hydraulic elevator big enough to hold an ambulance stretcher or 4 people, which goes 3 floors (basement, 1st, & 2nd) will run about $25-30k. Depending how the house is designed, you can even have 1/2 floor stops to stop at a garage level. I'd rather have an elevator than a stair lift. With an elevator you don't have to move even if you're confined to a wheelchair or use a walker. Using the numbers above, to build an accessible ranch home in my hood which would esthetically 'fit' in the neighbourhood would cost $3-5MM for land + construction costs vs. $30k for the elevator + remodel costs in an existing home.

The nice thing about home elevators are the door options - you can have just one door - like a regular elevator, front & back doors - like a freight elevator, or doors at 90 degrees to one another. The latter two options give you lots of flexibility in room/corridor layouts on different floors.

You can always rough-in a space for an elevator in a new/remodeled home, and use the space as 4'x7' (or so) walk-in storage on each floor until you want to add the elevator.


fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
reply to inGearX
I like the height. I can see the street and look down on a nice view. Watching the street from ground level isn't as nice.

I lived in a ranch for most of my life (dad's house) and didn't like the single level. I wished we lived in a multi-level house.


Voxxjin
Made of Hamburger
Premium
join:2010-01-13
Dupont, WA
Reviews:
·CenturyLink
reply to KrK
said by KrK:

When I was a boy we lived for a time in a house that was 2 stories and a basement. The bedrooms were on the 2nd story and the laundry was in the basement.

However, the house had a laundry chute and a dumbwaiter. As I kid I used to think both were amazing.

Same set up as my house going up except for the laundry chute and the dumbwaiter (intellectually challenged waiter for the PC world )
--
Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war


Voxxjin
Made of Hamburger
Premium
join:2010-01-13
Dupont, WA
Reviews:
·CenturyLink
reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

Ever been on the first floor under the "Laundry Room" when the washer and dryer are in operation?

The one house we had that the laundry room was on the second floor was right over the downstairs bathroom so it didn't matter.
--
Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war


BubbaKlinton

@comcast.net
reply to inGearX
said by [bquote= GadgetsRme See Profile :

I'm 30 but I plan on living

I was 26 when I bought my house.

I am now 57, and I was in a very bad accident in 2002.

I see a future where the second floor and basement are not on my program.

Planning for the future is a good idea, and the future may not be as far from now as you think.


BubbaKlinton

@comcast.net
reply to alkizmo
said by alkizmo:

said by ctggzg:

Am I the only one who didn't know what a "cape" home is?

Don't feel bad, I only assumed what ranch style homes are.
Where I live, these are the terms we use:

Bungalow - Single story with basement
Split-level - Half is 2 story, other half is 1 story (Set in middle of the first half)
Cottage - Two story with basement

The end

Those terms are different all over the country.

Here:

Bungalow: SMALL single floor home, possibly with a basement or crawl space. Generally one, 1.5 for two baths. May have a basement with a dirt floor. Not a place for anything.

Cape: Does not exist, in general. MAY be a very small house, one level on as slab or crawl space.

Split Level: Same, or two stories on both sides of the entrance. May be three half levels or four. When three levels the single level is likely on a crawl space, not a slab.

Split Foyer: Generally two levels, but the entrance is in the middle, between the two floors. Basically a Ranch with the entry between the main floor and the basement.

Ranch: Single floor. It MAY have a basement, or be on a slab. I grew up in one of these.

Center Hall Colonial: A two story house with the stairs in the middle. Generally very large. In this area (DC) it is on a basement.

Side Hall Colonial: A two, or possibly three story house with the hall and steps to one side or the other. Generally a smaller town house. May be two, three or even four stories. In general, they are on a crawl space, but can be on a very unfinished basement, often with a dirt floor. They are mostly very old, like in Old Town(e) Alexandria, VA.

Cottage: A small single floor home with an unfinished basement, even with a dirt floor.

Shotgun: A home with a center hall, and everything off of it. MANY didn't originally have inside plumbing. No basement, but generally over a very badly build crawl space. Some didn't even have a center hall. You had to walk through the rooms to get from the front to the back. My great grandmother (I don't recall her husband) and my mother's parents died in this type of home. My Mother and her five siblings grew up in one. These are never built today.

Different parts of the country have other odd conventions. In the DC area, kitchen appliances convey with the house. Laundry appliances are negotiated as part of the sale. They GENERALLY stay, but maybe not.

In central and southern Virginia, you take everything with you. Even if your appliances don't fit your new house, too bad, you take them.


BubbaKlinton

@comcast.net
reply to djrobx
said by djrobx See Profile
dunno. I'm in an LA suburb. It gets hot but nothing like Arizona. We have a 4 ton on our 2083 square foot 2 story. It seems to be sized pretty appropriately, it just barely keeps us cool (thermostat gets up to 78 and it runs endlessly) when it's 105+ out. Granted, it's old, so it's not as efficient as it used to be, but it's certainly not crazy oversized. Our neighbors have a slightly larger house and just put in a 5 ton unit.

Our old 3.5 ton unit installed into our 1400 square foot two story home was a bit oversized. I wouldn't go less than 3 in that house though.
[/BQUOTE :

I think you need to check the freon charge in your unit.

Having your HVAC run continuously when the outside temp. is 105 is just fine. Even at 100 it is fine, and 95 is OK. You should not and can not expect more than a 30 degree drop. If it is there, the humidity will not be low enough on normal days, and you are both uncomfortable and paying far too much for electricity. You will be forced to set your thermostat FAR too low to be comfortable.

In much of Nevada, the temp. will go to even 115. MANY houses don't have AC. They use evaporative coolers. These are basically chimneys that have humidifier pads in the top, and they are kept wet. The evaporation of water cools it drastically, and that cooler air comes down the "chimney" and the air goes out either vents at the base of the walls, or out slightly open windows. Since the outside air is nearly totally dry, the "cooler" air with still dry humidity makes us comfortable. I am happy in Las Vegas at 115 when I am in the shade. It is DRY.

Dry beats cool or cold any day.

From both a comfort and energy cost standpoint you are MUCH better off with an undersized unit than an oversized unit.


Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
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reply to inGearX
One thing I failed to mention in my initial post was the problem installing additional wiring in a two story house built on a slab. Adding wiring on the first floor is almost impossible without cutting holes in the ceiling to pull the wires.

The budgetary prices I quoted for an elevator or a wheelchair lift included the cost of constructing a shaft way. One can achieve a considerable saving if the shaft way is created when the house is constructed.

If I had a choice I would install a wheelchair lift. The lift system is different than an elevator and does not require regular inspections. The open top of the platform allows the wheelchair lift to be used to move furniture that would not fit in a residential elevator cab. The largest standard platform is 60 Inches by 45 Inches which is larger than most residential elevator cabs.

Here is a link to a planning guide for the installation of a wheelchair lift:

»www.garaventalift.com/dsgn/Genes···uide.pdf

The same company also manufactures residential elevators.

Austinloop

join:2001-08-19
Austin, TX
kudos:1
reply to inGearX
Many years ago, when I departed the Air Force, we stayed with a friend of my wife's while job hunted and she finished her college degree. At that time we had a 1 year old who was extremely mobile.

We stayed in a couple of bedrooms upstairs, and, after that experience, I have zero, actually less than zero, desire to ever own or build a 2 story house. Among other problems was the gate across the stairs (top and bottom) to keep the child from trying to go up or come down in a very rapid manner.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
said by Austinloop:

I have zero, actually less than zero, desire to ever own or build a 2 story house.

In 1984 my wife and I built a 2 story colonial. Ten years later we had enough of going up and down the stairs to the bedroom. We sold it in 1995. Never again.

Austinloop

join:2001-08-19
Austin, TX
kudos:1
It only took us about 3 monts to decide nada 2 stories. Ever since then one story houses.

dslmike

join:2009-02-07
Surprise, AZ
reply to inGearX
I've lived in both 1 and 2 story houses, and everyone else has pretty much covered everything. As I'm getting older, I'm starting to think more about getting up the stairs. But I think I have two options. One, I've seen those commercials for those lifts that you sit on and they take you up. Or if I really get in bad shape, I can convert what is now the downstairs gameroom to a bedroom.