Build split-level homes

Pros and cons of a split-level house

Building a split-level house is an excellent way to take advantage of your available space and to make the most of your sloping block. Like all types of homes, split-level houses do have their pros and cons, but before we jump into those, let’s first address what a split-level house actually is. 

A split-level home, in its simplest sense, is when the floor levels are staggered.  The floors typically only require a small set of stairs and can be split in just about any direction – front, back, sideways, up and down. The home could be single storey on one side and double storey on the other, or the home could simply be raised in one area. Split-level homes are often designed for sloping blocks where the home is built into the natural angle of the land. Typically, the aim of split-level homes is to work with the natural landscape of a block, instead of against it to make the most of available space and to save money. In saying this, due to the aesthetic look and space advantage, some people are opting to build split-level homes even when their block is not small or sloped. Split-level homes were incredibly popular as their own style/design in days gone by, but they are starting to make a comeback and we can see why. Staggered floor levels, short sets of stairs, angled windows, views for days… Yes, please.



The main pro of a split-level home is the fact that it utilises space. Ssplit-level homes ensure that very little land is wasted because it allows for floor spaces to overlap. The downstairs of the split-level home is often for living, dining and kitchen. These rooms are often larger than their upstairs counterparts as they have more space to work with due to being on a lower level.


Wherever your block is located, there is no doubt that split level homes provide better elevation and views whether it be of your neighbourhood, the beach, a park, the list goes on. The upper level of a split-level home is often above ground level, which allows for the residents to take advantage of the beautiful scenery, whatever it may be.


There is a common misconception that building a split-level house is more expensive, when in fact it can be quite the opposite. There are many cost saving benefits particularly in terms of earthworks (moving soil, adding soil, retaining walls, etc.). When building a split-level home these costs are significantly reduced as you are working with the natural landscape instead of trying to change it. By saving money in this area, you will have more available resources to put towards additional features of your new home.


Whilst there are functional benefits to building a split-level home, there are of course aesthetic benefits too. Staggered floor levels, short sets of stairs, picture windows and unique designs – what’s not to love. This is also in terms of interior design as split-levels can give your home a more spacious appearance, making them feel larger and more luxurious. The split of your home can also serve to separate or create different areas or wings of your home, keeping bedrooms and living areas separate is often a popular choice. Split-level homes are great for creating an increased level of privacy and noise reduction in this sense.  


Here are the cons that you should be aware of before deciding on this type of construction project.


One of the main cons of building a split-level home is during the construction stage. Depending on the slope, it can sometimes prove difficult to access steep sites with heavy machinery. Whilst this is not completely detrimental, it is vital there is enough space so trades can easily drop off supplies without getting too close to neighbouring structures – as well as being able to manoeuvre their vehicles into and out of the property.


Drainage… it can prove to be difficult, particularly if you are building on a block with a steep slope. Whilst this may not become a major issue, it just means that your home may require a more complex plumbing solution in order to drain water away from your home and prevent flooding. This is why once again, it is vital to work with your builder. At Lofty, we will assess your block and deem what is necessary to ensure a safe and successful home build.


Obviously a split-level home will not suit everyone’s lifestyle or needs due to the stairs involved. Whilst there are benefits to living in a split-level home, for some people stairs can pose an issue. For example, if someone has mobility issues, walking up and down stairs may prove difficult, or if there are young children in the home, the stairs can pose a safety risk. In saying this, even if one does not have mobility issues, moving between floors on a split-level may frustrate some people (think cleaning, bathroom locations, etc.)


Renovating or adding to a split-level home can be a challenging and expensive endeavor. Due to there being multiple levels throughout the home, sometimes stacked on top of one another, certain projects or additions may not be feasible to complete. In addition to this, access again will pose an issue here, the last thing you want to be doing is craning in materials and equipment!

So there you have it, the pros and cons of building a split-level house. Deciding on whether this would suit you and your lifestyle is a question only you can answer, but there are definitely strong arguments for both. Although regardless of this, everything is easier when working with the team here at Lofty Building Group, we can help you design and build a home for your steep or sloping block. 

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