Split-level homes take a unique design to work with the landscape they are built on instead of against it. Their floor levels are staggered and have short staircases. The design leaves most homeowners who want to renovate them asking – Can you put an addition on a split level home?
The answer to this question is ambiguous, as it depends on which part you want to add. When done, it must be added correctly to avoid creating an ugly look that can chase potential customers away if you intend to sell it later. Putting additions on split-level homes is not a DIY task and calls for strategic and professional input.
I have done thorough research, talked to a few building professionals, and developed a comprehensive write-up about the additions. Read on to learn more.
Common Additions to Split-Level Homes
Property owners whose split-level homes are old often have an urge to upgrade them to modern standards. According to contractors, such additions can be made up or out of these buildings. Common additions include:
It is an ingenious addition to a split-level home that does not compromise its structural integrity. Often, the garage is attached to the house and can sometimes be filled with junk. Clear the junk, find a different parking space, and convert your garage into an extra room.
A few improvements such as additional windows, plumbing lines, and doors are added to make the room comfortable. Windows helps ventilate the room while a new door converts the space from a garage to a casual room. Ensure your contractor covers your plumbing lines to protect them from weather elements.
Finding an alternative parking space may not seem like a good option to you. If this is the issue, you can add a room on top of your garage. You can use the room as a rental, guest house, office space, or for your teenagers.
Tip: When making a garage addition, check the building codes for garages in your area to ensure you comply.
Master Suite Addition
A large master suite is preferable because it provides privacy and is easy to customize. Large beds, a private study area, large wardrobes, and custom bathrooms make master suites comfortable. Rooms in the split-level homes are tiny, depriving homeowners of the luxury.
Today, this luxury can be achieved by extending the master suite. Walls to the adjacent bedrooms are brought down to create a continuous space. Once down, the contractor strategizes on what goes where to ensure they do not interfere with the house’s stability.
Plumbing and wiring are put into consideration when making a master suite addition. Interfering with the plumbing system can lead to mold growth and rotting of property. Electrical wiring can lead to fire hazards when not handled with care.
This space is among the rooms that homeowners do not mind renovating since food is prepared here and hearty conversations are made. It needs to be well equipped, lit, arranged, and spacious to allow free movement and proper storage. I have mentioned that rooms in split-level homes are tiny and cannot allow proper storage and equipping the kitchen with modern tools.
But, you can overcome this challenge by bringing down a few walls like that joining the kitchen with the hallway to create more room. You can use the extra space to create cabinets, a pantry, or even a seating booth. The kitchen feels spacious, and besides cooking, families can hang out in this space as they bond with each other.
Split-level homes lack enough natural lighting because of how they are oriented and the multiple staircases. They can feel gloomy and lack that homely feel we all love experiencing. You can correct this challenge by creating a sunroom that allows natural lighting to brighten your home.
Consider spaces facing the south while creating a sunroom. Interestingly, sunrooms are not a waste of space since you can use yours as entertainment, kids’ playing, or dining space. You are not limited to what you can use the sunroom addition for.
It is an unpopular addition to the split-level home types. The addition involves adding the headroom of the house. It provides an excellent solution to the lighting of the upper spaces and enhances the ventilation of the entire house.
Suppose you do not want to create a sunroom; a dormer addition is a brilliant alternative. Contractors have to be consistent with the structural design to avoid affecting the house’s integrity. Besides ventilating and lighting the house, dormer additions also improve the house’s appearance.
How Do You Know Your House is a Split-Level?
You ought to know whether you are dealing with the right type of house before procuring construction materials. Otherwise, it becomes money and time-wasting exercise. Here are some common characteristics of split-level houses:
They have Short Stairs
It is the most outstanding feature of these house types. There are many short flights of stairs, usually 3-4 steps long. These are used to access different floors. As a result, these houses can be noisy from the footsteps as people move from room to room.
Homeowners that have set home offices often use the upper rooms or the basement to avoid noise from the footsteps. Otherwise, it would be nearly impossible to focus in such an environment.
The Floor Plans are Open and Simple
You can almost view all the rooms while standing at a single point while at these houses. However, the multiple flights of stairs separate the rooms to provide privacy. The open concept is used to ensure maximization of the space the house sits on.
Originally, these houses are built with low-pitched roofs to prevent the accumulation of snow and rainwater. The roofs are also convenient since they allow increasing the square footage. A few split-level houses have gabled or heaped roofs, but the other characteristics remain the same.
Natural Affordable Materials
We have seen that these homes mostly have old forms of architecture. Naturally occurring materials such as bricks, wood, and panel exteriors were used during their construction. Since these materials did not require much processing, their production costs were low, making the materials affordable to homeowners.
Plain, Asymmetrical Façade
Unlike modern-design architectures, split-level homes have plain and boring facades. They do not exhibit creativity, and windows are the only forms of decorations made on the exterior of these houses. Picture windows are common in this design, and besides improving the décor, they are also used for lighting.
Do you own a split-level house and feel it is time to make some improvements? I know the feeling can be scary, especially when your house design is unique. Firstly, it can be challenging to find contractors with the know-how of such designs, making you feel skeptical about everything.
But, being informed brings you a step closer to making the right decision. I hope you find the information in this article helpful and has helped you clarify some issues you weren’t sure of before. You can also look for homeowners with similar designs as yours and ask them about how they went about their improvements,s and probably get some referrals.