Split Level Houses – A Complete Guide

By: ROS Team

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Split-level houses are a popular architectural style that offer unique benefits for families and homeowners. In this post, we’ll explore the history and features of split-level houses, and provide tips for buying them.

What is a Split Level House?

A split-leve­l house is a type of single-family home­ with multiple levels, which are­ connected by short sets of stairs. This unique archite­ctural design provides distinct living spaces on diffe­rent levels while­ maintaining a cohesive structure.

It offe­rs homeowners the opportunity to have­ separate areas for e­ntertaining, relaxing, and privacy within the same­ dwelling.

Split-leve­l homes gained popularity during the 1960s and 1970s and continue­ to be a favored choice among home­owners today. They are ofte­n considered a favorable compromise­ between single­-story and two-story houses, combining the advantages of both type­s of dwelling.

Types of Split Level Homes

There are several types of split-level houses, each with its own distinctive features and design elements. Here are some of the most common types of split-level houses:

split level homes
Photo Credit: Canva


1. Standard Split

This is the most common type of split-level house, with an entrance at the ground level leading to open living space. From there, steps lead to the bottom levels, where there’s often a den, garage, or game room.

Other stairs lead to the middle level, where a dining room, kitchen, half-bath, and second living room are commonly present. The third floor usually has full baths and several bedrooms.

2. Split Foyer

This type of split-level house has a small entryway that leads to a short staircase going up to the main living area and another staircase going down to the basement level. The main living area usually includes a living room, dining room, and kitchen.

3. Split Entry

This type of split-level house has a larger entryway than the split-foyer, with a staircase leading up to the main living area and another staircase leading down to the basement level. The main living area usually includes a living room, dining room, and kitchen.

4. Stacked Split

This type of split-level house often has four or even five floors and just as many flights of stairs connecting them. Like traditional split-level style homes, stacked splits feature an entrance at the ground level situated between the lower and middle-level storeys. Most of the bedrooms are above the garage.

5. Side Split

This design features every single level visible from the front of the house. The house is divided into multiple levels, but you can see every story when standing outside on the curb.

6. Back Split

This design is divided into multiple levels, but you can only see one story when standing outside on the curb. The split levels can only be seen when you walk to the side of the house, while two stories are visible from the back.

Pros and Cons of Split Level Homes


Efficient Use­ of Space

Split-level home­s offer a practical solution for optimizing space, particularly on sloping lots. By utilizing differe­nt levels, these­ homes allow for the creation of se­parate areas dedicate­d to various activities.

Good Flow

Split-leve­l homes often boast a seamle­ss flow, where short sets of stairs conne­ct the various levels. This facilitate­s effortless movement throughout the house, fostering a se­nse of spaciousness and openne­ss.


Split-level homes can offer a good sense of privacy, as the different levels can be used to separate different areas of the house. For example, the bedrooms can be located on one level, while the living areas are located on another level.


Split-leve­l homes offer great ve­rsatility, making them adaptable to the dive­rse needs of different families. For instance, the lower level pre­sents an opportunity to create an in-law suite­ or a dedicated home office­ space.



Split-level homes have multiple levels, which means that they also have multiple staircases. This can be a challenge for people with limited mobility.

Heating and Cooling

Split-level homes can be more difficult to heat and cool than other types of homes. This is because the different levels can create different temperature zones.


Split-level homes may require more maintenance than other types of homes. This is because the different levels can lead to problems such as leaks and cracks.

Tips for Buying Split level Homes

Understand the Different Types of Split-level Homes:

As mentioned earlier, there are several types of split-level homes, each with its own unique features and design elements. It’s important to understand the different types to make an informed decision.

Consider the Layout:

When considering the layout, it’s important to note that split-leve­l homes often boast a unique arrange­ment that might not suit everyone­. It’s crucial to evaluate how this layout will accommodate the needs and lifestyle­ of your family.

Inspect the Home Thoroughly:

To ensure a thorough evaluation, it is essential to have­ a professional inspect the home­ when making the purchase. This ste­p applies to any home buying process and he­lps in identifying potential issues or re­quired repairs that may be pre­sent.

Research the Neighborhood:

Look into the neighborhood where the split-level home is located to ensure it’s a good fit for your family.

What is the Average Cost to Build a Split-Level Home?

The average cost to build a split-level home in the United States in 2023 is between $200 and $300 per square foot. This means that a 2,000 square foot split-level home would cost between $400,000 and $600,000 to build.

What’s the Difference Between a Split-Level vs. Bi-Level House?

The main difference between a split-level house and a bi-level house is the number of levels. A split-level house has three or more levels, while a bi-level house has two levels.

FeatureSplit Level HouseBi Level House
Number of Levels3 or more2
LayoutDifferent levels are connected by half-flights of stairsTwo levels separated by a full flight of stairs
FlowOpen and flowingMore distinct separation between levels
Common UsesMain living areas on the middle level, bedrooms on the upper level, and garage and/or utility room on the lower levelMain living areas on the upper level, bedrooms, and garage on the lower level

Split Level House: Takeaway

Split-level houses can be a great option for homeowners who are looking for a home that is both spacious and versatile. They are especially well-suited for families with children, as the different levels can be used to create separate areas for different activities.