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What Are the Different Types of Split-Level House Plans?

By Donna Johnson
Updated May 16, 2024
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People who are looking to buy or build a home have a wide variety of choices in style. They can choose traditional single-story ranch homes or homes with multiple levels. The split-level home is a good compromise between the two. Various types of split-level house plans include bi-level, tri-level and quad-level.

Plans for bi-level homes feature two levels. The entrance on these split-level house plans generally opens into a small foyer with a set of stairs leading to the upper level and another set leading to the lower level. The overall look of a bi-level house is that of a ranch house with a full basement that has been raised slightly so that the windows of the lower level are a short distance from the ground.

Split-level house plans that call for three distinct levels are called tri-level plans. The homes typically have the front entrance on the main level, which is built with the foundation on the ground, on one side. The opposite side features an upper and lower level. The levels are not full stories, but are generally separated by only six to seven steps. The lower level is partly underground, with the bottoms of the windows even with the ground.

A quad-level home has four separate levels that are laid out in a similar fashion as a tri-level. These split-level house plans resemble a ranch home from the street, as the main level of the house is in the front. The back of the home features an upper and lower level in a tri-level configuration. This layout adds a fully underground fourth level, which is located under the main level in the front of the home.

Most split-level house plans place the main living areas, including a living room, kitchen and dining area, on the main floor of the home. In bi-level houses, these common areas are usually on the upper level. Bedrooms and one bathroom are typically found in the uppermost level, while the lowest level may feature a laundry area, family room and an additional bedroom and bathroom.

Due to the standard layout of split-level house plans, home remodeling options may be limited. Homeowners may choose to remove the interior wall between the kitchen and main level living room, build on to the home's side to enlarge the main level or add a deck or sunroom to the back of the home. The addition of side windows or skylights to a split-level home can also help to open up the home and get more natural light to come in. Empty nesters who want a master bathroom may take on a home remodel that removes the wall between the master suite and the upper level bathroom, but this is not advisable for homeowners that still have children at home and need both bathrooms to be accessible to everyone.

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