What You Need To Know About 1.5 Story Houses

These homes have common problems, lets break it down.

September 15, 2019 by Rob

Personally I love 1.5 Story Houses, but there are some common problems. Problems because the building science is complicated in these homes, but also because many of these homes were modified from a one story house, and any home (regardless of how many floors it has) that was modified begs the questions was the contractor (or home owner) doing the work using best practices?

Sometimes not following best practices means there is a minor code violation, and sometimes the structure ends up failing. So there is a case to be made to ensure you have a good home inspector. But beyond that you can also be informed yourself, which is why Vlog 006 is to give you some insight into these structures.

As soon as I finished this video I saw an open house in my neighborhood pop up for a 1.5 story house so I decided it might be helpful to have a field example and look at what we talked about.

Update 10-21-19: I thought I was finished with my 1.5 Story Home review but another open house popped up that I had to check out. I did a video but while I was on location there was one thing I didn’t consider, which I’ll cover in a moment.

So my comments about the home in the video, regarding not needing the static vents on the surface, were based off an assumption that the roof has a clear path from the soffit to the ridge cap. There is a possibility that the space between the roof trusses is completely blocked, in which case there are two separate areas that need ventilation, the area above the ceiling and the area behind the knee wall. As pictured below.

This home had access to the space behind the knee wall so the home inspector could identify if the static vents are necessary, as a guest at an open house I felt like checking that would have been a little intrusive. But if I were inspecting this home and confirmed there is space between the roof rafters (and it’s not packed full of insulation) I would certainly let the new home owners know the vents are superfluous, because if it were me I’d want to plan on removing them to improve the ascetic of the home and eliminate the unnecessary surface penetrations in the roof.

If you have any questions about 1.5 story houses that I didn’t cover feel free to comment or shoot me an email to: Rob@selkirk.country


Written By Rob

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Selkirk Country offers a range of home inspection and general contracting services. We are uniquely adept to serving clients with turn-of-the-century or mid-century homes. We have a sound understanding of building science and embrace historic preservation. Through the inspetion process we're also able to support with additional services like radon detection and sew scope, eliminating the need to call out several specialist and saving our clients time and money.

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