Do Split Level Houses Have Basements?

Perhaps you're wondering if split-level houses have basements? It's good to ask because they're not your usual home design and aren't like a typical two-story house. We've done the research to find out for you and have all of the information here. So let's take a look.

Split-level homes are homes that have multiple floor levels and sets of half stairs between levels. Typically, one side of the split-level house is built over a walk-out or daylight basement.  So yes, split-level homes do have basements, but they usually aren't under the entire house, making them different from traditional basement homes.

We'll look in more detail about what a split-level home is and how their basements function. We'll also cover how many stories are in a split-level home, what type of foundation they are built on, where the garage typically is, and if split-level homes are making a comeback or not. So if you want to be in the know about split-level homes, please keep on reading.

A front view of a tidy split level brown brick family home with green grass and car in driveway, Do Split Level Houses Have Basements?

Split-Level Homes And Basements

You want to know if a split-level home has a basement. The short answer is yes. Most split levels have one side: a single story and one side that is split (thus the name). This split side is typically a walk-out or daylight basement topped with a bedroom floor stacked above it. Let's look at some common types of split-level homes.

A Split-Level With One Side Split

Blue brick single family house

This is probably the most common of split-level homes. These homes have a single level on one side that usually holds the living room, dining room, and kitchen. The other side is two levels, the upper level being bedrooms and baths and the lower level is the garage and maybe a den or laundry room. It all depends upon the size. You access the main level either through the front door or from half stairs from the basement or down from the bedroom level.

Split Level That Looks Like A One Story From The Front

A split-level home that looks like one story from the front is often called a back split level. These homes are the same in layout as the side split, but the double story is only viewable from the back. These homes have garages accessed from the rear of the home rather than the front of the home. You drive to the back of the house to pull into the garage. For people who don't love the look of garage doors facing the street, this style may be better for you.

Multiple Level Split Level Homes

Split level brown gray house front exterior

These homes feature more than just three-floor areas and may feature sunken living rooms or extra loft spaces. The Pacific Northwest and California built lots of these multiple-floor homes in the seventies. The way they are made works well for hilly sloped building sites where flat land is premium. Though basements may not extend beneath the homes in their entirety, walk-out basements play a part in all split-level homes.

How Many Stories Is A Split Level Home?

Split-level homes often have multiple floor areas, but they are not full stories. Most split-level homes feature half stairways that lead to the various parts of the house. One half of the house may have two levels, while the other has a different third level. Overall though, the house is no taller than your typical two-story home. For real estate purposes, split-levels are considered two-story homes.

What Type Of Foundation Does A Split Level Home Have?

In a typical split-level home, you'll have different types of foundations. The main level on one side will often be built on a concrete slab. But on the split side, the lower half is usually the equivalent of a walk-out or daylight basement, and the upper half sits above that as the first story of a traditional styled home.

The nice thing about walk-out basements is the daylight. It allows the basement area to be counted as square footage. It also provides loads of natural light and prevents it from having a musty basement smell. Check out our post on what can be counted in your basement's square footage here: Do You Count Bedrooms In The Basement?

Where Is The Garage On A Split Level House?

In most split-level homes, the garage integrates into the lower level of one side of the house. On some split-level homes, you might see the garage from the front of the house. In the home below, you see the main floor to the left side of the house. On the right is the stacked side of the house with bedrooms above and the garage below facing the street.

Front view of a tidy split level brown brick family home with green grass and blue sky and car in driveway

The garage could also be at the back of the split-level home. You essentially are driving into the walk-out basement part of the home from the back of the house rather than the front. This type of home will often look like a single story from the front of the house.

House exterior backyard with driveway and garage

Finally, just like in many other homes, the garage is its structure. This one is added to the home via a walkway and could even be detached. In this home below, the 2-car garage is an extension of the main level of the house, with the split-level side on the opposite end. This one attaches via a small enclosed hallway, but it could easily be a detached garage or carport when built in this manner.

North America seventies era wooden split level home

Are Split Level Homes Making A Comeback?

Split-level homes were at the height of their popularity in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. The popular TV show, The Brady Bunch, featured a split-level home. As this style gave way to larger two-story homes of the 1980s, split-level homes lost appeal. People saw them as dated. However, in recent years, some people have learned to re-love the versatile split-level home. With their mid-century appeal, lots of different living levels, and many large windows, they are great homes for busy families who need separate live, sleep, work, and play areas.

This updated split-level home entry looks super modern and appeals to home buyers and builders with contemporary sensibilities. The open stairway cables amplify all of the light coming in from the large windows. Though many early split-level homes featured shag carpeting and wood paneling, they are relatively straightforward to do cosmetic updates. With home prices skyrocketing around the country, finding one of these older homes and bringing it up to today's design preferences is gaining popularity.

Split-Level Homes Are Versatile With Great Space For Families

As you can see, split-level homes provide functional, versatile space that is great for busy families and parents who may work from home. The multiple levels mean they may not be as well-suited to empty-nesters and those needing single-floor living. We hope we've managed to cover all the questions you might have had about split-level homes.

If you enjoyed this post here at, please be sure and check out a few of our others below:

How to Decorate a Split Level Entryway [6 Suggestions]

11 Stunning Basement Flooring Ideas

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