Do Ranch-Style Homes Have Attics Or Basements?

As you shop around for a new home, you have probably read the vague term "ranch" routinely in real-estate listings. This jargon leaves you unsure and wondering what a ranch-style home entails and whether or not they include attics and basements. Well, we have scoured the internet for the answer and bring it to you here, along with a complete definition of what ranch-style means.

While the classic ranch-style home does not include a usable attic or basement, it is not uncommon for some ranch homes to have finished or partially finished belowground basements. The textbook idea of a ranch-style home only includes one floor typified by an open floor plan. 

Keep reading the rest of this post for a more in-depth examination of typical ranch-style construction. We include sections discussing the details of attics and basements for ranch-style homes and have several sections on handy-to-know facts about ranch-style houses and real estate in general.

Exterior of a modern ranch style house with a huge green lawn, Do Ranch-Style Homes Have Attics Or Basements?

Ranch-style Home Attics and Basements

As mentioned above, ranch-style homes occasionally have basements but rarely have usable attics. However, you might notice that contractors or real-estate agents might refer to a ranch-style home's "attic." To help clear up any confusion, the details of what to expect in terms of attics and basements in ranch-style homes are expanded on in the following two sub-sections.

A long ranch-style house with light gray painted sidings, white painted garage doors, and an asphalt driveway

Ranch Attics

It is very rare for a ranch home to have an attic that functions as usable square footage. However, the technical definition of an attic is a space or room just below the roof of a building but above the ceiling. So, since ranch homes have pitched roofs and flat ceilings, there is a small space between the two that fits the definition of attic.

A white colored ranch style house with white painted sidings and weather asphalt shingles

This space is generally only large enough for ceiling insulation, fan ducting, chimneys, and furnace ducting for ranch-style homes. Given this, ranch-style attics usually are too small and dirty to even use as storage.

While touring houses, you will start to notice that almost every home with any attic has attic access. These accesses are to monitor attic conditions and to make repairs as needed. Ranch-style accesses are usually in an interior closet or hallways but may also be in the gable ends. No matter the home type, it is smart to stick your head into the attic to take a look at conditions. Sometimes issues like water damage and pests are noticeable.

An attic access

Even though ranch-style homes do not usually include usable attics, converting a dirty hot attic to extra storage is possible. Generally speaking, this involves decking the attic floor, adding easier access, and separating the insulation from human contact. If this sounds like something you are interested in, be sure to do your research or get the help of a professional.

Ranch Basements

The classic ranch construction places the single floor of the home on a concrete slab, meaning there is no room for a basement of any sort. However, some ranch homes have crawl spaces or basements. Ranch-style homes with basements are called raised ranches.

When ranch-style homes have basements, they are usually below ground. This means that the view from the street is of a single-story home. Ranch-style basements are sometimes finished and sometimes unfinished. If you see a basement advertised when shopping for a new home, be sure to find out the type of basement being described.

A finished basement has flooring, painted walls, drywall on the ceiling, and easy access. This can make a finished basement great for kids' bedrooms or recreation rooms. Unfinished basements generally still have stairway accesses but not much else. These basements have plain concrete floors, open ceiling joist bays with exposed insulation, and furnaces and other unsightly appliances out in the open.

When built on hills, ranch basements do have doors that face the backyard and even some windows. These are called daylight basements. This construction makes for a very pleasing basement floor in terms of usability and flow. Also, this architecture style includes a deck on the main story with a view.

If you find a ranch with an unfinished basement but would prefer a finished basement, do not worry. Generally speaking, this type of remodeling falls on the cheaper end of the spectrum, whether you are hiring a professional or doing it yourself. Either way, be sure to do your research first.

Typical Ranch-Style Construction Features

On average, traditional one-story ranch-style homes have 1,300 square feet, three bedrooms, and one bathroom. Originally designed based on ranch homes of the southwest, there are now many variations to the average ranch-style theme. This section highlights a few additional features typical of ranch-style homes.

Exterior of a beige colored ranch style house with shingle roofing

A major defining aspect is low-angle roofs. This construction style makes ranch homes easier to heat and cool than old-school townhouses, which have large vaulted attics and steep roofs. Another ranch home feature is the single-story open floor plan. This not only creates an inclusive family atmosphere but also allows for simple, cheaper construction.

Ranch homes usually have an attached garage, a large picture window facing the street, sliding glass doors on the back, large eaves, and a covered front porch. These features combine to make the transition from indoors to outdoors an easy one. This stems not only from the easy access but due to the large amounts of natural light. For tips on decorating your covered front porch, visit this article, "29 Covered Front Porch Designs [Inc. Colonial, Rustic And Modern]".

Interior of a ranch style home with walls painted in light yellow and incorporated with wooden flooring

Another common feature of ranch-style homes is an L- or U-shaped layout. This stems from the attached garage and the combined kitchen, living, and dining rooms. Read this article for a handy guide on how to decorate the living room in this type of layout, "How To Decorate An L-Shaped Living Room."

Ranch homes are common almost everywhere in the continental US except for the northeast. They were very popular from about the 1940s through the 1970s and still make cozy homes today. As with all homes, carefully examine the quality of craftsmanship and material before considering making a purchase.

What Are Ranch-Style Homes Made Of?

Ranch-style homes are constructed using typical materials. It is not the material but the design that typifies a ranch-style home. For instance, wood, stucco, or brick are all standard siding materials for ranch homes.

Are Ranch-Style Homes More Valuable?

The short answer to this question is no. Ranch-style homes are not more valuable than other types of homes. Value stems from the quality of the construction, the location of the home, and more. A ranch home in a neighborhood with other types of homes may or may not be more valuable.

What Is The Difference Between A Ranch-Style Home And A Bungalow?

Ranch-style and bungalow homes are similar in many ways. However, there are defining characteristics of each home type that makes them easy to tell apart. The main characteristic is the shape. Bungalows tend to be more square, while ranch homes are rectangular.

Other differences are ranch homes have an attached garage and many large windows. Bungalows generally do not have a garage and have smaller windows. Further, bungalows have less open floor plans, which makes the interiors more private feeling.

Can You Add An Attic To A Home?

Yes, you can add an attic to a home. However, and depending on the original construction, this can be a costly and challenging process. How much it costs also depends on the extensiveness and quality of the desired final product.

To make an attic usable and part of the total square footage falls on the expensive and difficult end of the spectrum. Often, this requires raising the roof, adding new stairs, and even adding more plumbing and electrical. On the other hand, the attic remodel, which adds more storage space (described above), is relatively simple and cheap.

In Closing

Now that you have finished this article, you have a much better understanding of what a ranch-style home consists of. In this post, we delved deep into ranch homes' attic and basement details and included other design features common to this popular home type. Thank you for reading!

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