5 Important Cost Estimates for Different Kinds of Building Architecture

This post will tell you about five different types of architecture and their associated estimated costs. The author tells you how much it would cost to build a McMansion, a cookie-cutter suburban home, a traditional house, and an energy-efficient cottage. Finally, the blog seeks to answer the question: which type of structure is good for your wallet?

5 Important Cost Estimates for Different Kinds of Building Architecture

1. The McMansion: Estimate: $500,000 – $800,000

A McMansion (a.k.a. The American Dream House) is the most expensive kind of home to build in the US. A traditional family with two working parents and two kids in a home that is 2,500 square feet and worth between $400,000 and $800,000 is not extravagant; it’s rather normal in most suburbs of America. A McMansion was built for the wealthy who wanted “a big house with a yard.” The word comes from the combination of “monster” and “manse,” meaning, literally, the house of a monster or man.

The cost is high because of the price per square foot. Today’s McMansion is built using expensive materials, usually brick. And the most expensive kind of brick is called masonry veneer. Masonry veneer is a thin brick used to cover an entire exterior wall of a house. Masonry veneer usually costs around $8.00 per square foot, which means that covering some 3,000 square feet of your home with masonry veneer would cost you around $24,000. In addition to masonry veneer, McMansions are built using expensive roofing materials such as slate or tile. The most expensive roofing materials cost around $6.50 a square foot. Therefore, the roof of a 3,000 square feet house will cost you around $18,000 – not to mention the windows. The glass used to cover a home can cost as much as $3.00 a square foot!

2. The Cookie-Cutter: Estimate: $500,000 – $1,500,000

Construction estimating software is capable of producing a cost estimate for any building, no matter how expensive or small, no matter how technologically advanced or backward. A cookie-cut house is usually a ranch with four rooms on the ground floor, two bedrooms upstairs, a garage in the back with an open yard, and a small back porch. If you’ve seen one home like that, you’ve seen them all: they’re usually 1,890 square feet and worth $478,000. They’re popular in suburbs and rural areas of America. Next time you visit one, think about it. That 10,000 square feet house is probably not even on the map. It’s only existent because you’ve just seen one. And that’s no way to live.

Did you know that the cost of building a cookie-cutter house the first time was around $700,000? Today cookie-cutters are being built for around $500,000. Can you imagine that ten years ago? It’s amazing how quickly contractors have made them cheaper. Today’s cookie-cutters also have expanded in size in comparison with their predecessors. The average size of a cookie-cutter home has increased by more than 200% in the last ten years. This is because builders needed to reduce the cost of construction per square foot, and they didn’t want to sacrifice anything. To achieve this, they added more windows, introduced an extra floor, and made walls thicker and wider – all while using the same materials and designs.

3. The Traditional House: Estimate: $500,000 – $1,000,000

This kind of house is usually built in older cities or towns in America. It’s rectangular in shape and costs around $400,000. The reason for this huge price difference gets attributed to the materials used to construct it. The traditional house is built with a stone instead of brick and not with expensive vinyl siding. It’s more resistant to the weather and is cheaper to maintain. But these advantages do not make it cheaper to build. The average cost per square foot of a traditional house is more than double the cookie-cutter (around $1,500). And builders use such high voltage appliances and fixtures that their cost can easily go over $7 per square foot.

4. The Energy Conserving Cottage: Estimate: $300,000 – $500,000

A cottage is a good option for those who don’t want to spend too much money on their house. A cottage is not quite as big as those above, but it’s large enough to live comfortably. A cottage built using all of the most advanced technologies and materials available today such that it will look like no other home. The cost of building a cottage is more or less the same as that of building a cookie-cutter, around $500,000. Like with cookie-cutters, builders add extra rooms and facilities to make it look better and more modern. But they use the same materials and keep everything at an average price level.

The biggest difference between a cottage and a cookie-cutter is the cost of energy. A cottage is a much more energy-efficient home. A cottage gets built using the newest materials and technologies, making it much better suited to cold weather conditions. But a cottage also uses a lot of salvaged materials, such as shingle siding and recycled floorboards.

5. The Hybrid: $300,000 – $500,000

The hybrid is in between a cookie cutter and a cottage in terms of cost. It’s a tiny house in the middle of nowhere built in the same way as a cottage or, to be more precise, like a traditional house. The only things you’ll notice different when you come across them are the materials and technologies used to build them. A hybrid built using much more salvaged materials than a cottage or traditional house, but not as many as in the case of a modern home. A hybrid is also built using better technologies, but not the latest. A hybrid is the third most energy-efficient home you can find in America today. And it’s cheaper to build than a traditional house. However, it’s also more expensive than a cookie-cutter or cottage.


All in all, there are many types of homes available in the US today. Each type has its share of advantages and disadvantages. Some are energy efficient, others less so. Some are cheap to build, others not so much. It doesn’t matter if you’re building a house for yourself or your family or someone else; make sure to do your research before making any final decisions. You don’t want to spend $300,000 on a home you could have built for $200,000. And most of all: make sure that you love your new house and the way it looks.