Multigenerational family sitting around dining table having dinner

Not since the early years of the twentieth century has the family “unit” had so many moving parts. Out of favor for about a century, health, economic and psychological factors have coalesced to make multiple generations living under one roof commonplace. Households with three or even four generations have become popular, and, in the process, the residents have found this new “shared-life” not only manageable but often rewarding.

According to several reports sixty-four million Americans, or 20 percent of the country, now live in multigenerational households that include two or more adult generations or grandparents and grandchildren younger than 25. While many cultures and ethnic groups (e.g., Hispanic, Asian) have always embraced this extended family living arrangement, they are now being joined by all other groups.

If you are considering building or renovating an existing home to accommodate multiple generations of your family, consider the benefits of brick construction. Click here and speak with an expert on how brick can help with privacy, noise-abatement, energy-savings, and lower maintenance expenses.

Home Suite Home

One of the largest homebuilders in the nation, D.R. Horton, has done the research and decided to design a home product that meets the demand for multi-generational households. This model is called: “MultiGEN.”

MultiGen logo

These homes have become very popular in master-planned communities throughout the country. The builder notes, “These floor plans offer a separate living space, bedroom, kitchenette and exterior entrance.  

“Here are a few of the many reasons a MultiGEN floor plan could be the ideal fit for your lifestyle. These homes offer private spaces. MultiGEN floor plans offer more than just a spare guest room. It’s two homes — the main home area with a separate suite, private entrances, and parking, with the convenience and safety of a connecting door.

“In addition, these homes have a modern design. The suite in every MultiGEN floor plan is built to the same standard as the main home area with the most up-to-date, energy-saving amenities. Each floor plan is designed to accommodate a kitchenette, bathroom, bedroom and other necessities for comfortable living.”

Finally, the Horton MultiGEN homes encourage family closeness. The company says, “The closeness formed through multi-generational living provides once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. By having multiple generations under one roof, your home becomes a family heirloom, full of warm memories passed down for generations to come.”

Multigenerational family playing hopscotch game together

Advantages and Disadvantages 

As with any decision which is as all-encompassing as day-to-day living arrangements, there are pros and cons to consider before committing to a multigenerational household. All parties should be included in these discussions, and candid but courteous opinions should be shared.

According to home.com, the advantages of a “multi-gen” home are both practical and personal.

  • Saving Money

    “Households with two or more adult generations are economical in many ways. When a residence is shared by more adults, mortgage payments or rent are lower per person than if they live apart. Other household expenses can also be shared, including utilities, food, maintenance costs, decorating costs, property taxes, homeowners’ insurance, and (potentially) homeowners’ association fees. Sharing expenses gives young adults the opportunity to build savings or pay down debt.  Living with their families temporarily gives young adults time to reduce debt, improve their credit and save for a down payment.
     

  • Easier Home Financing

    “Having more adults with financial assets and incomes will increase the chances of having a mortgage or refinancing approved. You may also be able to borrow more.
     

  • Help With Children

    “Having additional adults at home, particularly grandparents, helps parents with minding young children.
     

  • Stronger Family Bonds

    “When three generations live together, family bonds are strengthened. When grandparents are involved in their lives, children have fewer behavioral and emotional problems. Grandparents can be critically important in the lives of children with divorced parents.

Grandfather baking with his granddaughter

  • Longer Life

    “A recent National Institutes of Health survey found that healthy members of multigenerational families have lower premature mortality rates and were likely to live longer.  In a multigenerational household, there are more adults to provide emotional support for each other.”

Additional advantages include:

  • Shared Household Chores
  • Participation In Home Interest Deductions
  • Improved Security

There are also disadvantages of multi-generation households.

Children jumping and making noise around an irritated older woman

  • Less Privacy

    “Living with others may be more difficult for grandparents and young adults who are accustomed to living alone.
     

  • More Noise

    “Adults who are unaccustomed to being around children may need some adjustment time.
     

  • More Housework

    “More people mean more dishes to wash, floors to clean more frequently and larger laundry loads.
     

  • Need for Upgrade or Remodeling

    “A new baby or new resident might require renovation or adding new space. If parents of a disabled child or aging grandparents have not planned for the costs of retrofitting a home for walk-in tubs, stair lifts, and other needs, the household should create a plan for retrofitting that includes financing the cost and scheduling work.

It is interesting to note that many of these disadvantages of a multi-generational home can be overcome with planning and the use of the world’s oldest construction material — brick.

Generations Have Chosen Brick for Homes

Whether it involves adult children returning to their hometown and childhood home because they have the freedom to work from a less-stressful environment, or grandparents who might need extra care in their later years, the challenges of building or retro-fitting a home for multiple generations is made much easier with brick. 

According to Britt Stokes of Acme Brick, “When it’s time to make a single-family home into one that will accommodate multiple generations, brick can make a huge difference. First, there is much less maintenance with brick construction, potentially saving the family ‘shareholders’ thousands of dollars each year. Plus, multi-gen homes that are constructed of brick are also more sustainable, requiring less energy for heating and cooling and thereby saving utility expenses.

Privacy and noise reduction in multi-generation households are easier to attain with walls constructed of brick due to its solidity. There are also many health-related, post-pandemic priorities that should be considered in homes that have multiple generations under one roof. Here are 10 to consider. 

“Perhaps most importantly, when multiple generations of a family - some of whom could be disabled - live under the same roof, brick construction is safer against fire, wind and other natural disasters.” 

Click here to see just how dangerous flying objects can be in a test conducted by the National Brick Research Center at Clemson University on behalf of Acme Brick.

Besides brick, Acme offers a wide array of other home improvement products, including flooring. In homes with multiple generations, there might be an older family member who requires a cane, scooter, or other mobility device. For family members who need these, carpet can be a problem. 

Acme flooring expert, Linda Anderson, offers some practical advice for mobility-challenged family members. Replace that carpet with beautiful tile and luxury vinyl flooring

“Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) flooring is rapidly taking the place of hardwood for contemporary flooring,” according to Anderson. “One of the latest innovations is a waterproof wood that is manufactured in a manner that is like LVP, but the actual surface is wood instead of vinyl. 
 
“Porcelain tile that resembles marble has become more popular than natural marble stone.  With high-resolution cameras and high DPI inkjet printers, a man-made product may look as real as a natural stone. Plus, this synthetic porcelain requires far less maintenance and upkeep.”
   

Homes with multiple generations have become a part of the “new normal” and they present the opportunity to dramatically change the family dynamic, for the better. For information on how brick can be a part of your plans for your extended family, click here and talk to an expert.