Size matters: What square footage is right for you?
Here’s how to calculate the square footage for home plan
People who buy or build custom homes are more concerned with how much usable space they get and it is only a few people that actually go into the details of the square footage system before the purchase or construction. It is equally essential to know how much square footage is available to you, along with the number of bedrooms, the baths or how big and modern the kitchen is.
Usually, most real estate companies include only the areas within the house that are air-conditioned or heated. This calculation method omits the attic storage, unfinished basements, garage, porches and similar spaces.
The total square footage of a house is not restricted to only the area of all the rooms; it also includes the area that the walls in between them occupy. The area occupied by the walls seems may seem negligible on an individual scale. But, when calculated in whole, it is a considerable amount that adds up the total square footage of the house. Three linear feet of an interior wall becomes one square foot and the thickness of walls would comprise of almost ten percent of the overall square footage of the entire house!
For your home plan, understanding these measurement basics is certainly important, so as to avoid any confusion with the builders during construction or buying of a house. Fire places and small mechanical closets take a tiny portion of the entire space of your home, so they can easily be avoided. Square footage needs to be measured from the outside faces of the outer walls, including the area covered by the stairs. You need to calculate square footage of spaces with a ceiling height beyond seven feet. You don’t have to count areas that open to rooms located down stairs.
You have to bear in mind that the heated square footage is usually used along with a rough estimate of the ‘cost per square foot’ for preliminary cost estimating. It is one factor of construction cost, but not everything that would decide the actual cost of your home. There are additional costs which are unrelated to the size of the house, such as landscaping costs, driveway, and appliances, to name a few.
For rough estimates, construction companies and builders use only the ‘cost per square foot’ system of calculation. They almost avoid signing a legal contract mentioning a particular ‘cost per square foot’ while building a house. In a custom built house, modifications through additions and deletions might happen at any point of time during the construction phase. Therefore, the builders would go broke if they follow the square footage way of planning a home, as there’s no exact way to find out what needs to be ordered for constructing the house and how much labor is required for building the house. Price of the raw materials keeps on varying and that would impact the overall cost of the house irrespective of the square footage.
Imagine you opt for a marble exterior wall rather than a normal wall - the costs would certainly drive up. If you choose a specific kind of shingle which would require more labor and materials than a normal one, the cost would again be higher than the quoted amount in the planned estimate. This makes the builders quote the square footage cost within a range rather than an exact amount. The cost of the house would also vary depending on the number of bedrooms, sinks, toilets, bathrooms and flooring, roofing material as well as appliances used.
Additional Notes: Make sure that the builder is calculating the square footage for the home plan the same way as you do. Sometimes builders include garage and porch area or some would count garage area as half its square footage. Although it would dilute the overall cost while considering the average per foot cost and make the construction costs seem less, this would make things very confusing. Counting heated square footage would be a solution in this kind of situation, in order to maintain transparency.