Calculating the square footage


From your sketch of the dwelling, identify and separate living area from "other area." Calculate the living area (and other area) by multiplying the length times the width of each rectangular space. Then add your subtotals and round off your figure for total square footage to the nearest square foot.


When necessary, calculate the square footage of the first floor by dividing the area up into smaller rectangles and calculating the area of each of the rectangles. Add up the areas of the smaller rectangles to get the total square footage of each level.


Now, divide the second floor up into smaller rectangles and calculate the total square footage. Add these numbers together and this will be the total Gross Heated Living Area of the house you have measured.


Areas NOT included in the Heated Living Area Calculations


Basements and Below-Grade Floor Areas - Even if the below-grade areas are fully finished, they are not part of the finished floor area according to ANSI standards. Separate the areas from the heated living area and report them as “finished basement” and “unfinished basement”.


Attics, Lofts and Low Ceilings - Level ceilings must be at least 7 feet high, and at least 6 feet 4 inches under beams, ducts and other obstructions. If a room with a sloped ceiling meets the one-half-of-floor-area-over-7-feet requirement, then include all the floor space with a ceiling height over 5 feet. If it does not meet these requirements, then report the area as “finished attic” or “partially finished attic”.  Lofts and finished attics must be accessible by a conventional stairway or other access to be counted. If you can only reach the loft by climbing a ladder, it's not part of the finished floor area regardless of the ceiling height.


Detached Rooms, Guest Cottages, Mother-in-Law Units & Dwelling Units - According to the ANSI standards, finished areas which are not connected to the main residence by a finished hall or stairway must be listed separately. If you have to leave the house to get to the room, it's not part of the finished floor area.


(from How to Measure a House by Ed Odham © 2005-2012)


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