Content of the material
- How to calculate square footage
- Tools needed to measure square footage
- How to find the square footage of a triangle
- How to Calculate the Square Feet of a Home or Residence
- How to Calculate Price per Sq Ft
- What to leave out
- How to Find Square Footage: Measuring the Room
- What is Usable Square Footage?
- Jason Somers, President & Founder of Crest Real Estate
- Free square footage calculator
- Additional tips for calculating square footage
- Why Tenants, Homeowners, and Landlords Need to Know Square Footage
- 4. What is Net Cleanable Square Feet?
- How to Calculate Net Cleanable Square Feet
- Different Units of Measurement
- Convert among square inch, square foot, square yard and square meter
- Square feet to cubic feet
How to calculate square footage
Calculating square footage is, luckily, pretty simple. You just multiply the length of a room or house in feet by the width in feet.
The basic formula for square feet:
Length x Width = total area square footage
Unfortunately, that equation only applies to rooms and homes that are rectangular or square. If your home has any odd-shaped rooms, things get a lot more complicated.
It seems like a straightforward question: How do you calculate square footage in your home?
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as straightforward as you’d think. For different purposes (like sale listings) states regulate what parts of a home should be measured, and what parts shouldn’t. Here’s what you need to know.
The below methods and tips will work well if you have all or mostly rectangular rooms. If you have any more complex spaces and you aren’t particularly skilled in math, we recommend leaving the square footage calculation to an expert (like an appraiser), or consulting your home’s floor plan.
Tools needed to measure square footage
There are a few different ways you can measure your square footage.
- Something to take notes (either a pen and paper, or a phone or other device with a notepad app);
- A tape measure or laser measuring tool.
How to find the square footage of a triangle
- Measure the length of the base and the height of the triangle in feet.
- Multiply your base and height measurements together.
- Divide your total by two to get the square footage of the triangle
The formula for calculating the square footage area of a triangle is: base × height / 2. To work out your cost of materials, simply multiply this figure by your 'price per square foot'.
How to Calculate the Square Feet of a Home or Residence
When measuring the square footage of a home or residence, some special considerations apply to determine the inhabitable square footage. The livable size of a home helps determine the market value and price and helps buyers understand the overall size.
Only livable rooms, with finished walls, floor, and ceiling, count toward the finished area of the home. For a room to be considered livable, the space should be finished and should have heating or air conditioning as applicable.
Indoor spaces count toward the square footage of a home, while outdoor spaces typically do not. In fact, the American National Standards Institute has defined rules for what counts as finished area and which rooms contribute to the gross living area of a home.
To calculate the total area, measure each room in feet using a tape measure. Then, multiply the length and width of each room to get the square footage, then add them all together.
The calculator above can help determine the square feet of each room, then simply add all the room’s areas together. We also have great resources on how to measure rooms and complex spaces.
How to Calculate Price per Sq Ft
To calculate the price per square foot of your home, divide the total price by the number of square feet.
price per ft2 = total price ÷ total ft2
For example, to find the price per ft2 of a home that costs $200,000 and is 2,000 ft2 use this formula.
price per ft2 = $200,000 ÷ 2,000 ft2 price per ft2 = $100
If you’d prefer not to do the math, you can also use our unit price calculator to calculate the price per square foot.
What to leave out
A good rule of thumb to ensure you’re taking proper measurements is to exclude space you can’t walk on or live in. These types of spaces do not count as “gross living area.”
“Someone might think, ‘If I get the measurement of my first floor and I have a two-story house, I just multiply that by two,’” Day says. However, if that first floor includes a two-story foyer, you can’t count the non-usable space.
Basements and garages, even if they are finished, don’t generally count toward total square footage. Basements are typically excluded because they are built below grade, meaning below ground level. If your state does allow basements to be included in the total square footage of a home, though, you’ll likely need an ingress and egress, or a safe way to enter and exit the basement to the outside.
Finished attic spaces — with some regulations, including ceiling heights — can count toward the total square footage of your home. If you are planning to sell your home, work with a real estate agent to craft a listing that accurately reflects your property.
How to Find Square Footage: Measuring the Room
After countless hours of going back and forth between the Ambient® samples you ordered (and maybe sending out too many “which one do you like better?” texts to friends and family), you’ve FINALLY made your decision. You’ve found the perfect floor and – before you decide to change your mind for the tenth time – there’s only one thing left to do: determine how much square footage you need to order. To figure that out, it may or may not involve your least favorite school subject. Want to take any guesses? That’s right, it’s math! I can tell you can hardly contain your excitement, so let’s jump right into figuring out how much flooring you’ll need to purchase.
What is Usable Square Footage?
If you’re involved in commercial real estate in any way, you may have heard the term “usable square footage”. This term describes the total amount of square footage that a tenant is able to use, which excludes areas like hallways, stairwells, and lobbies. When it comes to residential real estate, the usable square footage in your home refers to the amount of space that would count as your personal space.
Common areas like kitchens, living rooms, hallways, and storage closets wouldn’t count as usable square footage. With this information in hand, you should be able to calculate the actual square footage of your home as well as the usable square footage of your home.
Being able to calculate the square footage of you home can be very helpful when you’re attempting to sell your property or would like to complete a renovation. If you’re getting ready to renovate your entire kitchen, knowing the square footage of the floor will allow you to purchase the right amount of materials. Keep in mind that most flooring materials are priced by square feet.
Let’s say that hardwood flooring has a price of $10 per square foot. If your kitchen has a floor space of 175 square feet, the flooring would likely cost around $1,750. In the event that you work as an architect or structural engineer, knowing how to calculate the square footage of a space can be invaluable for your work.
Jason Somers, President & Founder of Crest Real Estate With over 15 years of professional experience in the Los Angeles luxury real estate market, Jason Somers has the background, judgement and track record to provide an unparalleled level of real estate services. His widespread knowledge helps clients identify and acquire income producing properties and value-ad development opportunities. Learn more about Jason Somers or contact us.
Free square footage calculator
Need help calculating your square footage? The calculator below can help (and, optionally, you can estimate home values if you know the average cost per square foot in your area).Square Footage Calculator
Additional tips for calculating square footage
These tips will make calculating and estimating square footage even easier.
Measure room by room
One simple way to calculate your home’s square footage is by measuring each room, calculating its square footage, and then adding all your totals together. This method works well if all your rooms and spaces are rectangular, keeping the calculations fairly simple.
Measure the outside of the house
Alternatively, if your home is just one story and rectangular shaped, you can calculate the square footage of the entire home in one equation by measuring outside. Measure the length and width of the entire home and multiply them to determine your total square footage.
Double check against your home’s floor plan
If you have access to your home’s blueprint or floor plan, it may tell you the square footage. It’s a good idea to check your calculations against the dimensions on the floor plan for accuracy.
Refer to regulations and guidelines
You shouldn’t necessarily include every space in your home in your square footage calculations. For example, if you have a multi-story home with a foyer that’s two-stories high, you wouldn’t be able to calculate the square footage on the ground floor and then just double it — the foyer square footage would need to be subtracted from the second-story total.
Additionally, the American National Standards Institute provides guidelines for measuring home square footage, which is typically what governments use to assess property taxes, and what most realtors use for home listings. According to those guidelines, you shouldn’t include certain spaces in your square footage calculations:
- Basements, even if they’re finished;
- Attics if they’re unfinished, not insulated, or have low ceilings.
These are all just guidelines, though. No one enforces them, which is why it’s so important to do your own calculations to ensure you have an accurate square footage measurement for your own home and any home you’re considering buying or renting.
For an exact square footage measurement, hire a professional
If you want to be really sure you’re accurate in measuring your home’s square footage, there are experts for that: appraisers. Hiring one means they’ll take an ultra-accurate measurement of your square footage, while also considering other factors about your home, to place a potential sales value on it. It’s common to have a home appraised before you sell it, but you can actually do it at any time.
Why Tenants, Homeowners, and Landlords Need to Know Square Footage
There are several reasons why tenants, homeowners, and landlords should all know how to calculate square feet:
- Knowing the square footage of a room can help you confirm if your furniture will fit.
- Knowing the square footage of a specific surface can help you estimate renovation costs. If you’re replacing a kitchen countertop, for example, you need to calculate the square footage of the countertop so you can get accurate quotes for the cost of the job.
- When you know how to calculate square feet, you can make sure you order the right amount of supplies and materials. If, for example, you plan to paint a wall that’s 12 feet long by 10 feet tall, you need to find the total square footage so you know how much paint to buy.
- Perhaps most importantly, knowing the square footage of homes and apartments helps you compare prices to find the best value. Let’s say you’re deciding between two similar apartments: Apartment A is $1,500 per month and Apartment B is $1,800 per month. Which is the better deal? Well, it depends on the square footage. If Apartment A is 500 square feet and Apartment B is 1,000 square feet, you’re getting more space for your money with Apartment B.
4. What is Net Cleanable Square Feet?
Net Cleanable Square Feet (“NCSF”) is the sum of all floor area that requires custodial services. NCSF is a great metric to know, especially for your facility’s custodial personnel. Having accurate NCSF measurements can help determine custodial staffing, inform budgeting and aid in service provider solicitation.
Custodial budgets will realistically contain chemicals, paper supplies, equipment and custodial labor costs to get the job done. Not knowing your facility’s true NCSF might mean that you are budgeting too little or too much for cleaning. If you want to learn more about custodial budgeting and planning for your facility teams, check out our free guide on creating a custodial cleaning plan.
How to Calculate Net Cleanable Square Feet
Determine the square footage of each room that needs to be cleaned. Areas that require no cleaning, such as closet areas and mechanical rooms, should not be included. Once you’ve gathered square footage (minus non-cleanable areas) for all rooms, add them together. This number is your total square footage that needs to be cleaned.
You can take this process a step further and add cleaning costs to the equation. Multiply total cleanable square footage by a base price for cleaning. For instance, if your total area to be cleaned is 5,000 square feet and the price per square foot is 25 cents, you can multiply $0.25 times 5,000 to get a total of $1,250 for cleaning fees.
Different Units of Measurement
Using square feet is the most common unit of measurement in American real estate. But it’s not your only option. For small projects, you might want to work in square inches. For big projects, like landscaping, square yards might make more sense. And in international real estate markets, square meters are the standard for home measurements.
Whatever your unit of measurement, the formula is the same. Multiply the length times the width to calculate the area of square and rectangular surfaces. Just make sure you’re using the same unit of measurement for your length and width. If you’re looking for square feet, measure both distances in feet; if you’re looking for square meters, measure both distances in meters.
Convert among square inch, square foot, square yard and square meter
You could, for example, perform all of your measurements in inches or centimeters, calculate area in square inches or square centimeters then convert your final answer to the unit you need such as square feet or square meters.
To convert among square feet, yards and meters use the following conversion factors. For other units use our calculator for area conversions.
- Square Feet to Square Yards
- multiply ft2 by 0.11111 to get yd2
- Square Feet to Square Meters
- multiply ft2 by 0.092903 to get m2
- Square Yards to Square Feet
- multiply yd2 by 9 to get ft2
- Square Yards to Square Meters
- multiply yd2 by 0.836127 to get m2
- Square Meters to Square Feet
- multiply m2 by 10.7639 to get ft2
- Square Meters to Square Yards
- multiply m2 by 1.19599 to get yd2
Square feet to cubic feet
If you would like to convert your square footage into cubic feet, take a look at the square feet to cubic feet calculator.