When you’re buying a new home or planning a renovation project, understanding square footage is essential. It determines the space you have for your family and belongings. However, a common question that arises, especially in multi-level homes, is whether stairs count in square footage calculations. In this blog, we’ll demystify this concept and provide you with a clear understanding of how stairs factor into square footage.
Square footage is a critical factor when it comes to property valuation, pricing, and living space assessment. Knowing how to calculate it accurately is crucial for both buyers and sellers. Let’s delve into the question of whether stairs should be included in square footage calculations.
What Is Square Footage?
Before we get into the details, let’s clarify what square footage means. Square footage is a measurement of the total area of a floor or outdoor space, expressed in square feet (sq ft) or square meters (sq m). It’s a valuable metric for assessing the size of a property and determining its value.
Do Stairs Count in Square Footage?
In most cases, stairs are not counted in square footage calculations. Here’s why:
- Functional Space: Square footage represents functional living or working space. Stairs, on the other hand, are transitional elements that provide access between different levels of a building. They serve a functional purpose but are not spaces where you live, work, or store items.
- Industry Standards: Real estate industry standards typically exclude stairs from square footage calculations. This practice ensures consistency and fairness when comparing properties.
- Local Building Codes: Local building codes and appraisal guidelines often specify that stairs should not be included in square footage.
Let’s consider a simple example to illustrate this concept:
Imagine you have a two-story house with a total square footage of 2,000 sq ft. This includes the living areas, bedrooms, kitchen, and bathrooms on both levels. The staircase connecting the two levels is not counted in this square footage.
In most cases, stairs are not included when calculating square footage. They are considered part of the necessary circulation space within a home but do not contribute to the total livable area. When evaluating a property’s size or price, it’s essential to focus on the square footage of the actual living spaces rather than including staircases or other non-livable areas.
Understanding how square footage is calculated and what it represents is crucial for anyone involved in real estate transactions. While stairs are an integral part of a multi-level home, they do not count as part of the square footage. This practice ensures fairness and consistency in property comparisons.