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Message - Re: Figuring Sq.Ft. NO QUESTION, really!!

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Posted by  Antonio on March 23, 2004 at 00:12:58:

In Reply to:  Figuring Sq.Ft. posted by Mike on March 10, 2004 at 20:51:49:

Hello, and don't fall for the "myth" of there being no exact way to get square footage. Building is the second oldest trade (almost :-) and there's been alot of it, everywhere. Believe me, figuring area is NOT a guess. Maybe some "expert" would like to have you belief that, but I'm one, and its the easiest thing of all.

The way to figure is to make a sketch, or use your Plan (if its accurate to what was built) that has accurate numbers or dimensions written on it. Since I draw Plans (25+ years, of ALL sorts), build and develop,'s what I do. Its easy, fast and accurate (to less than 4 s.f., probably?).

I take the actual scale-drawn plan, place a clean, transparent sketch paper over it, and start reducing the Plan to regular rectangular objects. As many as it takes. And placing the length and width of each 2D "box" in the center of it, on the sketch paper. Do them all, measuring to the outside of the foundation wall, or the "footprint".

I like to segregate the different uses into: habitable (ie. air-conditioned), garage, covered entry, lanai,.... The living area goes to the garage-side of the separating wall from it and the garage space. And, then multiply each separte rectangle to get the area for it. Then, I add up to different areas that constitute the different use categories.

That's about it, and should take about 7-10 minutes for even the most complex plans. If one has drawn them on CAD, then just let the machine do the math! :-)

The MOST revealing part of this exercise is when one figures the different ACTUAL Living area (gross area minus the area of the exterior wall width), to see how different exterior wall systems can add or subtract the REAL worth of area to you. That is, the part you can actually live in!

I figure a 1000 s.f. home, built with either 8" cmu or 4" walls, to have MORE ACTUAL Living area for the 4" wall at 32+ s.f. About enough to have a "free" breakfast nook, or walk-in closet, or.... Just from using exterior wall width normally taken by the 8" cmu system! Alot, when Building Costs/Mortgage Amounts are estimated by the Gross Area, but one only enjoys the Actual Area, yes?

Sometimes, when double-checking those areas for those "plan book drawings" (why you would, I'll never know :-) it really helps to make a simple "ruler". I do this...grab a scrap paper sheet, and mark the width of the Kitchen counter on it. It's usually 25" (close enough to 2 feet, right?), and it can be repeatedly marked that way on the paper. Until one has marks at 2' o.c., that one can (ruffly, albeit) scale and dimension the "plan book drawing". Try it!

Well, I hope this helps? Ohhh...for stairs, use one-half the area of it, as some part of it is uninhabitable, yes? But, if you do have liveable area under (or above) a stair, one has to count it. And just encompass the entire footprint, NOT leaving out what you suggested (closets, shower,....). Nope, you bought the whole thing! :-)

Here in my SW Florida, USA I believe "small IS beautiful" :-) Any fool can build a "monster" (trust me, I have, for others. A "pink" White House, even!! :-) home, but there's no expertise to making alot of room "amazing". Much like the mortgage loan/real estate taxes will be, yes? :-)


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