Square footage definitions

 

Attached Single Family Home:
A house that has its own roof and foundation, is separated from other houses by dividing walls that extend from roof to foundation and does not share utility services with adjoining houses; may be known as townhouse, rowhouse or duplex, for example.


Detached Single-Family House:
A house that has open space on all its sides.


Finished Area:
An enclosed area in a house that is suitable for year-round use based upon its geographic region, embodying walls, floors, and ceilings that are similar to the rest of the house.


Unfinished Area:

Sections of the house that do not meet the criteria of Finished Area.


Garage:
A structure intended for the storage of automobiles and other vehicles.


Grade:
The ground level at the perimeter of the exterior finished surface of a house. Below grade is considered to be basement area and Above grade is considered to be all levels above the basement.

Note: This may vary from town to town.


Level:
Areas of the house that are vertically within 2 ft of the same horizontal plane.

 

Square Footage Calculations
An area of a house that is measured and calculated in accordance with the standard.

  • Attached Single Family: The finished square footage of each level is the sum of the finished areas on that level measured at floor level to the exterior finished surface of the outside wall or from the centerlines between house, where appropriate.

  • Detached Single Family: The finished square footage of each level is the sum of the finished areas on that level measured at floor level to the exterior finished surface of the outside walls.

  • Above Grade Finished Area: The finished square footage of a house is the sum of finished areas on levels that are entirely above grade.

  • Below Grade Finished Area: The finished square footage of a house is the sum of finished areas on “basement” levels.

  • Finished Areas Adjacent to Unfinished Areas: Where finished and unfinished areas are adjacent on the same level, the finished square footage is calculated by measuring to the exterior edge or unfinished surface of any interior partition between the areas.

  • Openings to the Floor Below: Openings to the floor below, such as 2 story cathedral and/or vaulted ceilings, cannot be included in the square footage calculation.

    Note: The area of both stair treads and landings proceeding to the floor below is included in the finished area of the floor from which the stairs descend, not to exceed the area of the opening in the floor.
  • Ceiling Height Requirements: Finished areas must have a ceiling height of at least 7 ft except for 1) under beams, ducts and other obstructions where the height may be lower (height varies by town); 2) under stairs where there is no specified height requirement; 3) where the ceiling is sloped.

    Note: If a room’s ceiling is sloped at least one half of the finished square footage in that room must have a vertical ceiling height of at least 7 ft and no portion of the finished area that has a height of less than 5 ft may be included in the finished square footage.
  • Finished areas Connected to the House: Finished areas that are connected to the main body of the house by other finished areas such as hallways or stairways are included in the finished square footage of the floor that is at the same level. Finished areas that are not connected to the house in such a manner cannot be included in the finished square footage of any level.
  • Garages and Unfinished Areas: Garages and unfinished areas cannot be included in the calculation of finished square footage. Chimneys, windows, and other finished areas that protrude beyond the exterior finished surface of the outside walls and do not have a floor on the same level cannot be included in the calculation of square footage.
  • Porches, Balconies and Decks: Areas that may or may not be enclosed and are not suitable for year-round occupancy cannot be included in the finished square footage.

 

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