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How to Measure and Calculate Residential Square Footage


Measuring Guidelines for Special Circumstances

Measuring a Home's Square Footage
Mark Up Your Sketch with Helpful Information
© Janet Wickell

Rooms With Sloped Ceilings

Such as the loft found in an A-Frame home. If you measure room dimensions where the sloped walls meet the floor, you are including space that isn't truly usable.

Include only the portion of the room where ceiling height is at least five feet. To be included at all, a minimum of one half of the finished area of the room must have ceilings at least seven feet high.

Bay Windows

The area occupied by a bay window may be counted if it has a floor, a ceiling height of at least seven feet, and meets other criteria for living area.

Furnace Room

If the furnace, water heater, or other similar item is located in a small closet within the living area, it should be included in the total square footage.

Hallways & Closets

These areas are counted if they are a functional part of the living space.


In general, if the opening for the stairway is larger than its length and width, you must deduct the excess open space from the upper level's square footage.

Open Foyer & Other Open Space

Do not include open space as part of the square footage for an upper level. This may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how many agents forget to deduct it.

  1. Make a Sketch of the Home
  2. Measuring Guidelines for Special Circumstances
  3. Using Your Measurements to Calculate Square Footage
  4. Calculating Combination Shapes
  5. Calculating Circular Shapes and Octagons

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