It may come as a surprise that there are many methods for calculating the square footage for a home addition or remodeling project. We receive many calls asking What is the price per square foot for a room addition? And over the phone, we aren’t comfortable giving you an answer.In fact, if anyone can, we strongly urge you to proceed with caution. Without seeing your home how can a contractor have a thorough understanding of what you are looking to do, where the structural elements are in your home are and what will truly be involved?
Electrical, plumbing, engineering, architecture these are just a few of the things that will adjust the cost of an addition. That’s not the only issue you run into when trying to receive a square foot price over the phone – different contractors calculate square footage differently.
Discrepancies occur when including (or omitting) porches and screened-in decks, basements, attic spaces and garages. Was the square footage occupied by a staircase counted once or twice? Then there’s the question of where the measurement is taken from. Some home improvement contractors may only include the space inside the walls. Other times, the calculation is based on taking measurements from outside of the wall framing (which adds the square footage represented in the wall thickness.)
As a homeowner looking to remodel, you need to consider the quality of materials used by different remodelers, as does the costs charged by the remodeler’s sub-contractors such as electricians, plumbers and painters. Every week at Sea Pointe Construction we have company-wide meetings involving design consultants, production managers and support staff to talk about products and projects. This helps us to consistently learn what works best in design and in the field.
Finally, what’s included in one contractors’ estimate will vary from what’s included in another contractor’s estimate. It’s virtually impossible to get an apples for apples comparison between two buildering contractors, and even if you could control most of the variables by having the design finalized and all products selected, there are still the differences in quality and customer service to be considered.Don’t be afraid to show the company that may have what seem like higher prices the lower quote and have them point out the differences between their quote and your second bidder. That way you can make an informed decision on what route will be best for you.
So beware of comparing two home improvement estimates solely on the basis of cost per square foot – they are all not created equal!