## How to Calculate the Total Heated Square Footage of a House Plan

house plan’s total square footage tells you how many square feet of finished space a plan offers. The finished space is the heated living area of the house. Finished space usually has floor coverings such as wood, vinyl, ceramic, carpeting or tile.

Unfinished square footage such as garages, porches, decks, attics, bonus rooms, courtyards, and driveways are typically not included as part of the total heated living space of a plan. A basement is not included in the finished total square footage unless the basement is finished. A 3-season porch is not considered finished square footage because it is not heated and cooled space.

Total heated square footage is not the same as the total heated floor space. Typically the total heated square footage is calculated by using the dimensions starting from the outside studs of the home’s exterior. The heated square footage doesn’t include exterior wall coverings such as brick, stucco or siding. The square footage does include space that is taken up by walls.

Cantilevered floor sections also affect the total heated square footage. A cantilevered room such as a bay window is counted as finished square footage if the floor joists are part of the cantilever. If a cantilevered space does not include floor space, then the cantilevered area is not counted as part of the square footage. If a fireplace cantilevers then the square footage of the cantilever is counted as finished square footage on the floor that has the fireplace but not on other floors.

For stairways in a two-story home plan, usually the space occupied by the staircase is counted once when calculating total square footages. However a few house designers or homebuilders consider a stairway transitional space and sometimes count it as square footage on both floors (call to verify if the home plan you are interested in is calculated this way).

If you are comparing two home plans that have the “same” total finished square footage you may want to remember that the wall space is part of the square footage. For example, if you see a one-story house that has the same finished square footage as a two-story house, then the one story house will actually have more interior space. This is because the two-story house has another floor of exterior walls that are considered part of its total square footage. Also a two-story house needs more space for hallways and stairways and the useable square footage of a two-story house is usually less when compared to a one-story house that has the same total square footage.

## Square footage needed for the marketing of new single-family dwellings.

The competition among residential homebuilders is very keen, and it is in their interest that they and their competitors use a uniform method of computing floor areas in their advertising and marketing.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has developed a standard method for calculating floor areas in single-family dwellings, “Square Footage – Method for Calculating,” ANSI Z765-2003. Copies may be purchased from National Association of Home Building, Research Center, 400 Prince George’s Boulevard, Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20774. This standard is not suitable for use in apartment buildings or multiple family dwellings.

The National Association of Home Builders has supported this voluntary standard among its members since its inception in 1996. The second edition was promulgated in 2003. Although some of the largest homebuilders have adopted the standard, many have not. Some builders publish and use their own standard.

As a final note, be aware that owners and agents may not report the square footage of a home in the same way. Many real estate agents merely represent “total heated living area” and do not provide a complete breakdown of how living area is calculated leaving it up to the buyer or buyer agent to determine. A “breakdown” of living area is important because often times, there are quality differences between finished basements, finished attics, conversions, etc. and “above grade” finish. Appraisers, on the other hand, are usually more consistent in the reporting of “living area” due to secondary market (lending) guidelines that require them to distinguish between “above grade”, “below grade”, “converted areas”, and so forth.

## 3 Ways a Deck Can Make Staying Home More Enjoyable

(BPT) – With so many people across the country staying put in their homes right now, a fun and functional outdoor space is more important than ever. Amusement parks and concerts are closed or canceled and spring is around the corner, beckoning families outdoors. Millions of people are working remotely and looking for a more natural option for their home offices. A well-thought-out deck could be the answer to making a staycation, whether forced or planned, more enjoyable.

Here are three ways a deck can improve the at-home experience.

### Fewer screens, more fun

When kids are out of school, screen time usually goes up. Whether it’s TV, computers, video games, phones or tablets, screen time is usually a sedentary activity.

A deck can provide an alternative outdoor play space where kids can be active and stretch their imaginations, enjoy the outdoors and do things like bring their favorite toys like building blocks, action figures or doll houses outdoors.

Worried about splinters hurting those little toes and fingers? Composite decking is a beautiful option that makes sanding, staining, sealing and splinters a thing of the past. While composite decking has historically had a higher price tag than traditional wood, boards like Envision Ridge Premium deliver the exotic hardwood beauty and low maintenance of composites at a budget-friendly price.

Continue reading “3 Ways a Deck Can Make Staying Home More Enjoyable”

## Unlock the Smart Home You Never Knew You Had

(BPT) – With everyone hunkering down, many of us are thinking about how to maximize what’s already in our homes. What many don’t know is that the benefits and efficiencies of a smart home might already be at their fingertips. With a little research and time spent with your appliances and technology, you can start enjoying the convenience of the smart home features you never knew you had – with added benefits like tips and alerts that will help you take care of your appliances to avoid service issues.

### Reacquaint yourself with your tech

Start online by doing a search of the make and model of your TVs, speakers and appliances to determine if your items have smart capabilities. If they do, you can easily locate online instructions for setup and user-friendly tutorials on how to use them to their full advantage. Have you recently purchased a premium new TV or appliance? If you have, there’s a good chance that it’s smart-enabled.

### Start exploring your smart app

After selecting a smart-enabled appliance or TV that you’d like to focus on, download the accompanying smart app to your smartphone or tablet. Many brands have one central app for their appliances and electronics to make this even easier. For example, LG’s is called ThinQ. A central app is the easiest way to keep yourself organized.

(BPT) – With everyone spending more time at home, the kitchen is becoming a major hub for daily activities. Whether it is dusting off an old cookbook, perfecting a family recipe, mastering the latest recipe to take over social media, or baking cookies with the kids, people are creating new memories in the kitchen.

That’s why we asked the cooking and baking experts in LG’s home appliance consumer insights lab in Chicago to compile a list of the best tips, tricks and hacks to help get the most out of your time in the kitchen right now.

### Create recipes that need less cleanup time

With more cooking comes more cleaning. Try to ease the cleanup burden by creating one-pot meals. Casseroles are great dishes that require less cleanup. Pro-tip: Most casserole dishes should be covered for most of their cooking time, but you can remove the cover and continue to cook the casserole for 5 to 10 minutes until the top is browned.

## 5 Steps to Painting Like a Pro at Home

(BPT) – Nothing transforms a home quite like a fresh coat of paint. In fact, painting your own house is one of the smartest and easiest DIY upgrades a homeowner can accomplish, especially as they find themselves spending more time at home. With 71% of homeowners undertaking improvement or renovation projects that include paint, according to an iProperty Management Study, here are surefire tips to ensure you are painting like a pro.

Paint adheres better to a smooth, clean surface. While living room walls may only need a dry dusting, kitchens and bathrooms, where dirt, grease, oil or mildew can build up, need extra attention. Wash surfaces with soap and water, rinse well and allow to dry completely. For bathrooms, remove mold and mildew by applying a solution of one part bleach to three parts water and allow the solution to sit for 20 minutes. Then scrub mold and mildew with a soft-bristle brush, rinse the surface and allow it to dry. Be sure to wear safety glasses and rubber gloves when working with this bleach and water solution. For surfaces that are particularly grimy, spray with Rust-Oleum® Original Krud Kutter Cleaner & Degreaser, wipe off with a clean cloth and allow to dry.

Continue reading “5 Steps to Painting Like a Pro at Home”

## Turn Your Backyard Into a Safe Space For Healthy Play

(BPT) – As Americans across the country retreat to their homes to help slow the spread of COVID-19, many are rediscovering the value of their yards as places to take in fresh air, engage their children in outdoor games and enjoy physical activity in a safe environment.

### 3 tips for safe, healthy outdoor fun for the family

Kids who can no longer participate in organized sports activities or meet their friends at the park need creative ways to burn off energy at home. Unplugging and stepping outside can be good for the whole family’s physical and mental health. Consider these three tips as you explore ways to take advantage of the green space around your home.

Educate: The backyard offers a great setting to learn about plant biology and the creepy crawlers that call our lawns home. Take a magnifying glass to your lawn and explore the habitat nestled between the blades.

Exercise: Lace up your sneakers and take to the yard for a 30-minute workout or arrange an obstacle course on the lawn for the kids. Encourage children to compete for the fastest time or create a course of their own.

Rejuvenate: As the days get warmer, enjoy a little self-care by soaking in the sun on the lawn. Consider laying out a blanket and reading. Whether it becomes family story time or some quiet time to yourself, spend some time enjoying your own personal piece of the great outdoors.

Continue reading “Turn Your Backyard Into a Safe Space For Healthy Play”

## Tips To Protect From the Unexpected: Necessary Home Essentials

(BPT) – While spending more time at home, it’s important that you take the necessary steps to make sure your family is ready for the unexpected in the event a home fire or carbon monoxide (CO) leak occurs. You might be surprised to learn that CO poisoning is the number one cause of accidental poisoning in the United States each year and, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), three out of five fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Make sure your family and home are prepared by following these tips and tools.

### Every level, every bedroom.

Even if you have smoke and CO alarms in your home, you and your family may not be sufficiently protected if you don’t have enough devices throughout your entire home. To help ensure the highest level of protection, the NFPA recommends installing alarms on every level of the home, inside every bedroom and outside each sleeping area.

### Test, maintain and replace.

Even though testing your alarms is as simple as pressing a button and waiting for the beep, a First Alert survey showed that more than 60% of consumers do not test their smoke and CO alarms monthly. Test alarms regularly, change the batteries every six months if battery-powered and be sure all alarms have a battery backup if hardwired, for protection during a power outage. To eliminate battery replacements for a decade, upgrade to 10-year sealed battery alarms to make battery replacements a thing of the past. Also, if you can’t remember the last time you installed an alarm, chances are, it’s time to replace it. Alarms are on duty 24/7 and need to be replaced at least every 10 years.

Continue reading “Tips To Protect From the Unexpected: Necessary Home Essentials”

## Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

(BPT) – Looks matter and first impressions count! So to pique the interest of potential buyers, refresh your home’s exterior and boost the curb appeal with new siding. In-the-know design pros are choosing cypress siding for the upgrade. It looks great and can last a lifetime, no matter what Mother Nature might have in store.

“Cypress siding offers the complete package,” says Zack Rickman of the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association, www.CypressInfo.org. “It’s not only beautiful, it offers proven outdoor performance by naturally repelling insects – like termites and carpenter bees – and minimizing decay, chemical corrosion and other damaging elements.”

### Be informed

Wood siding offers a timeless look that is often imitated, but never really duplicated. And while there are many siding products to choose from, homebuilder Stephen Ellis, MGB Fine Custom Homes of Sarasota, Florida, chooses cypress. And for good reasons!

“Often we clad our homes entirely in cypress,” he says. “It’s a material we enjoy working with because it’s dimensionally stable and holds up well in our humid, coastal environment. And it’s locally sourced, which is something homeowners are valuing now more than ever. Ultimately, the decision comes down to the architectural style of the home, maintenance and cost. I do my best to help homeowners make an informed decision based on their goals.”

When it comes to picking a siding style, cypress is available in all the popular patterns, like traditional bevel or modern shiplap. Yet in Ellis’ area, he’s seeing a different trend. “These days, we’re putting up a lot of board and batten,” he says. “It’s always been popular for farm houses, but it looks great on beach homes and complements the casual, relaxing vibe.”

(BPT) – The sounds of birds chirping, longer daylight hours, and budding trees and flowers are early signs that warmer weather and spring are on the way. That means more time outside to enjoy nature, but it’s also a sign it might be time for a little spring cleaning.

“Cold temperatures, snowfall and winter rains can have a big effect on houses and landscaping, so now’s the time to check for potential home repairs and maintenance,” said Christopher O’Rourke, Mercury Insurance vice president of property claims. “Spring cleaning isn’t just about getting rid of belongings you no longer want or need – it’s also a time to get your home in tip-top shape so you can enjoy it throughout the rest of the year.”

Here are four tips O’Rourke recommends to welcome the new season and save some money down the road.