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Old 09-29-2013, 06:06 PM   #1
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What exactly does 'per square foot' mean?

That sounds like a straightforward question, but really it isn't- at least to me.

I need to do some ballpark cost estimating for a client, and so I'm messing with homewyse.com. On the assumption that they calculate and report areas and costs in some standard way (and I would hope so), then what does 'per square foot mean when talking about vertical construction?

For example, homewyse.com tells me that it costs between $1.82 and $1.96 per square foot to install 200 square feet drywall. So my question is: is that to cover all the walls in a 10'x20' room, or the surface area of a single 10'x20' wall? How are such things typically measured and quoted for cost estimates in homebuilding?


Last edited by dal-designs; 09-29-2013 at 06:08 PM.
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Old 09-29-2013, 06:13 PM   #2
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Yes, that means for the total square footage of 200 square feet, it is roughly $1.82 to $1.96 per Square foot in that four sided box. Total cost can be anywhere from $364-392. That does of course not take into account, windows, doorways and hallway entrances to the room.


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Old 09-29-2013, 06:13 PM   #3
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per square foot of drywall installed. so a single 10x20 or any other combination to get to 200
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Old 09-29-2013, 06:19 PM   #4
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For individual items, cost per square foot is pretty straightforward. In your case, the price quoted is per installed square foot, so 200 square feet would be a 10 ft x 20 ft wall, or a 5 ft x 40 ft all.

Where things get much more difficult is when computing the total square feet in a building. It turns out that building square feet have numerous definitions. There is gross square feet, which usually refers to the outside wall dimensions. There is net square feet, which measures to the inside of the exterior walls, but may include interior walls. There is useable square feet, which typically subtracts interior walls. Then there are issues related to habitable space (do I count the crawl space? how about the ducts? how about exterior space?). But these are issues usually of concern to professional estimators. In your case, if you believe the per square foot figures, you only need to compute the actual square footage installed to estimate the cost.

Remember that cost per square foot taken from a guide may or may not include profit, overhead, bonding, insurance, and other markups. If you are going to supply an estimate that will actually be used for bidding evaluation or for financing, you need to be absolutely certain you understand exactly what is included and excluded from the unit price you are using.
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Old 09-29-2013, 06:25 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
Remember that cost per square foot taken from a guide may or may not include profit, overhead, bonding, insurance, and other markups.
Thanks, Daniel. The nice thing about Homewyse is they do list what is and isn't included in their estimations in footnotes for each item. But I understand what you're saying.
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cost vertical wall

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