by Dan Fritschen

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Calculating addition cost per square foot

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Update: If you’re planning an extensive home remodel or room addition, it can be very helpful to have a good idea of what the cost per square foot to remodel will be. That way, you can accurately plan the scale of your remodel from the very start without having to keep amending your plans. If you have a limited budget, you can see just how far your money will stretch for your new remodeling project. There are manyfactors that will affect this outcome, including the sort of addition you want to build (kitchen, bathroom, etc) and even the area of the country you are building it!

Remodeling and room addition costs can be calculated quickly by utilizing many convenient methods. Among the quick estimates, homeowners will find that the most costly is probably the cost per square foot.  This method is popular to use, but has limitations which you must be aware of before you depend on it for your decisions.

The formula used for the cost per square foot is a simple calculation:

Multiply a cost per square foot by the square footage that will be remodeled.

This seems relatively simple, correct? Basically it is, provided that you consider that the cost per sq. ft. can vary, which can make a drastic difference in the actual cost of the reconstruction. For example, the cost per sq. ft. can range anywhere from $100 to $700, which would make a difference of tens of thousands of dollars.

Variations in the cost per square foot should be considered in your calculation. You might choose to estimate the cost of the project using a cost of $100 to $300 per square foot. In reality, the average cost of remodeling is actually $300 to $500 per square foot. If your project is a custom remodeling, you can expect to double that cost. Now, you have a more accurate picture of the costs incurred in your project.

Addition cost per square foot will also be affected by other factors. One of these is what part of the country you are in. Material costs are much greater in some areas than others, and will vary from state to state.

Another influence on the cost per square foot will be the season in which you are remodeling. You will find that many subcontractors and contractors have periods of time when their business is much less active. During their slow season, most will charge less for their work. can help you by providing a list of contractors in your area.

Lastly, the cost will depend on the degree of work involved with the remodel.  If you can do some of the work in the following, this will help to lower the cost per square foot.

• Design
• Management
• Plumbing and electrical work
• Framing
• Demolition
• Project clean up
• Wallpapering and painting

With the various factors that can influence the cost per square foot calculations, you can see that the simple calculation is relatively useless until a number factors are taken into account. The free, easy to use online calculator on is the only one that also takes into consideration the amount and value of the work involved in the project.


Frequently Asked Questions:


Question: Are building cost per square foot calculators accurate?

Answer:  Yes, they can be relative to the information that they require.  If the calculators only need general information to give you an estimate then you should assume that they are just general budgetary estimates.  If the calculators require detailed material lists and hours of labor than the calculator is likely to give a better estimate of the actual costs.


Question: Does the square footage area of a room have much of an impact on the cost calculated by the calculator?

Answer: Yes, but to a diminishing degree. Like many projects there are economies of scale.  A larger room is typically less expensive to build per square foot than a smaller room.