Square Footage Cost Estimates

BlueprintFrom time to time, potential clients will ask the question, “What are the square footage costs for a renovation?” My answer is always the same; there is no right answer. It is very difficult to provide a square footage cost due to both the changes that must be made to the interior, and the transitions from the new to the old. Generally, when an addition is added, it means the space in the original interior is going to change as well. This could mean a larger kitchen, larger ensuite, and more bedrooms, and this is where the square footage costs change.

Renovation costs of a bathroom or a kitchen vary greatly based on the quality of fixtures and finishes chosen, while a living room would be far less expensive as the options are not the same.

There are so many questions that must be answered before providing a fair cost estimate. Consider the following scenario: If we were to put a 20’ x 20’ addition onto a home, and the changes to the interior were minimal, we’d have to look at the exterior changes including the roof lines, shingles old-to-new, masonry, and siding or stucco.  For the shingles, do we replace the complete roof so it all matches, or do the existing shingles not need replacing? Can we match the existing masonry? Siding and stucco colours change or fade over the years, so do we paint the existing to match the new? All of these add costs to the overall job. So much depends on the estimator as to whether or not he has asked the right questions to know exactly what you want.

I can build a new home for $100.00 per square foot, and I can also build a home for $300.00 per square foot. What the cost really depends on is what you want, both for the interior and exterior, and what your budget is. A lower-end budget will not get you any high quality products, and corners may need to be cut in the finishing touches.

Have you had an experience with a square footage estimate that has gone awry due to factors that weren’t accounted for? Let us know in the comments.