Maybe you're buying your first home. Or, perhaps you already have a house and want to know if your ladder is tall enough to reach the gutters! In any case, you're here wondering: just how tall is a two-story house? We've checked into building codes and asked contractors to bring you the correct answer.
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There is no one standard measurement for how tall each story of a home must be. While 25 feet is used as an average expectation for a two-story house, this isn't set in stone. Many variables, such as ceiling height and roof pitch, will affect the overall height.
Keep reading, and we'll explain what you need to know about those factors. We'll cover how tall the average ceiling is and how much height your roof might add. We'll explain exactly what that means for one-story, two-story, and even three-story homes. And if you're wondering how many stories the average American home has, we'll cover that too!
How Tall Is A Two Story House?
On average, two-story homes are about 25 feet tall. This is an estimate and not a hard rule. There are many variables involved that influence how tall a house is.
The overall height of a home will depend on:
- How tall each story is
- The flooring structure underneath each story
- The overhead ceiling structure/attic.
How Tall Is Each Story Of A House?
According to International Residental Code (IRC), ceiling height must be a minimum of 7 feet. More commonly, the ceiling is between 8-10 feet high. You may even find some homes with 12-foot ceilings, though this is less typical. The height varies based on when the home was constructed and the style.
The flooring structure underneath each story can be around a foot deep. This means that, overall, you can expect each story of a house to be somewhere between 9-11 feet tall. 10 feet is considered typical.
This code, and these averages, apply to residential homes and habitable spaces. A basement or crawl space, for example, is exempt from the IRC standard. An office space or other commercial building might be much taller per story.
How Much Height Does Roof Add?
In a two-story home, each story is around 10 feet. Estimating the overall height at 25 feet leaves 5 feet for the roof space.
This is a pretty fair average, as most roofs add about 4-5 feet. However, variations in the roof style can change the height quite a bit. Any roof adds a few feet to the total height of the home. Depending on the pitch of the roof, this can range from a couple of feet to 8 feet [or more].
It's impossible to calculate precisely without the specific dimensions of the home. For example, a roof with a 4/12 pitch goes up 4 inches for every 12 inches across. A steeper pitch of 9/12 will be more than double that, increasing 9 inches per foot. Both numbers in this wide range are considered standard in home construction.
In addition, if the home has an attic, that needs to be factored in. Modern homes can expect their attic to be about 7 feet high. However, this once again varies - some attics are essentially a crawl space. A steep roof may not need any extra space for the attic - it already fits in the high slope of the roof.
How Do You Measure A Two Story Home?
Common ways to find out the height of a Two-story home is:
- Check your building plans - if you have them, they should have this information.
- Use Google Earth
- Measure the old-fashioned way.
- Do some basic trigonometry calculations.
Looking at the building's plans is pretty self-explanatory. Just measuring the height outright also does not require further explanation.
However, figuring out the height of a home with math or Google Earth requires some background info. You can read about each in more detail and find helpful videos demonstrating both below.
Google Earth is a free program, right on the internet. Just type in the search bar the address of the home. Unfortunately, this only works if the home can be seen in 3-D Google Earth.
In the bottom right corner, there's a spot that reads elevation. If you click on the ground level with your mouse, it will read how high the ground is above sea level. Then click your mouse on the highest point of the building.
Now, subtract the ground level from the high "rooftop number." The result is the actual height of the building.
This is, of course, not that precise. If you need a number that will be accurate to the closest inch, you'll have to measure.
How To Measure With Trigonometry
This one requires you to use the app Phyphox. The app gives you readings to determine the incline of the building. By measuring various points, you can formulate a triangle between you and the building. In the end, this can be used to determine the height.
How Tall Is A One Story Home?
The same basic rules already covered apply to a one-story home as well. The ceilings can be 7-10 feet high, with 9 feet average. Leave about a foot in the flooring structure. The roof adds another 5 feet, though steeper roofs or big attics may add more.
This means that the total height of a one-story home will be around 15 feet. Once again, there's a wide range of all the important variables. On the smaller end, you might see a house that is 10 feet, with a nearly flat roof. But it wouldn't be unheard of to see homes that are closer to 20 feet, with a steep roof and high ceilings. And these are just homes in the normal range of possibility - there still might be some unusual exceptions!
How Tall Is A Three Story Home?
Much like a one-story home, there's no "one size" for a three-story house. Each story can range from 8-11 feet in relatively standard construction. And that doesn't even include the unusual homes that defy standard conventions! As a result, all the numbers used are ranges and averages - you absolutely can and will find homes that don't fit these patterns.
It's also worth pointing out that many houses have stories that aren't all the same height. For example, the main floor might have rooms that are 9 feet high. The second story might be 8 feet, and the third might be only 7. The IRC codes that use 7 feet as a minimum height still apply.
Still, in a typical three-story home, you're already looking at 24-33 feet in all. Then you need to add on the roof. That's another three feet or so, depending on the pitch.
In all, it's reasonable to assume a three-story home is about 35 feet high. If there's an attic, you can add another [roughly] 7 feet to that. A three-story house with an attic is likely to be around 40 feet high.
What Is The Standard Height Of A House?
A report by The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) shows that two-story homes are the most dominant in the US. It can vary some, depending on the region. For example, in the midwestern part of the US, one-story homes are more common.
In the US, the average two-story home is 25 feet tall. The average 1-story home is 15 feet. These numbers are based on newer-construction homes.
These numbers assume a 9-foot ceiling height and 1 foot of floor structure, making each story 10 feet total. They add 5 feet for the roof structure, the American average. They also assume no attic, which is something that is disappearing from many modern homes.
Older homes may vary quite a bit from these norms. For example, attics were once found in the majority of houses. Ceiling height has also changed considerably over time.
Homes are typically somewhere around 10 feet per story. This can vary since ceiling height can be 7-10 feet. Sometimes, it might be even greater than that, in less conventional styles!
The roof adds another 5 feet. It can be greater or less, depending on the slope of the roof. The presence of an attic may also add to the overall height.
In all, a one-story home is around 15 feet tall. Two-stories average 25 feet, and three-stories are 35 feet. However, some homes may be taller, depending on the style and construction.
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