Finding the height of a two story house starts with knowing how tall a single story is. The height of a story depends on the ceiling height, which is usually anywhere from 8 feet to 10 feet tall.
In commercial buildings, it can be much higher. Story height is also affected by the depth of the floor and the amount of space above the ceiling for vents and wiring.
It is possible to figure out exactly how tall a two story house is by calculating how high the ceiling is on each floor, the floor thickness, and the amount of space above the ceiling.
If you don’t have that information, it’s easy to figure an average height for a two story house.
How Tall Is a Two Story House?
A 2 story house with average height ceilings (9 feet high) is about 20 feet tall.
This is factoring in additional footage from the depth or thickness of the floor (about one foot on average) and space above the ceiling (up to 2 feet in homes with drop ceilings).
Houses with higher ceilings will naturally be a different height than those with low or average height ceilings. Two story homes are, at minimum height, 16 feet tall and can be up to nearly 30 feet tall, depending on a few additional factors.
What Else Affects the Height?
A few things affect the height of a two story house. However, each of these factors can be broken town into one of three categories:
First Floor Ceiling Height
Another factor to consider when determining how tall a two story house is ceiling height on the ground floor. Typically, builders allow some extra ceiling height for the first floor, and make the ceilings in each story above it about one foot shorter.
This is true in both residential buildings and commercial office buildings. A two story home with 9 foot ceilings in the first story will likely have 8 foot ceilings in the second story.
Factoring in floor depth (1 foot), this bring the height of a two story home to about 19 feet tall.
The presence or absence of an attic, along with its ceiling height, will also affect the final height of a 2 story house. An average attic has a ceiling height of at least 7 feet for at least half of the area in order to meet most codes requirements.
“Most codes require at least 7.5 feet of height over at least 50% of the floor area [in an attic] When making this calculation, be sure to consider the thickness of any finish materials on the ceiling, which will reduce the total height.” — Remodeling Cost Calculator
Factoring in attic space brings the height of a two story home with an attic to about 26.5 feet tall.
Roof Style and Pitch
The style and pitch of the roof can affect the height of a two story house. Steep roof peaks raise the total building height by several feet, while flat roofs (more common in commercial buildings) won’t add to the total height at all.
These roof types can raise the total height of a two-story house:
- Gable roof
- A-frame roof
- Gambrel roof
- Mansard roof
- Saltbox roof
Any of these roof types will all add some additional footage to the total building height. This makes a two story house a little taller at its highest point. If you’re calculating the height of a two story home, make sure you’re meeting local codes requirements.
Also know that some building codes account for only the height of the building itself without counting the highest “pitchbreak,” or the point where both sides of the roof rise to meet, as part of the total building height.
Finding the average two story house height may seem difficult or time-consuming. But with a few measurements (floor depth, first and second floor ceiling height, attic ceiling height, roof pitch), you can easily come up with an accurate estimate of the total height of the building.
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