Does a Basement Count as a Story? (Explained!)

Counting how many floors your house has should be easy, right? Well, not really! Some people, including you, may struggle to understand if a basement or attic counts as a story or not.

In this post, we will help you figure out the answer to that problem. Also, keep in mind one of the main factors that include whether your basement is included in the house’s total square footage. So, let’s get to the point without wasting any time.

Basement Count as a Story

Here’s If Basement Count as a Story:

Of course, the basement is an important part of any house, and you can’t neglect it. You may call your house 2-story or more, considering your house has an additional one in the form of a basement. But does your basement count as a story?

We will take a look at four main factors that determine whether or not a basement is a story in a house:

·        A Livable/Enjoyable Space

Don’t assume that a furnished basement automatically falls under “a livable space.” When a place is equipped with plumbing, heating/cooling appliances, and electrical amenities, it can only be a living space.

In several places around the nation, you will learn about laws that target the minimum floor to ceiling height to classify a room as “a living space.” Furthermore, some laws also prompt house authorities and housing experts to check for egress or an easy way out of the basement, to name it a living space.

If the basement of a house serves as a bedroom, it should have an egress for the safety of those dwelling there.

·        A Furnished Basement/Space

Most of the time, homeowners furnish and finish the basements to get extra usable household space and include it in the total usable square footage of their residence. Many homeowners only use basements for seasonal décor, occasional use, and mostly for storage.

When any amenities in your living room are present in your basement, you can consider it a finished living space. It must have heating/cooling facilities and plumbing and electrical support to be categorized as a finished space.

Remember, we’re talking about factors that classify a basement as a different story in a house. Considering that, a basement can be anything from a private gym to a spare bedroom with several kitchen-related amenities.

·        Halfway Above Ground

To consider a basement as an additional house story, you must check its depth. That means you have to check how far below it is in the ground and what’s the total height of the basement that’s above ground level.

If a basement is more than halfway above the ground or less than halfway under the ground, house appraisers can regard it as a story. Some house appraisers had regarded basements as a story when they were above the ground completely but unfurnished.

On the other hand, if the basement is fully furnished, but is below ground level (more than halfway), a home appraiser won’t consider it an additional story to the house. So, make sure you learn about the requirements and conditions that qualify a basement as an additional story.

·        Walk-Out Facility

Normally, the basements counted as stories are above the ground for more than half their height. Furthermore, homeowners can consider their basements a story to their house if it’s completely above the ground.

The most common facilities that are above the ground and connect to the house include walk-out basements. Although most of a walk-out basement is below ground, one of its walls faces outwards, exposing the entryway to the outdoors.

What Counts as Stories in a House?

The story is a building level covered by a roof or ceiling over it and has a considerable amount of floor thickness. With that said, terraces without roofs and ground floors don’t count as stories of a house.

You should also keep in mind that the stories of a house are different levels of the building/structure. For instance, when you walk into a structure and notice another level above you with solid roofing/ ceiling covering it, it’s considered a story.

A floor/story is a term that erupted during ancient times for castles and huge residential structures like palaces.

Does Unfinished Basement Count as a Story?

There are certain conditions to counting an unfinished basement as a house’s story. In simple words, if your house has a walk-out, egress, or similar basement that’s over halfway above the ground, it can be termed as a basement.

Whether it’s unfinished or not, if the conditions of being over the ground apply, then the basement is termed as the story. Some house appraisers also regard basements as stories even when they’re unfinished and unlivable but above the ground level.

Does a Finished Basement Count as a Story?

Yes, in some areas, a finished basement can count as a story. For instance, a finished basement that is a living space with all the basic amenities as the living room above can count as a story of the house.

But, you should also know that most of the time, basements don’t count as additional stories of the house until certain conditions apply.

Those certain conditions include the finished basement having facilities such as electric and water supply. Remember, we’re not talking about the ordinary electricity supply such as a single lightbulb or two with a working table.

Here, we’re talking about a completely facilitated basement with electric outlets and proper electric fixtures. Plus, the finished basement must have a sufficient water supply to fulfill the habitual needs and requirements of those residing there.

With water supply such as a full bathroom and kitchen taps along with electric fixtures, a finished basement becomes habitable. Hence, in some states, such a basement may count as an additional story to the house.

Does a Basement Bedroom Count as a Bedroom?

Whether your basement is a bedroom, spare guest room, private gym, or studio, it won’t count as a different story to your house unless certain conditions apply. No, having a basement for a bedroom doesn’t necessarily qualify it as a separate story.

The question is, yes, the basement bedroom is a real bedroom. However, it isn’t usually regarded as similar to the regular bedroom above the ground in the house.

Does the Basement Count in Square Footage?

Depending on the state you live in, the home appraisers are likely to ignore the square footage and living space area of your basement. Even with a furnished basement, many home appraisers ignore the square footage and don’t’ count it in the total sqft area of the house.

On the other hand, home appraisers won’t count the basement’s square footage in the total house sqft area even if the basement is fully furnished but completely below the ground level.


Now, you know the answer to your question of whether or not your basement is a different story from your house. If the conditions such as state housing/residential laws permit, the basement is above ground level, a walk-out, and fully furnished, it may count as a story.

Otherwise, it’s best to let go of counting your basement as a story because basements usually fall below ground level and aren’t livable in most instances.

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