A story, when used to describe how tall a building is, is a common phrase. It lets us know how many floors a building has, but it doesn’t always give us a good idea of how tall a building or home is.
Learning how tall a story is can help you better visualize how tall a building is.
How tall is a story?
The height of a story in a building can vary greatly, and even stories in houses can be slightly different heights. A story can be anywhere from 9 to 25 feet tall, depending on what floor it’s on, what it’s used for, and other features the building or home has.
In general, however, a story in a home is usually between 9 and 14 feet tall, and a story in a more commercial building is generally around 10 feet tall, although some can be as tall as 25 feet.
Why do story heights vary?
One of the biggest factors in story height is simply how tall someone wants their ceilings to be. This is particularly true when it comes to story height in a home.
Having a low ceiling can make a home feel cramped, so high ceilings of 9 or 10 feet, or even faulted ceilings of 14 or more feet, are often common.
However, if a home is two or more stories, those stories will generally be a bit shorter, and some building codes in certain areas dictate that a home can only be so tall, which also necessitates shorter stories.
Stories in tall buildings, particularly skyscrapers, tend to be relatively compact, averaging about 10 feet tall.
This is because skyscrapers and other tall city buildings are designed to conserve space, packing in as many rooms for as many uses as possible. However, many office buildings or skyscrapers have a much taller first story.
This is often to make a bold impression, and the first story of a skyscraper might have a vaulted ceiling that’s as tall as 25 feet. Penthouses and floors that are designed for conferences also often have slightly taller ceilings, making the story itself taller overall.
If you’re looking at a home or building from the outside, decorations and the style of roof can also affect how tall a story is, which can affect overall building height.
What objects can you compare a story to?
One of the best ways to visualize the height of a story is to compare it to something more familiar.
For example, most people have seen a giraffe at the zoo or on television. A giraffe can grow to between 15 and 20 feet tall. This means that a very tall giraffe is about the height of two stories, while an average giraffe is about the height of a one-story house with a high or vaulted ceiling or pitched roof.
Some other animals are also about the size of a story. Alligators, for example, aren’t very tall, but they can grow to 10 feet or more in length. This means that an average alligator is about as long as a single story is tall.
You can also use a step ladder to compare story heights. Many step ladders are specifically designed to reach the roof of a single-story home, so simply looking at an extended step ladder can give you a good feel for the height of a single story.
Another common step ladder size is 8 feet, which can lengthen to 12 feet when it’s extended. This height range is perfect for visualizing the average height of one story.
A car is also a great way to visualize a story’s height. Most cars are about 14 feet long, with minivans and trucks coming in a little longer and some sedans running a bit shorter.
Visualizing a sedan can help you imagine what one story looks like, on average. Visualizing a big pickup truck can help you visualize something closer to two stories, as long as those stories are relatively short.