How to Calculate Square Footage For Tile, Carpet, and Flooring

To figure out the square footage of a floor for tile, wood, or carpet, measure the length and width, and perform some basic calculations.
Written by Brady Klopfer
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
Redoing the flooring in your home can be a really gratifying part of
home improvement
. Whether your floors are in poor shape and need to be replaced, or you simply want a fun upgrade, few things can make your home feel new and exciting like redoing the flooring. And whether you’re putting new
wood flooring
, or
in your home, chances are you’ll be really satisfied with your home after new flooring is installed.
However, before you get to replacing the flooring in your home, you’ll need to purchase the flooring, carpet, or tile necessary to do the job. And in order to purchase those materials, you need to know exactly how much you need.
To figure out how much flooring you need for your home, you need to calculate the square footage of the area you intend to replace the flooring in. From there, it’s easy to figure out just about how much of the materials you need.

How to figure out how much flooring a room requires

Step 1: Measure the room that you plan to replace the flooring in. Measuring a room is pretty easy, but it depends on the room. If you have a standard rectangular room, simply take measurements of the width and the length.
Be sure to always double check your measurements, and carefully document the numbers in feet and inches. You don’t need to be perfectly exact; you can always round up just to be safe.
If the room isn’t a standard rectangle, then the math gets a little bit trickier. But don’t worry: it’s still pretty easy. Simply break the room into rectangles, and measure each of those rectangles. For instance, if the room is in the shape of the letter "L," measure the vertical part of the "L," and the horizontal part, and record them separately.
Step 2: Calculate the square footage of the room. Once you’ve recorded the measurements for the room, calculating the square footage is a very easy task.
If you have a basic rectangular room, simply multiply the length by the width, and you have the square footage.
If you have a room that’s a unique shape, calculating the square footage is still pretty simple. Simply multiply the length by the width for each separate rectangle in the room to figure out the square footage for each segment. Then add all the segments together – be sure to add for this step, not multiply – and you’ve got the square footage for the entire room.
If the materials you are buying are measured in square inches or square yardage, simply convert the feet to those metrics before you calculate the size of the room.
Step 3: Add a little extra to your calculations. When you replace the flooring in a room, you always need a little bit more material than the size of the room. There’s always going to be a little bit of waste, because you have to trim some of the wood, carpet, or tile to make sure that it actually fits the room.
In general, add 15% to your calculations for a standard room. If the room is a unique shape, or if you’re planning on running wood or tile diagonally, then add 20%, as there will be a little extra wasted material in these scenarios.
It may sound intricate, but calculating the square footage for a floor is actually quite easy. As long as you follow this process, you’ll end up with the proper square footage for your floor, and the proper amount of materials needed. Whether you’re flooring with wood, carpet, or tile, you’ll be all set to replace the floor in your home, without having to spend extra money on materials you don’t need.
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