How to Measure Your Flooring

One of the most frequently asked questions when people install their own floors is, “how much material do I need to buy?” To avoid problems down the road it’s important to measure the area of your floor correctly.

Following some simple rules and guidelines you can easily ensure you don’t spend any extra money on material you don't need. Also you’ll avoid the problems that buying too little material can cause, it’s time consuming and matching material's color and grain from batch to batch can sometimes be impossible.

Learning how to measure your flooring is a fairly simple process with a few tricks that will help you buy exactly as much material as your project needs. Using the proprietary Build.com square foot calculator, our website will help you calculate your needs, the total cost of materials, and even help you calculate for waste.

Materials You’ll Need

  • Tape Measure
  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Calculator
How to Measure Flooring Image

Step 1 – Measure The Width & Depth of Your Rooms

  • Write down all the rooms you’re planning to cover in new flooring (i.e. living room, bedrooms, kitchen, etc.)
  • Measure the farthest distance between walls first, ROUND UP to the nearest whole foot. Write this measurement down.
  • Measure distance between the other walls next, ROUND UP to the nearest whole foot. Write this number down.
  • Multiply the Width of Your Room by the Depth of Your Room and you’ll have a rough estimate of how much flooring that room requires
  • Write this measurement down
  • Example: Width = 20 ft. Depth = 10 ft.
    Multiplied: 20’ x 10’= 200 SQ FT.

    Step 2 - Subtract the Floor Space of Un-Movable Objects

    Subtract for un-movable elements in your room. Measure, multiply the width and depth, and subtract from the total square footage to account for the footprints of things that don’t need flooring beneath them, like kitchen islands.

    Example: 5' x 4' = 20' subtract this total from the total area: 200' - 20' = 180'

    Step 3 - Add the Total Areas of the Rooms You Plan to Install Flooring In

    Do the measurements for each room and add the totals. You’re almost done, but you must calculate for waste.

    Step 4 - Factor in 10% Waste

    Calculate for 10% waste. Take your total square footage of the total flooring project and multiply by 10%. 180' x 10% = 18' Add this total to the previous total.

    180' + 18' = 198 SQ FT of Total Flooring Material Needed

    Irregular Space? How To Easily Calculate Flooring For Bay Windows or Non-Square Elements In Your Room

    1. Measure the length of the opening to bay windows, kitchen nooks, or most any non-square areas of your room.
    2. Measure the width of the narrowest distance of the element.
    3. Add these 2 measurements together and divide it by 2.
    4. Measure the depth of the element and multiply the depth by the total you just calculated.

    Example: Widest Part of Bay Window = 8 ft. Narrowest Part of Bay Window = 4 ft.
    8’+4’= 12’ divided by 2. 12’/2 = 6’

    Measure Depth= 5 ft. Multiply these two totals to get square footage.

    6’ x 5’ = 30’ SQ FT Additional Flooring Needed For Bay Window

    Add the sum of the square elements of your room to the non-square elements. 180’ + 30’ = 210 ft. (then calculate waste, as before)

    Measuring your floor for new material doesn’t have to be a nerve wracking experience. With Build.com’s selection, low prices, free shipping, flooring calculator, and our trained Customer Service representatives to guide you, we strive to make your experience a pleasant one. Following the direction on this page you’ll order exactly the right amount of material to finish your flooring job.