# How To Measure Flooring

## Learn how to accurately calculate how much flooring you need for your project.

New flooring can change the look and function of a space, and even increase the value of your home. High-quality flooring can be expensive, so whether you hire a contractor to install your flooring, or do it yourself, it’s important to purchase the right amount. Not buying enough flooring can cause project delays, and buying too much flooring can be a waste of money.

While laminate flooring, floor tiles, hardwood flooring, and vinyl plank flooring all have different installation methods, the formula for how to measure for flooring remains the same. We’ve put together this simple guide to help you calculate how much flooring you need.

## Step by Step Instructions

### Tools/Materials

- Tape measure
- Paper
- Pen
- Calculator

### Step 1: Get a Rough Estimate

Not all rooms are perfectly square or rectangular, so it’s best to start with the largest measurements and work backwards — subtracting from the total any area that does not require flooring. To get a rough estimate as your starting point, you will calculate the gross square footage of a room. Begin with the longest measurement from wall to wall, in both directions. You will subtract for permanent objects and irregularities in the shape of the room in Step 2.

Multiply Length X Width to get the gross area:

- Make a list of all the rooms that you will be buying the same flooring for, and calculate each one individually
- Measure the longest width from one wall to another, then round up to the nearest foot
- Measure the longest length between the other two walls, then round up to the nearest foot
- Multiply the two numbers to get the rough estimate
- Example: Width 20 ft; Length 10 ft; 20 x 10 = 200 sq ft

### Step 2: Subtract the Area of Permanent Objects

To get an accurate estimate for the amount of flooring you will need, you should subtract the floor space of permanent objects where flooring will not be installed — for example, kitchen islands, closet bump-outs, or staircases.

- Find the square footage of the object (width x length)
- Take the total area of unusable floor place and subtract that from the rough estimate you calculated in Step 1
- Example: (Gross Area of the Room) 200 sq. ft.
*minus*(Area of the Kitchen Island) 20 sq. ft. = 180 sq. ft.

### Step 3: Add the Measurements for All Rooms in the Project

Complete Step 1 and Step 2 for each room you will be installing the same type of flooring in, then add the total areas of the rooms.

- Example: (Room 1) 180 sq ft + (Room 2) 110 sq ft + (Room 3) 110 sq ft = 400 sq ft total flooring needed.

### Step 4: Factor in Waste for Your Flooring Project

Virtually every flooring project requires cuts so that the flooring can fit exactly within the space. The general rule of thumb is to add ten percent to the total amount needed to account for waste. This buffer takes into consideration small pieces left over after making cuts, measurement or cutting errors, and pieces that get damaged during the project.

- Example: 400 sq ft x .10 = 40 + 400 = 440 sq ft needed