When planning for new floor installation, one of the very first steps you should take as a homeowner is to accurately calculate the square footage of the rooms in question. Your budget will thank you in advance! By having the total square footage handy, you can more quickly determine if the stylish flooring that has caught your eye is a realistic option for your home, or will put you over-budget. Of course, there is more to determining your flooring cost than simply measuring the length and width of a room. And don’t be afraid if you don’t consider yourself a ‘math person’, here are some tips on how to calculate flooring sq footage like a pro and accurately assess your project:
- Start by gathering measurements of the rooms that you're going to install new flooring in. As you probably anticipated, you will be measuring the length and width of the room, and rounding each measurement up to the nearest inch. For example: If you measured the length of the room using a tape measuring as 12 feet, 6 inches and 9/16th of an inch, you would round up the t otal measurement to 12 feet and 7 inches.
- Convert the measurements that you took in feet and inches, to measurements that are strictly in terms of feet. To get the total feet, divide the inches in your measurement by 12 and add that figure to your feet measure. These totals will be the width and length measurements to use. For example: If the room is 12 feet and 7 inches in length, you would divide the 7 inches by 12 which equals .583. Add this figure to the 12 feet, and your final length is 12.583 ft.
- Now, multiply the length of the room by the width of the room to determine the square footage, which of course is expressed in square feet. For example: If the room is 12.583 ft. in length and 9.5 ft. in width, you would multiply the two figures (12.583 x 9.5) to determine the square footage, which equals 119.54 sq ft.
- If the room or area you are measuring for is not a perfect square or rectangle, such as an L-shape, you can split it up and treat them as two separate square or rectangular areas. Now calculate the area of each section separately and add them together for your total.
- You can easily convert a square foot measurement to square yards, and just as easily convert back if needed. Simply divide the total square footage by 9 to determine square yardage. Similarly, multiply a square yard measurement by 9 to determine square footage. For example: If the square footage of a room is 119.54 sq ft., you would divide this figure by 3 (119.54 ÷ 9) to determine the square yardage, which equals 13.28 sq yd.
Once you have determined your actual square footage, it’s wise to allow for at least a 5%-10% overage in flooring material to cover any possible installing mishaps or defects noticed during installation. This overage could also be higher depending on the size and shape of the area you're working with, such as rooms with any tricky inlets or areas with odd dimensions. Laminate flooring, or another type of flooring that can be cut, is an excellent choice to consider if you will need extra material to customize to fit odd dimensions. For carpet installation, it’s best to plan for a 20% overage in flooring material. Add the appropriate overage figure to your square footage and now you are ready to estimate flooring cost.
For example: If your total square footage is 119.54 sq ft., you can determine that 10% overage is close to 12 sq ft. (120 sq ft. x .10 = 12 sq ft.). Add the overage figure of 12 sq ft. to 119.54 sq ft. to arrive at a total of 131.54 sq ft., which easily rounds up to 132 sq ft. needed for your project.
What’s your new floor going to be: Gorgeous hardwood? Timeless stone? Versatile vinyl? Once you’ve selected your favorite flooring product, you can use a flooring calculator tool such as the one featured on this page to estimate your total flooring material cost for that specific product. We suggest picking your top 5-10 favorite flooring products in advance, and making a chart that compares the total flooring material cost for each, side by side, as you calculate each of your favorite styles.
Now that you have your total flooring material, take a moment to add in any other costs, or factors that must be considered, to your total project budget. These can include whether you will need professional installation, new underlayment or padding, or purchasing a warranty. In addition to flooring material costs, our Associated Costs guide can also help you to think of these other factors with your project.
Sometimes it can help to get additional opinions if you feel overwhelmed or experience doubts in your calculations. To receive a total project cost estimate, you can always submit a Free Estimate Request Form to your local Carpet One Floor & Home store or work directly with one of our helpful flooring experts in-store.