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How To Measure For a New Floor

By | Last update: 03 December 2020

When it's time to get new flooring fitted, excitement can sometimes be mixed with dread. Daunting prospects include moving all the furniture out (and thereby discovering exactly what's been lurking behind the couch for 10 years), but before even that, there is the measuring up to do.

Take no chances; take the dread and doubt out of the scenario with our handy guide to help you calculate for the right amount of flooring. This article is a sister article to our other feature discussing how to calculate square footage.

A tape measure on a floor

Stage 1 - measure the room

The very first thing you need to do, whether you've chosen floorboards or tiles, is to calculate the area of your room.

Keep in mind while you do this that you need to consider ALL floorspace - so remember to open cupboard doors before you start, and factor-in any other nooks and crevices.

To work out the square footage, just multiply the width of the room by the length. The number you end up with is the area of the floor in square feet.

E.g. 10 X 14 = 140ft2

Use our square footage calculator for peace of mind in stage one!

Of course, if your room is an irregular shape, or you want to purchase the same flooring to go in several different rooms, you can sketch out a floor-plan and divide it into more regular shapes. Then, just calculate the square footage of each component and add them together to get the total.

Stages 2 and 3 (for stone and ceramic floor tiles)

Measuring floor tiles

Stage 2

In stage one, you worked out the square footage of your space. In stage two, you need to work out how many tiles it will take to fill that space. Obviously, this is dependant on the size of tiles you've chosen.

Just use our helpful chart below to find the number you need to divide by. Then, just divide the square feet area of the room by the number from the chart.

Your tile size / The number to divide by

  • 4" x 4" / 0.1089
  • 6" x 6" / 0.25
  • 9" x 9" / 0.5625
  • 12" x 12" / 1
  • 18" x 18" / 2.25

E.g. A 140ft2 room is going to be fitted out with 9" terracotta floor tiles, so you divide 140 by the number from the chart, which for 9" tiles is 0.5625.

140 ÷ 0.5625 = 248.9 tiles

Stage 3

The final stage is just to buy a few more boxes than you think you need; you will definitely use more than the number you calculated in the second stage. Tiles are likely to get broken during the fitting process, and it's always a good idea to keep a spare pack for years in the future in case any get damaged. Stone tiles can vary due to their natural colouring, and manufacturers can vary or discontinue lines, so do buy extra in the first instance, rather than hoping for a close enough match later down the line.

To work out how many extra to get, multiply the number of tiles by 1.05 for a 5% increase, or by 1.1 for a 10% increase.

E.g. 248.9 x 1.1 = 274 tiles (always round up the decimal point to give a more generous margin)

Stage 2 (hardwood and laminate floorboards)

Two men measuring laminate floor

When purchasing your floorboards, buy 5-10% more than the total calculated in stage one. The way boards are cut to fit means there will be plenty of waste, and you might even discard some floorboards if they have irregular patches of colour.

Neglecting to buy extra would be sure to leave you with a deficit, so play it safe with a margin of 5-10% (based on the shape of your room and the type of boards. Laminate floorboards in a square room are likely to lose less in offcuts and waste than natural hardwood in an irregular shaped room).

Simply multiply the room's square feet area (calculated in stage one) by 1.05 to get a 5% increase, or by 1.1 to get a 10% increase. If you want some help with this, give our percentage calculator a try.

E.g. 140ft2 x 1.1 = 154ft2

To calculate your flooring cost, simply multiply your total square feet figure by your quoted price per square foot.

So there you have it! Be sure to measure carefully and buy a bit of surplus, and you'll be walking on air (and a nice new floor).

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