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How-To Guide for Calculating Square Footage

Once you have the dimensions of your room recorded, use the calculator below to find the square footage of your room. Finding the measurements of your room will inform you of how much material you will need to complete the project.

Square Footage Calculator

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Waste Calculator

For normal Installations, add 10% for waste. For diagonal Installations, add 15%.
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Cleat/Nail Calculator

Nailing down the floor? Calculate how many nails/cleats you'll need here.

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Lineal/Square Footage Calculator

Enter linear feet and the material width to calculate the total square footage of material. If you know how many square feet of material, enter that and the material width to convert to linear feet

Convert Lineal to Square Footage:

(Lineal feet x Width in inches) / 12 = Square Ft

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Convert Square to Lineal Footage:

(Square feet x 12) / width in inches = Lineal Ft

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How to Measure a Room and Calculate Square Feet

After countless hours of going back and forth between the Ambient samples you ordered and maybe sending out too many “which one do you like better?” texts to friends and family, you’ve FINALLY made your decision. You’ve found the perfect floor and before you decide to change your mind for the tenth time, there’s only one thing left to do: determining how much square footage you need to order. And to figure that out it may or may not involve your least favorite school subject. Want to take any guesses? That’s right, it’s math! I can tell you can hardly contain your excitement, so let’s jump right into figuring out how much flooring you’ll need to purchase.

Step 1: Measuring the Room

Whether you’re working with an installer or DIYing this project, it’s always a good idea to double-check room measurements. You don’t want to be put in a situation where you’re installing flooring and end up falling short by a few planks. Let’s start off simple by figuring out how to measure the space you’re working with. There are only a few simple steps you need to follow:

  1. Clear any objects that would prohibit you fromgetting anaccurate measurement of the length and width of the space.
  2. Grab your handy-dandy tape measure, or if you’re fancy, your digital laser tape measurer, and locate the longest side of the space, this will be the length of the space.
  3. Start from one end and extend the tape measure to the other end of the room. This might require the help of another personor you can use tape to secure one end of the tape measure to the wall. Of course, if you have a laser measurer you won’t have to worry about this.
  4. Record the measurement in feet with a pen and paper (or on your phone because who writes things down anymore?).
  5. Repeat the steps above for the width of the space.

How to Measure Irregular Shaped Rooms

Now if the area you’re measuring is not a perfect square or rectangle, you can divide it into sections to make it more easily measurable, like in the floor plan to the right. Just measure and record each section individually. This same method applies if you’re doing multiple rooms.

Area 1 Length x Area 1 Width = Square Footage of Area 1
Area 2 Length x Area 2 Width = Square Footage of Area 2
Square Footage of Area 1 + Square Footage of Area 2 = Total Square Footage of the Irregular Room

compound-room

Step 2: Calculating Square Footage

Converting Inches to Feet

To calculate square footage, all of your measurements need to be in feet. If you recorded the length and width in inches, you can easily convert them to feet. Just remember that one-foot equals 12 inches. So, for example, if the length of your room is 114 inches, you can divide that number by 12 to get 9.5 feet.

Once you’ve got your length and width in feet, it’s time to calculate the square footage. All you need to do is grab a calculator and multiply the length by the width just like in the formula below (pro-tip: the variables in the formula are interchangeable, so if you want to get a little wild and live life on the edge you can multiply the width by the length, it’s crazy stuff, I know).

Formula:
length (in feet) x width (in feet) = square feet
Example:
45.6 feet x 37.5 feet = 1,710 square feet

If you have an irregular shaped room that you separated into sections, you would just calculate the square footage for each separate section using the formula. Then, you would add the total of each section to get your final total for the entire room. Using the room diagram above, an example of this is below:

Section 1: 40.41' x 22.33' = 902.36 sq ft
Section 2: 20.25' x 10.5' = 212.63 sq ft
Section 3: 40.41' x 22.33' = 902.36 sq ft
}
= 2017.35 total square feet

Don’t you just feel so accomplished after finding that number? Math isn’t so bad after all, I guess (especially when you can just press some buttons on a calculator to get the answer).

Step 3: Accounting for Waste

There’s only more step you need to follow that is crucial to every flooring project: determining how much extra you’ll need for cutting and waste. In a perfect world, you or your installer would make zero mistakes when it comes to installing floor, but realistically speaking, it could happen and most likely will happen. That’s why it’s important to include 10% extra into the final amount of square footage. I promise, it’s easier than it sounds too.

All you have to do is take the final number from the previous step and multiply it by .10. This will give you the amount you need to add on to the area square footage which will result in your final total of square footage to order for your project. For this part, we can use the total square footage we got from adding up all three sections in the example above.

  1. Take the total square footage of your space and multiply it by .10

    Formula:
    Total square footage x .10 = amount you need to add
    Example:
    2017.35 square feet x .10 = 201.7 square feet
  2. Take the number you get from the step above and add it to the total square footage of the space you’re working with. This will give you the final total of flooring to purchase.

    Formula:
    10% extra + square footage of space = Total to purchase
    Example:
    201.7 square feet + 2017.35 feet = 2,219.05 square feet

So, in this example, you would need to order 2,219.05 sq ft of flooring, which includes the square footage of the space and enough to comfortably cover cutting and waste.

graduation icon
Congrats! You did it!

You’ve pretty much earned a PhD in measuring and calculating room square footage! Now go on with your smart self and get moving on this project. Your brand new floor awaits you!

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Square Footage Calculations FAQs

Finding the measurements of your room will inform you of how much material you will need to complete the project

length
width
  • Measure the length of the area and the width of the area (in feet).
  • Then multiply those two numbers together and you will have the total square footage or area of the rectangle.
Area = length x width
base
height
  • Measure the base and height of the triangle (from the base to the highest point of the triangle) in feet.
  • Multiply these two numbers.
  • Then divide the total by two and you will have the triangle’s square footage.
Area = ½ (base x height)
base 1
height
base 2
  • Measure the length of the parallel sides and add them together.
  • Then multiply this number by the height of the area.
  • Then multiply by ½ or divide by two to find the square footage of the trapezoid.
Area = ½ (base 1 + base 2) x height
radius
  • Find the middle point of the circle and measure that point to the edge of the circle. This number is the radius.
  • Then multiply the radius by itself (radius²) and then multiply that number by 3.14 (otherwise known as π).
  • The resulting number is the square footage of your circle area.
Area = π x radius²

The square footage of a room 20 feet wide and 20 feet long is 400 square feet. The square footage is found by multiplying the width (20 ft) by the length (20 ft).

L x W = Sq. Ft

20 ft x 20 ft = 400 sq. ft

The square footage of a room 12 feet wide and 16 feet long is 192 square feet. Find the square footage by multiplying the width (12 ft) by the length (16 ft).

L x W = Sq. Ft

12 ft x 16 ft = 192 sq. ft

To calculate the square footage of a space based on square inches, divide the square inches value by 144. Square Inches of a Room / 144 = Square Footage of the Room.

Example:

Room = 2,592 In2

2,592 In2 / 144 = 18 Ft2

Yes, you definitely need to order extra square footage. Generally speaking, ordering 10% extra for cutting and waste will be the perfect amount for most projects. If you have one or two large rooms that are square, and you are careful about making cuts, you can probably get away with 7%. If you are installing your floors in a diagonal pattern, we recommend ordering 15% extra for cutting and waste.

The average house has about 2,400 square feet. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the average square footage in 2017 was 2,426 square feet. In contrast, the average square footage was 1,660 in 1973. The number has steadily increased over the decades, reflecting Americans’ desire for more rooms and larger homes.

Whether it’s finished or not, a home’s gross living area does not include the garage. According to ANSI, “garages and unfinished areas cannot be included in the calculation of finished square footage.” Most garages can’t count towards the square footage of a home because they are not typically on the same level as the home; they are usually lower.

Generally speaking, unfinished areas of the home are not to be added to its total square footage. To be included, the area must be finished. You can list unfinished areas — like basements, for example — as unfinished bonus spaces, as long as you leave them out of the overall finished square footage calculation.

The term "usable square footage" is usually used in a commercial real estate setting to describe the amount of square footage a tenant can actually use, excluding common areas like stairwells, hallways, and lobbies.

In a residential real estate context, your usable square footage is the surface area of your personal space in the household, versus the common areas like hallways, storage closets, and shared spaces such as kitchens and living rooms.

To measure a room with closets, simply measure each closet separately by multiplying length by width. For example, if your closet measures 3 feet by 8 feet, your closet is 24 square feet in total. After measuring each closet, add the total square footage in each closet, plus the square footage of the room where the closets are.

So, it would go as follows:

Room: Length x Width = A

Closet 1: Length x Width = B

Closet 2: Length x Width = C

Add A, B, and C together and you will have the total square footage of the room.

When calculating square footage, real estate agents typically use a laser distance measurer, which is an electronic tool that is easier and less cumbersome to use than a measuring tape. To use the laser distance measurer, place the device on one wall and aim it at the wall directly across from it. The device will then display the square footage on the screen.

If you don’t have a laser distance measurer, you can also calculate square footage with the following:

  1. A tape measure
  2. Calculator
  3. Notepad
  4. Pen/pencil
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