Tips on Taking Floor Measurements During Floor Installation

Are you refurbishing the floor of your house? If that is the case, then you need to know how to take floor measurements. The measurements will enable you to come up with budget estimations of the total cost of your flooring project. And if you need backup funds from a financial institution, the estimates will also give you a rough idea of how much money you need to borrow.

Why Do You Need Accurate Floor Measurements?

To avoid any inconvenience of having to reorder flooring materials, it is essential to order a few feet more. If enough materials are not ordered, first, you will have to plan your budget afresh. Secondly, your project may have to stall as you order more flooring materials or get more financing. You will also inconvenience the flooring contractor. Thirdly, you may incur additional shipping or transport charges for the new materials. Flooring material acclimation can also prolong the waiting period. 

On the other hand, you don’t want to buy excess flooring materials because what will you do with them? After all, the excess materials may cost you to ship them back even if the manufacturer agrees to buyback.

All in all, it is essential to order enough materials and a little surplus. This starts with knowing the right measurements for the room or space getting a new floor.

Floor Measuring Tools and Other Resources You May Require

  • Laser distance measure or a tape measure
  • A notebook to write the measurements ( a piece of paper can get misplaced easily). You can save the measurements on your phone for easy access.
  • If you use a tape measure, you may need a helping buddy to hold the other side of the tape measure.
  • Calculator or your mobile phone’s calculator

How to Take Floor Measurements for a Rectangular or Square Room

Calculating the square footage of a rectangular or square room, hallway or stairs is a simple exercise. Luckily, only a few rooms are not square or rectangular.

For square and rectangle spaces, you need to get the length and width of the room using a tape measure or laser distance measure. For a square space, you should also get both sides’ measurements to ascertain that it is square.

  1. Start by putting the tape measure on one end of the wall.
  2. Extend it to the other end of the wall and note down the measurements.
  3. Then, take floor measurements of the adjacent wall.  Record it too.
  4. Record the length on the higher figure and width on the lower figure. Also, indicate the room where you took the measurements, whether it is your kitchen, bathroom, or master bedroom.
  5. After that, add 2-3 inches to each side to make up for walls that are not straight. If it is a square room, the measurements will be the same.
  6. To get the square footage of each space, multiply the two sides.

Floor Measurements for Non-rectangular and Non-square Rooms

For non-square or non-rectangular rooms, you may have to go the extra mile to get the square footage. To get the floor measurements, you will need a divider to divide the room into different portions. Dividing the room will make the work easy.

  1. First, focus on getting measurements for perfect squares or rectangles in the room.
  2. Then, go ahead and subdivide the remaining part of the room into full squares, rectangles, and triangles and use mathematical formulas to calculate the total area of those portions.
  3. Lastly, add up all the different portions to get the total area square footage of the space.

You should get the diameter for circular rooms and use mathematical formulas to calculate the room area.

Do the same for all the rooms and spaces in your residential or commercial property.

Sum Up Rooms Requiring the Same Flooring Material

You should add the totals to get the total square footage for the entire house if you want to use one flooring material in all the rooms. However, if some rooms require a unique flooring material, you should add up the total materials by flooring type.

For example, if you install tiles on bathroom and kitchen floors, you should sum up the square footage of the two rooms to determine how many tiles you should order. Then, find out how much carpeting material to order by doing the totals for all the rooms that require carpets. Going on, do the same for hardwood floor spaces and rooms. Now you can calculate how many boxes of each flooring type to order.

Calculate How Many Boxes of Tiles to Order

After calculating the square footage of all the rooms and determining how much materials are needed per floor type, now calculate how many boxes of materials you need. For example, if you need tiles to cover an area of 315 square ft. This is how to determine the number of boxes of tiles to order. On each box of tiles, it is indicated how much floor area it can cover.

How to Measure Square Footage for Flooring

If one box of tiles covers 25 sq ft, you will use this figure to get the total number of boxes required. In this regard:

315 sq ft divide by 25 sq.ft = 12.6 boxes (13 boxes)

How to Measure Flooring Materials Required in Yards

If your flooring store or online shop requires the measurements in yards, divide the square feet by 9.

For this case, 315 sq ft divide by 9 =35 yards

25 sq. ft divide 9 should give you the area each box can cover in yards = 2.78 yards for each box of tiles. Now divide 35 yards by 2.78 yards = 12.6 boxes (13 boxes)

315 sq. ft ( 35 yards) divide by 25 sq ft (2.78 yards) = 12.6 boxes

Factor in Wastage and Defects of Flooring Materials

If you factor in wastage and defects of 15%, then the total boxes required are 14.50, equal to 15 boxes. Wastage and defects are explained below.

How to Measure Floor Area for Tiles or Similar Flooring

It is easy to determine how much you will spend for the entire flooring project from your estimations above. Find out the approximate costs for each box of flooring material. Take the total boxes required; in this case, it is 15 boxes and multiply by the approximate cost of each box of flooring materials.

How to Measure Floor Area For Carpets

Wall-to-wall carpets come in specific widths. When buying carpets, you only need to figure out the length you need. If your room is 12 feet by 12 feet and the carpet has a width of 12 feet, you need to get a carpet that is 12 feet long. On the other hand, if the room is 10 feet by 10 feet, you will buy 12 feet by 10 feet long carpet, but trim one side of the carpet to 10 feet.

Why You  Need Extra Flooring Materials

Flooring installations come with many challenges that result in wastages compared to other installations in a building. Let us explain this, building and construction projects like doors and windows are small and come in standard sizes. Your window and door sizes are the same as your neighbor’s, but the floor sizes may differ unless you live in apartments. Most houses have different room sizes, and the rooms are big compared to a plank of flooring material. As such, there are no standard-sized flooring materials to fit room measurements. But doors are standardized and really easy to order.

Consequently, you need extra flooring materials to cover for wastage and if you get defective materials. Moreover, your estimations may have half boxes, and manufacturers don’t sell half boxes. By ordering a full box, you will have excess materials. Same to carpets, some rooms are smaller than carpet widths.

Therefore, when ordering laminate, vinyl, or tiles, purchase between 5 to 15 % extra materials. For hardwood floors, order about 20% extra materials. As discussed below on the topic of wastage and defects.

Flooring Wastage

Most flooring installations will require cutting the materials to fill gaps. When flooring the end of a room, there are gaps that you can’t fill with a regular-sized plank. As such, regular-sized planks have to be cut to fit the small gaps. Depending on its size, the remaining plank may or may not be used to fill other gaps on the floor.

Usually, large-sized planks have the highest wastage in comparison to small planks. Rooms like toilets and bathroom fixtures have many distractions. The toilet and bathroom areas need space and may have more wastage than other rooms.  For living rooms, you may need to remove materials for the fireplace. For bedrooms and kitchens, you may need to factor in cabinet spaces.

Also, regular-shaped rooms have less wastage than other rooms that have different shapes. With this in mind, the typical flooring wastage is between 5% and 15%.

Defective Materials

When buying flooring materials, there may be some defective materials that may not be usable. This is especially typical for hardwood floors and tiles, with about  5% of the total materials defective. For example, you may receive some ceramic or porcelain tiles that are broken.


When ordering, plan to order a surplus. Find out if the store or manufacturer has a return policy for full boxes so that you can return any unopened boxes. Also, ensure that you get qualified and experienced installing contractors to minimize wastage.