How to measure your room

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HOW TO TAKE MEASUREMENTS

How to determine the size of your floor?

For measuring purposes, interior spaces can be broken down into two categories: rectangular or circular/triangular. The formulas for measuring total area are more complex for triangles and circles than for rectangles. All formulas are the same whether you measure in feet and inches (imperial system) or in metres and centimetres (metric system).

For rectangular rooms

Simply measure the length and width of the room, then multiply the two numbers to calculate the total area.

For circular spaces

Break down the space into half-circles and determine the central point of each half-circle. The formula for calculating the area of a half-circle is based on the length of its radius (the distance from the central point to the outside edge of the circle). Measure the radius, then use the following formula to calculate the area of the circle: (3.14 x radius x radius)/2.

For triangular spaces

Measure the length and width, multiply those numbers together, then divide by 2 to calculate the area.

If you’re having trouble visualizing the shape of your space, or if your space is composed of differently sized rectangles, triangles and circular areas that need to be calculated separately, it might help to lay some brightly coloured masking tape around the outside edges of each shape. Just remember to include the width of the tape when you take your measurements! Be sure to exclude any objects that break up the flooring space, such as a kitchen island or protruding fireplace hearth.

Add a waste factor

Now that you have calculated the total area, you need to add a little bit extra to your calculations, which is referred to as the waste factor. When it comes to installation, having too much flooring is way better than not having enough. You always need a little bit extra to fit corners and angles.

The chart below can be helpful when it comes to estimate a waste factor.

ProductRecommended waste factor
Solid Wood12%
Engineered hardwood12%
Click vinyl10%
Laminate8%
Carpet tile8%
Ceramic8%
Glue down vinyl8%

Also, depending on the type of flooring you want, you may need a little extra on hand to perfectly match the colour and texture of individual planks or tiles to the surrounding material. While laminate flooring is usually highly uniform because it is an entirely man-made material, more natural flooring types such as hardwood have natural variability in colour and grain. Also, ceramic tile that contains a pattern will need to be perfectly matched.

You should also keep in mind that although manufacturers do their best to produce a consistent product, there will always be slight variations between batches of any flooring material. Buying all your flooring at once will better ensure it comes from the same batch; if you have to buy extra later, it may contain slight differences in colour or finish.

Finally, it is always handy to have some extra flooring on hand in case you need to make repairs to your floor in the future.

For most types of floors, you generally need to add 10% extra to your total calculation to cover waste, but there are a few exceptions.

  • If your space is triangular, add 15%.
  • For laminate flooring, you may need to add only 8%, since this product is usually extremely uniform in colour.
  • However, if you are the kind of person who won’t settle for anything less than a flawless floor, add 10% to 15% extra to make sure you have lots of planks or tiles to choose from to create a perfect match during installation.
  • If you have selected a tile floor with a pattern, you can increase this margin to 20% extra in order to ensure the pattern matches perfectly.

And that’s it! Now you know exactly how much flooring to buy.