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Expert Contributor

Buying flooring is not just about knowing the square footage, although that is the place to start.

There are other considerations that go into the process when determining how much flooring you need for your project. A good example of this is carpeting versus hardwood flooring. With hardwood, you consider things like the width of the last row. With carpeting, your concern is having a seam in the middle of the room. Those little things make a big difference when shopping for flooring. 

How do I measure my room for flooringMeasuring My Flooring Needs

The amount of flooring you need will change for the same room depending on what type of flooring you are installing. Here are a few rules to follow:

Carpet: You need to know how wide the room is and how long the room is, not the square footage specifically. Your goal is to avoid seams. To meet that goal, you multiply the width of the carpet you are considering by the room's length and then compare that to the room's square footage. Many rolls of carpet are 12’ wide, though 15’-wide rolls are also common. There are also a few brands that have very odd widths, such as 13' 6". If your room is 10’ wide, then buy the 12’-wide roll. Multiply the room's length by 12 to get the total square footage of carpet to buy. Width of Carpet x Length of Room

Note: If the room has a closet, then factor that into the figure as a separate calculation. Width of Carpet x Length of Closet

Hardwood: When you buy hardwood flooring, you will need to add an additional 10 percent to the total square footage needed. This extra accounts for waste from board cuts and for making sure that joints are not side by side. Hardwood flooring is sold by the box and most boxes hold 20 square feet. This changes by brand so make sure you check the box twice for its total square footage. For a room that is 100 square feet, add on 10 percent, which takes that total to 110 square feet. If the hardwood flooring you choose comes 20 square feet per box, then you will need six boxes. For special floor patterns that require extra cutting, add an additional 15 percent to the square footage to accommodate the extra waste. Length x Width = Square Feet

Laminate Flooring: The rule of thumb for laminate flooring is the same as those for hardwood. Take the total square feet of the room; add 10-15 percent for board cuts. Like hardwood, laminate flooring is usually sold in boxes of 20 square feet, but double check the box. 

Tile: The rule of thumb for tile flooring follows the same rules for hardwood flooring. It is the total square feet plus 10 percent extra, or 15 percent extra for ornate patterns that require extra cutting. 

For odd-size rooms such as those with feet plus inches, convert to square inches and then divide the total square inches by 144 to take the square inches back to square feet. This will give you an accurate square footage. To that number, add 10 percent for standard tile patterns, or 15 percent for complex patterns with lots of cutting. Calculator


As you go through this process, keep in mind that flooring stores and brands are not standardized, so the amount of product per package may differ. Also, lots turnover frequently and because they are made at different times, the color may not be true. To avoid mismatched flooring, buy all of your flooring products at the same time.


David S. loves to tell stories. He came from a fishing family so storytelling is likely genetic. His writing style translates easily to both blog and article formats. He is a patient writer who takes the time to understand your project. David writes a great deal about home living. His favorite place in the world is his home. He has a vast knowledge of antiques, art, and deep love of cooking. He likes to entertain and is the master of small parties and intimate dinners. They say home is where the heart is and they happen to be correct.