General Flooring Knowledge, Hardwood Flooring, Installation, Laminate Flooring, Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Measuring and Calculating Square Footage Requirements

When the time comes to replace your current floor covering with a new flooring, you might be eager to go talk to someone right away. However, you can get started on your flooring project by calculating the square footage of the area you are planning to install. This will give you an accurate idea of how much your project will cost once you find the right floor. It will also allow the flooring retailer to check on inventory availability to ensure there is enough quantity.


First decide which rooms/areas you are going to install the flooring (this includes any closets, pantry, doorways, etc.). Once you know the areas you want flooring in, it is time to begin measuring. To get the square footage of a room all you have to do is multiply the width by the length. For example, if the room has a width of 14 feet and length of 18 feet you multiply those numbers together (14 x 18 = 252 sqft). Be sure to include the space between doorways and always square off angled areas you may encounter. Once you have all of your rooms measured, add each room together to get your total square footage for the entire project.

*Remember, it is better to have a little extra flooring left over after installation than it is to run short of material. This can lead to delays of your project timeline. Keeping an extra box around for future repairs might be a lifesaver.

Wastage Factor

When you have the total be sure to add 5%-10% to the total square footage. This recommended buffer is for cutting waste, milling defect or certain natural characteristics.

*For your standard hardwood installation 5-10% should cover the allowance. Special layouts such as diagonal install or herringbone patterns may require additional material.

So, in the example above, let’s add a 5% wastage amount, making the new total 264.6 sq ft. Now, let’s say you pick a product that is sold in boxes of 20 sq ft, you would have to purchase 14 boxes, for a total of 280 sq ft.

You might be tempted to decrease your purchase by 1 box – after all, you only need 252 sq ft to cover the area, right? This, however, will only leave you with 8 sq ft for cutting and wastage. It is almost a certainty that you will run short. Another thing to consider is this – the more doors, closets and hallways that you have to contend with, the more cutting and waste material you will generate.


Let’s compare 2 possible scenarios. In the first, the area is a wide open basement needing 800 sq ft of material, and the flooring is sold in boxes of 24 sq ft. If we add 5% to the 800, we get a total of 840 sq ft. This works out to exactly 35 boxes of material. In the second, the area is the second floor, with 3 bedrooms, closets and a hallway, totalling 800 sq ft, the same as in the previous scenario. However, an additional 5% will not be enough – you should add closer to the 10% amount. In this case, you would order 37 boxes (at 24 sq ft per box), giving yourself 888 sq ft.

Now that you have your final square footage, you have completed the measuring portion of your flooring project. Now, visit and select that brand new flooring you have been dreaming about!

One thought on “Measuring and Calculating Square Footage Requirements

  1. stephen says:

    I has a flooring salesman in Vancouver for over 20 years. Everything he is saying here is exactly how I explained to my customers how to measure a room. I like the way Andrew clearly and simply shows how this is done.

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