| Surplus Warehouse
Expert Contributor

Get it Right the First Time: A Quick Guide to Measuring My Flooring Needs

The right flooring, properly installed, can completely transform a home and will last for years or decades. However, it is also one of the bigger ticket items for building or redecorating. This holds true even if you're looking at commonly available carpets, laminates, hardwoods, or ceramic tiles. Specialty materials are even pricier.

You want to aim for the 'sweet spot.' This is when you have bought enough material for the flooring with a little extra as insurance against unforeseen problems, but not so much that you're throwing money away. How do you figure out how much flooring to order?


How do I measure my room for new flooringWork out the minimum flooring that you'll need.

To do this, you'll need to calculate the room's square feet (or yards). It's time to create a floor plan.

Step One: Break out your tape measure and carefully measure the room's length and width.

Some tips:

  • Take each measurement at least twice to make sure it's accurate.
  • Don't forget extra features like bay windows that add to the square footage.
  • Note any room elements that you won't put flooring over, for example your fireplace's stone hearth.

Step Two: Sketch the room. It may be easiest to use graph paper, to keep everything clear and to scale.

Step Three: It's time for a little math. Multiply the room's length by its width. If there are extra features, add or subtract them accordingly.

Congratulations! You now know the minimum square feet of flooring that you'll need. In a perfect world, this will cover the floor with no excess.


Buy more than the minimum flooring.

The general rule of thumb is to add an extra 10 to 15 percent for most materials, and an extra 20 percent for carpet. Why? Because it acts as insurance against mistakes.

Think about all the things that could go wrong during installation:

  • Some of the tiles you ordered have arrived broken.
  • The carpeting had to be strategically cut to match the pattern throughout the room.
  • It took extra hardwood to work around an odd corner in the living room.
  • The laminate was incorrectly cut. That piece had to be tossed.

Also, it's a good idea to have a few extra pieces stored. If a section needs to be replaced in the future, you have a perfect match on hand. You'll be able to create a seamless repair or replacement.


discount flooring near meBuy the flooring all at once.

It may seem tempting to buy the minimum of flooring and go back to the store for extra if need be. However, there are a number of risks to this approach:

  • The materials you want may be out of stock. That could delay your project by a week or more as you wait for delivery.
  • The flooring stores may no longer carry that brand.
  • Your store may not be willing or able to special order a small amount of materials. You could end up paying for significantly more flooring than you needed.
  • Different dye lots can have a big impact on the carpet's appearance. This also holds true for other materials; for example, there may be slight variances in how the laminate was formulated. These differences can become glaring eyesores when compared to the rest of your floor.
  • In the worst-case scenario, the flooring may no longer be in production.


Shakti S. has been a freelance writer since 2012 and has a strong background in English with experience in copywriting, editing, and translations. She has taken on DIY projects and worked with professional designers and home repair agencies, and continues to learn more about home and yard decoration, maintenance, and repair.