How to Measure Square Footage for Carpet
Accurately calculate how much carpeting you will need
By Vance Holloman
Measuring square footage for carpet is an easy task and one you should do yourself before ordering the first stitch of carpet. However, you not only need to know the dimensions of the room, but the shape as well. Because carpet comes on rolls of certain widths and lengths, knowing the square footage is not enough. Sometimes ordering a wider roll will allow the leftover to be used in a hallway without having to order a second, smaller roll. Other times, a long, narrow roll may work by cutting it in half and installing it in two pieces in a wide room to avoid having to purchase a wider roll that will have more carpet waste.
- What You Need to Know
- When drawing up a sketch of the room, use graph paper so that you can draft the room to scale.
- Make sure that you have a measuring tape that is long enough to span the length and width of your room.
- Carpet is often sold by square yardage, rather than square footage. Therefore, it's important to do the math (explained below) to ensure that you are accurately ordering materials.
Make a sketch of the room or rooms to be measured for carpet on a piece of paper.
Measure the width of the room from wall to wall and record it on the sketch.
Determine the length of the room, again measuring from wall to wall and note it on the sketch.
Measure the length and width of any closets that open to the room but are outside its footprint, and record them on the sketch.
Multiply the length of the room times the width to determine the square footage. If there is a closet outside the footprint, multiply its length by width and add this amount to the square footage of the room.
Repeat the process for each room and hallway to be carpeted and add up the square footage from each area to determine the total amount of carpeting needed.
Divide the square footage by 27 to determine the number of square yards needed, as carpet is typically sold by the square yard (simply referred to as a yard of carpet).
Take the sketch with you to order the carpet so the salesperson can determine whether one piece of carpet can be used or if the room will require multiple pieces. Having the sketch lets them visually see the layout of the room and decide which size of carpet roll to use to minimize waste.
About the Author
Vance Holloman is a residential contractor; his writing is based on two decades in the construction industry.
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