How to calculate the square footage of a room

What is Square Footage?

Square footage is simply a convenient way to measure the area of any surface. In homes and apartments, square footage is most commonly used to tell you how much floor space you have to work with. You might see an ad for an apartment promoting 700 square feet of usable space, for example. Or maybe you see a home listing with a 50 square foot balcony. Square feet are also used to calculate areas like wall space and counter space.

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How to Calculate Square Footage

Square footage is area expressed in square feet. Likewise, square yardage is area expressed in square yards.  Square meters is also a common measure of area.

Assume you have a rectangular area such as a room and, for example, you want to calculate the square footage area for flooring or carpet.

The way to calculate a rectangular area is by measuring the length and width of your area then multiplying those two numbers together to get the area in feet squared (ft2). If you have on oddly shaped area, such as an L-shape, split it into square or rectanglualar sections and treat them as two separate areas. Calculate the area of each section then add them together for your total. If your measurements are in different units, say feet and inches, you can first convert those values to feet, then multiply them together to get the square footage of the area.

Convert all of your measurements to feet

  • If you measured in feet skip to “Calculate the Area as Square Footage”
  • If you measured in feet & inches, divide inches by 12 and add that to your feet measure to get total feet
  • If you measured in another unit of measure, do the following to convert to feet – inches: divide by 12 and that is your measurement in feet – yards: multiply by 3 and that is your measurement in feet – centimeters: multiply by 0.03281 to convert to feet – meters: multiply by 3.281 to convert to feet

Calculate the Area as Square Footage

  • If you are measuring a square or rectangle area, multiply length times width; Length x Width = Area.
  • For other area shapes, see formulas below to calculate Area (ft2) = Square Footage.

How to calculate the square feet of a house

When preparing to measure the square footage of a home, be it a house, condo, or townhouse, start with a few simple supplies:

  • Paper and pencil
  • Calculator
  • Measuring tape and/or laser measuring tool

If the property is a perfect rectangle, simply measure the length and width and multiply those two numbers together. For example, if your one-story house is 60 feet wide by 40 feet long, then your property is 2,400 square feet (60 x 40 = 2,400).

However, most properties have more complex floor plans. When this is the case, it’s helpful to follow these simple steps to measure square footage.

  1. Draw a rough sketch of your entire space, labeling all of the rooms you need to measure. Include hallways and vestibules as their own “room.”
  2. Measure the length and width, in feet, of each room. Then, multiply the length by the width to calculate that room’s square footage. For example: If a bedroom is 12 feet by 20 feet, it is 240 square feet (12 x 20 = 240). For each room, write the total square footage in the corresponding space on your sketch.
  3. Once each room is measured, add up all the measurements to determine your home’s total square footage.

Note: If you live in a tract home, condo or townhome community, you may be able to get architectural drawings or master builder plans of your floor plan. These may already have your square footage calculated.

Calculate the square footage of an oddly-shaped room

Rooms with complex shapes can be difficult to figure out. Some people try to figure out the square footage with a single calculation. This is where problems begin! The easiest way to calculate the square footage of an odd-shaped room is to divide it into even shapes, like squares or rectangles. You should then measure each of these shapes and multiply their lengths by their widths. Each of these multiplications can then be added together to give you the overall square footage of your room.

Consider waste

When installing a new floor, you should always consider the waste factor. When ordering flooring materials, you should add around 10% to your total square footage. This is because some materials will become damaged due to errors, accidents and additional cuts. There’s nothing more frustrating than running out of materials during installation. Avoid this by adding an additional 10% for waste onto your flooring order.

Consider asking a professional

If you are not confident with your calculation skills, you may want to hire an expert. A construction expert skilled in floor installations should be able to help work out square footage easily. It can also be worthwhile hiring a flooring installation worker if you have an odd-shaped room. If you are uncertain of how to correctly calculate, you may want to contact us. We can help you understand how to work out square footage of a house.

How to calculate how many pieces of bullnose you will need?

If you have ten feet exposed edge that needs bullnose this is equal to 120″.  If you selected a 6″ bullnose or trim piece, you will need to divide 120″ by 6″, which will give you 20 pieces of bullnose needed.  Using 8″ decorative liner for the same 120″, you divide 120″ by 8″ which would be 15 pieces of liner needed.

How much to allow for waste?

To allow for waste, you must consider the installation.  For most standard installations, 10% extra for waste is sufficient.  Percentage of waste for more elaborate patterns like running tile on a 45 degree angle, herringbone or cross hatch, consult with your installer. Add 15% for tile being installed in a room with lots of jogs and corners. These installations will require more cuts and thus more waste.

Length x Width + Waste = Amount Needed

Different Units of Measurement

Using square feet is the most common unit of measurement in American real estate. But it’s not your only option. For small projects, you might want to work in square inches. For big projects, like landscaping, square yards might make more sense. And in international real estate markets, square meters are the standard for home measurements. 

Whatever your unit of measurement, the formula is the same. Multiply the length times the width to calculate the area of square and rectangular surfaces. Just make sure you’re using the same unit of measurement for your length and width. If you’re looking for square feet, measure both distances in feet; if you’re looking for square meters, measure both distances in meters.

How to quickly estimate square footage

Sometimes, you might need to estimate or visualize square footage without being able to measure it exactly. This is an especially useful skill if you’re shopping for a home or apartment. Here are some tips, tricks, and examples for making square footage estimates in the real world.

Use your body

One way to get a rough estimate of the width and length of a space is by using your own body. Measure body lengths to use your height. Or measure the length of your foot and walk heel-to-toe to measure the distance. You can also measure the length of your stride, but this will result in a less accurate measurement, since it will vary a little bit with each step.

Use tiles

If the room you’re trying to estimate has tiles on the floor, you can use them to get an estimate of the square footage by assuming that each tile will be around one square foot. Remember that tiles can be larger or smaller than this, though, so your accuracy may vary with this method depending on how close the tiles are to 12 inches.

Visualize comparative spaces

If you don’t need an exact number, but just a rough guess of the square footage of a space, you can compare it to items or other spaces you might be familiar with. For example,

  • A king size bed is 42.15 square feet.
  • The inside of a school bus is about 300 square feet.
  • A one-car garage is about 200 square feet, while a two-car garage will be around 400 square feet.

How many square feet is a 12×12 room?

The square footage of a room measuring 12 feet wide by 12 feet long is 144 square feet. To calculate this you simply multiply the width by the height. 12ft × 12ft = 144 sq ft.

How to find the square footage of a rectangle

  1. Measure the width and length of the area in feet.
  2. Multiply your length and width together to get your area.

Note: If your measurements aren't in feet, convert them to feet first using our length converter.

Once you've carried out your calculation, you will have your square feet (ft2) figure. To calculate your cost of materials, simply multiply this figure by your price per square foot.

How do I calculate the square footage of a room?

Many people think the square feet equation involves multiplying the width of a room by its length. While this is true, things can get complicated if your room isn’t a perfect rectangle. There are several methods for working out square footage. The best one to use will depend on the layout of your space. Let’s take a look at some easy steps to work out square footage:

How to Find the Square Footage of a Room with Four Corners

If your room has straight walls and four corners, the way to figure square footage is simple. You can use a tape measure to measure the length and width of the room in feet. Then, you can multiply those two numbers together. The resulting number is the square footage of your room.

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