Calculating Flooring Prices: What You Need to Know

By: Robert Thomson

Calculating flooring prices sounds simple enough - you just multiply the square footage or square yardage. Different types of flooring use different measurements. Harder surfaces like tile and hardwood are generally calculated in square feet whereas softer surfaces like carpet are calculated using square yards. It's a good idea to have both measurements on hand when you visit your flooring retailer so that they can accurately tell you how much floor you need.

Measuring for Carpet, Vinyl or Linoleum Floors

The formula for flooring prices on these types of floors is simply length times width. That's how you get the number of square feet. Most carpets are sold in widths of 12" and 15", so you'll need to keep that in mind when estimating. It's a good idea to add a little extra for waste and trim areas. No matter what type of flooring you're putting down or having installed, you always want to measure the widest part of the room which includes any steps or areas where the floor rises, as well as doorways.

How to Measure for Square Yards

For other types of floor, you will likely be calculating flooring prices in square yards. This is easy once you've figured out the square footage, since all you need to know is that there are nine square feet in one square yard. So simply divide your square feet number by nine to get the square yardage. To help give your measurements a little breathing room, add 6% to the number if you are carpeting a room and 10% to the number if you're carpeting your entire home. Every carpet installation comes with some waste, so it's good to have a realistic estimate when estimating flooring prices.

What If My Room Isn't Square?

Some rooms may not be perfectly square or rectangular. You may have a bay window area, a rounded section or parts of your room may have a nook or different angles to measure for. In these cases, it's a good idea to make a rough sketch of the measurements between and around different areas in the room to bring to the flooring retailer. This will help give them a basic idea of how much carpeting or flooring you need. It can be complicated, calculating flooring prices around oddly-shaped rooms - but it's definitely possible.

You can also use online flooring calculators to help you estimate the square footage or yardage of a room. Keep in mind that the cost of hiring a flooring professional to install your floors isn't included in the calculation - although it may be a cost that easily pays for itself over the time, effort and frustration of putting new flooring down on your own!

Either way, knowing approximately how much flooring you'll need, and approximately how much it costs will help you plan and create a budget as well as give you an idea of which type of flooring may be right for you - whether it's hardwood, tile, laminate or carpet.

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Gina Hopkins writes about interior design projects including how to choose the best flooring prices for any particular situation. Always looking for the best bargain on renovation materials, she tends to end up shopping at more often than not.

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