How To Buy Carpet and Flooring Wisely
How to Measure for Carpet
in 4 Simple Steps!
Some carpet salespeople are not very good at measuring!
Some may try to sell you more materials than you actually need. Here is the "Old School" method of measuring for carpet.
To protect yourself from being overcharged for materials and labor, lets find out approximately how much carpet you need for your project. But remember, having a professional measure your home for you is the best way to go! Notice that I said "Professional", I did not say "Carpet Salesperson".
Some salespeople measure very well while others have absolutely no idea what they are doing. Measuring yourself can help you determine if the salesperson's measurements are accurate or if you are being over-measured.
Some homeowners hire a professional Carpet Installer to do the measuring and I think this may be a good way to go. It's not easy to locate a qualified carpet installer who is willing to measure your home. Most are too busy and say it is not worth their time and trouble.
"You can learn how to measure your home for carpet in four simple steps. This can help you avoid being overcharged for carpet, pad and installation."
After you complete all four steps and measure your home for carpet, you can show your diagrams to any locally-owned carpet store and they can easily determine how much material you need to complete the job. This will help you confirm how much carpet you need to buy and prevent you from being overcharged for materials and labor.
Measuring for Carpet - Step One
Draw a simple diagram of your home. I did this drawing on my computer using a simple " paint" program. You have a paint program on your computer too, look in "accessories" in your program files. The drawing doesn't have to be perfect but the measurements need to be accurate. Just a simple drawing with all the rooms shown is all you need. If you have a two story home, then do two drawings, one for upper, one for lower.
Your drawing should look something like this:
Measuring for Carpet - Step Two
Now you need to measure each room and write down the measurements on your diagram. We will round up each measurement to the nearest 1/2 foot mark. If your room is 15 feet 3 inches long, round it up to 15 feet 6 inches or 15.5. (We will use the decimal .5 instead of 6"inches) This little bit of extra carpet will help make sure you have enough.
How do I know which is length and which is width?
It doesn't matter, just choose a direction and measure each room the same way.
Here is how it should look after you insert the measurements.
Notice that I have colored vinyl flooring areas yellow. The white areas have carpet.
Measuring for Carpet - Step Three
Make a list of your measurements and multiply the length by the width of each room to get the square footage. Then add them all up for a total square footage. It should look similar to this:
Living room 27.5 x 15.0 = 412.5 sf
Hall 16.0 x 4.5 = 72.0 sf
Bedroom 1 16.0 x 9.5 = 152.0 sf
Bedroom 2 16.0 x 9.5 = 152.0 sf
Total 788.5 square feet
Measuring for Carpet - Step Four
Add 5% to the total. This adds extra carpet needed to complete the job. There will always be some waste. Extra carpet is needed for creating seams in rooms wider than 12 feet and for stretching and trimming purposes.
To get the total square yardage (SY), divide the square footage by 9.
for example, 827sf divided by 9 = 91.89 square yards.
To calculate your total square footage for a room, just multiply your room width and length together.
Here is what a 10 x 10 room would add up to 13.33 yards: (Remember, carpet comes 12 feet wide) That is 12' width x 10' length = 120 square feet divided by 9 = 13.33 yards.
Remember, you are just getting a basic estimate of your material needs, you will most likely need a few more or less yards than you figure here, so don't be surprised if you are quoted 5 to 10% more or less than you calculated here and using my yardage chart. It is always wise to get a professional to measure your home accurately before ordering carpet.
Room Yardage Chart
My Room Yardage Chart will give you a basic estimate so you can know how much carpet you will need to buy before you begin shopping for carpet. When you take all this information into consideration, then you take a good hard look at the logistics of your lifestyle, needs, goals and budget. It will help you come up with a good estimate as to what it will cost you to buy the right grade of carpet. See my Room Yardage Chart.
Carpet prices are on the rise! You might need to adjust your budget a little bit to make it all work. Most people are surprised at how much a good quality carpet costs. Padding and installation costs are going up fast too. This means you might have to sacrifice longevity to keep the carpet within your budget, or you may have to re-carpet part of the house now and do the other areas after you save up a little more money.
to Measure Your Stairs
Measuring for stairs can be a little bit
tricky, but as long as your staircases are not unusual they shouldn’t be
too tough to estimate. To make it easy I have created a handy chart to help
you figure a basic estimate of how much carpet you need to carpet your
1. What is your stair step and riser
Most step and risers will measure about 18
inches total. In diagram #1 below, it shows you where and how to measure the
step and riser. You need to calculate these measurements in inches.
2. Measure the width. How wide are your
There are several types of stairs. Most
stairs are about 3 feet wide. Some are much wider. Not all stairs are the
same. Some stairs are open on one or both sides and you will need to measure
the widest points. Diagram #2 below shows how to properly measure the width
of boxed stairs. The yardage chart is for estimating only.
Most staircases have about 12-14 steps. Some are split into two 6 or 7-step flights with a landing at the midpoint. The Stair Yardage Chart will reveal how many yards you typically need for a standard 12-14 step staircase. If you have more or less steps than 14, you will have to take that into consideration, and it will not include any carpet you may need for landing areas unless you include them in your stair measurements.
Now that you have measured and have the answers to the two questions about your stairs, input your findings into the stair yardage chart.
To convert square yards into square feet, multiply yards by 9. (5 sy = 45 sf)
That's it! If your home is larger than just one floor or has a difficult floor plan it will be more difficult and time consuming to measure. Take your time choosing the right carpet style and color. Take carpet samples home to consider for a few days. Make sure shopping for new carpet is a fun and exciting project, not stressful and frustrating.