How to Measure for Carpets and Flooring

Tape measures

If you need a new carpet, or new flooring, such as tiles, hardwood, laminate or vinyl, getting the correct measurements is crucial in order for it to fit correctly. So how can you ensure you measure your floor space correctly and get the right fit for flooring?

Having new flooring put down can really brighten up a room and give your home a nice new look.

Carpets have traditionally been the flooring of choice, but if you fancy something different there are lots of other options available too.

Hardwood and laminate floorings are very popular, and easy to keep clean, ceramic tiles are popular in kitchens and bathrooms, or there are some nice vinyls available.

Before you’re able to order any carpet, it’s essential you know the measurements of the room where you want it fitted. If you’ve just moved in, then you may be lucky enough to already have a list of the key floorplan measurements, so keep this handy and you should be okay!

But if you’ve lived in your home for a while, you may not be quite so clued up on the exact sizes of the rooms and will need to get out a tape measure and get measuring.

Some general tips for measuring include:

  • Use a metal tape, instead of a fabric tape measure, as this is likely to produce a more accurate measurement.
  • If you’re not exactly sure whether you’ve measured correctly, take the measurements twice to double-check.
  • Clearly write down each of the measurements as you take it – it’s easy to forget them if you don’t!
  • It may help to roughly sketch out a diagram of your floor and then write the measurements into the appropriate points.

How to Accurately Measure Your Floor

Measuring the floor space of a room shouldn’t be too tricky. Take your metal tape measure and measure the width and length of the room from the furthest skirting boards.

If your room changes shape at all, then opt for measuring at the widest and longest points to get the most accurate measurement.

Where there’s a door involved, measure from the skirting board on the other side of the room to where the carpet will finish underneath the door area.

When you come to purchase carpets, it’s always better to go for a size that is slightly bigger than the area you need.

Although there will be a little bit of wastage this way (although you can always save the offcuts and use them in your garage, loft or shed, or even as mats), this will help ensure you have more than enough carpet to fill the space. It would be dreadful to find there’s not enough.

Once you know what your floor measurements are, it’s time to go shopping for flooring!

The amount of ceramic tiles, hardwood or laminate flooring boards you’ll require depends on the size of the tiles and boards involved.

Once you’ve got your flooring measurements, a specialist retailer will be able to advise on exactly how many boards and tiles you’ll require to fill the space involved.

A DIY Floor Laying Checklist

Depending on your skills and the size and difficulty of the project – as well as the type of product – installing flooring by yourself can either be a real cost-saver or a complete disaster!

Installation Options

In general, it is felt that floating floor systems which do not involve glue and are easily installed using a ‘click-and-lock’ feature are good choices for DIY. These include laminate flooring, engineered hardwood, cork and bamboo flooring.

However, for other types of flooring, such as vinyl, hardwood and carpet, it may be best to hire professionals, despite the extra cost.

One way of compromising, if budget is a real issue, is to source the product from wholesalers yourself rather than from retail outlets and then hire specific labour just for installation – although this depends on your being confident of finding a good installer.

If you are preparing to have a go at DIY installation, here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Before you start, it is essential that you make sure the surface underneath a floating floor system is solid, even and dry. For example, if laying over concrete, make sure that any newly poured concrete is completely dry – this usually takes one month per 25mm of thickness so for an average concrete slab of 125mm thickness, you will need to wait 5 months from the date of pour to be absolutely sure of dryness.
  • Don’t rush it- take time to plan thoroughly before you start. Study the area to be covered and think about how the flooring should finish in specific junctions, e.g., with other surfaces or around built-in furniture.
  • In order to create the illusion of a bigger room make sure that the strips of laminate run in the direction of the room.
  • To create a more natural appearance, alternate the strips of laminate; i.e. longer pieces and shorter pieces can be intermixed next to doorways, as well as in the middle of the room.
  • Remember to leave a ¼ of an inch gap along the wall to allow for expansion.
  • Check the foam underlay recommended by the supplier of the laminate flooring – this will act as a vapour barrier and sound-dampener and must be rolled out one width at a time, as you lay the floor.
  • Always dry-fit first before applying glue (does not apply to click-and-lock systems).
  • If installing any kind of timber, don’t just start installing the minute you bring the product home. It is a good idea to store them in the room they are going to be installed in – loosely stacked – so that they can acclimatise to the moisture and temperature levels. This usually requires 2-3 days.
  • If you intend to install Underfloor Insulation or Heating make sure you see professional advice.

Regardless of your experience, always follow the specific instructions provided by the laminate manufacturer – not only do they know their product best but if you fail to follow their instructions or ignore their recommendation for certain installation products and procedures, you may lose your warranty.

See Also
Woman sat in a spacious hallway with a stone tiled floor
Types of Flooring for the Home
Bare wooden floor with a cup of coffee and a blank notebook
Home Flooring: Where to Start?