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How to Properly Measure for Tile Flooring

measure-tile-flooringWhen preparing for a tile job, it’s important to make sure you have the right amount of tile, plus a little extra to allow for error.

What You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Calculator
  • Notepad

Take Measurements

Measure the length and width of a rectangular room with a tape measure. If the room is oddly shaped, it’s best to split up the area and take down measurements one section at a time. Add the length and height of each section if they’re rectangular, and base and width if they are triangular. If measurements aren't a whole foot, round up. Multiply the two measurements, divide the product by 2 to find the area, then round up to the next whole foot again if necessary.

It’s easier to calculate the floor measurements as linear feet as opposed to inches. If a floor is 72 inches wide by 72 inches long, the measurements are recorded as 6 feet by 6 feet. If the calculations were done in inches, you would have to divide the product by 144. This is because of the fact that in one square foot, there are 144 square inches. The extra math will make things more difficult, so it’s best to measure in feet.

When measuring for length, it is quite common for the measurements to be a little different. For example, a floor may measure 10’8” by 12’5”. This calculation needs to be rounded up to the nearest foot, e.g., 11’ by 13’ plus 10% to allow for error. Here, the calculation would be 11’x13’=143+14=157 square feet.

While measuring, record all of the measurements in a notepad to reference later when you’re ready to purchase the tiles.

Calculate the Number of Tiles Needed

You’ve measured the room, but now you need to know how that converts to the amount of tile needed for the job.

Divide the figure you calculated (157 in the example from above) by the area of the floor tile. If the floor tiles are 12 in. x 12 in., they’re one square foot each. So, you’d divide 157 by one, which equals 157 floor tiles needed.

If the tiles are smaller than a square foot, measure two sides of the tile, convert to decimals, and multiply to find the square footage of the tile. For example, 6 in. x 6 in. tiles (.5 feet) have a square footage of .25 feet (.5x.5=.25). Divide this figure by the square footage of your room (157/.25=628 floor tiles.)

There are also several online tile calculators you can use to double check your work.


Need tools for your tile project? Rental Ranch carries all the basics. Head over to our equipment rental page to see our selection.