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How to Measure for Carpet 

in 4 Simple Steps


Some carpet salespeople are not very well trained at the art of measuring for carpet and may try to sell you more carpet and padding than you actually need. To protect yourself from being overcharged for materials and/or labor, lets find out approximately how much carpet you need for your project. But remember, having a professional measure your home for you is always 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. Some homeowners hire a professional Carpet Installer to do the measuring and I think this may be a good way to go. This also allows you to discuss potential seam placements and ask what extra installation costs may be involved.


"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 do all four steps and measure your home for carpet, you can take your diagrams to the carpet retailer or other carpet seller and they can determine how much carpet you need from your diagram. This will help you confirm how much carpet you need and prevent you from being overcharged.



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. There is only one thing worse than not having enough carpet to finish the job, and that is being charged for more material than you actually need. 


If your room is 15 feet 8 inches long round it up to 16 feet or 16.0 

Always mark the length first, then the width to make thing uniform.  (example 15 x 10.5) 

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 measure. 




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. Then add them up for a total square footage. It should look like this:


Living room    27.5 x 15.0 = 412.5

Hall                 16.0 x   4.5 =   72.0

Bedroom 1    16.0 x   9.5 = 152.0

Bedroom 2    16.0 x   9.5 = 152.0


                                               788.5 square feet




Measuring for Carpet - Step Four


Add 5% to the total. This makes allowances for seams and other extra carpet needed to complete the job. 



+39  (5%)

827 square feet


To get the total square yardage, divide the square footage by 9.


827sf divided by 9 = 91.88 square yards.


That's it! If your home is larger or has a difficult floor plan it will be more difficult to measure. If you have stairs you can access my free Stair Yardage Chart here 




Measuring Carpet for Stairs:


Measuring for stairs can be very tricky. Some stairs are wrapped over one or both sides, some have to be upholstered which may require additional material, some are pie shaped and are very difficult to measure, some have landings that must be considered. I have included a stair yardage chart in my eBook to help you measure a simple flight of stairs. 



Possible money-saving Option:

Most Carpet styles are 12 feet wide. Wider widths may be available (i.e. 13.5 and 15 feet). These are not common and may or may not be a good choice for you depending on your room sizes. A competent installer can determine if purchasing a carpet wider than 12 feet would be cost effective for you. 





  • There will be some material waste, especially if your rooms are less than 12 ft wide. 

  • You must have seams if your rooms are wider than 12 feet. (unless you order carpet that is wider than 12 feet)

  • All similar carpet in connecting rooms must lay down in the same direction. The carpet nap naturally lays down one way and stands up the other way. (kind of like petting a cat) The carpet tends to look darker one way and lighter the other way depending on the direction of view. It will not look right if you don't have every carpet nap running in the same direction from room to room.




To calculate your total square footage for a room, just multiply your room width and length together.


Example 1: 


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. 

  • In this case, there would be 2 feet x 10 feet of carpet waste because the room is less than 12 feet wide.


Example 2


A simple 15 x 20 room would add up to 33.33 yards. That is 15 x 20 = 300 divided by 9 = 33.33 yards. 

  • In this case, there would need to be a  3' ft. x 20' ft.  seam along one wall in this size of a room because the carpet width is only 12 feet wide, but this extra material is already figured into the total yardage of 33.33 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. 


Take a look at my free Carpet Yardage Chart. This will give you a basic estimate so you can know how much carpet you will need to buy before you begin shopping for carpet. 


See my Room Yardage Chart


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 to come up with a good estimate as to what it will cost you to buy the right grade of carpet for you. 


You might need to adjust a few things a little bit to make it all work. Most people are surprised at how much a good quality carpet costs. This means you might have to sacrifice longevity to keep the carpet within your budget, or you may have to do half of the house now and do the other half after you save a little more money. 



Q. How Much Does Carpet Cost?




About The Carpet Professor:

Looking to buy new carpeting but feeling overwhelmed by all the choices, options and potential scams? The Carpet Professor's website is a free unbiased carpet information resource and buying guide for consumers. Alan Fletcher is a retired 30-year industry expert and consumer advocate. He maintains a special hand-picked list of locally-owned carpet and flooring stores to recommend to his readers.


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