How To Calculate Building Materials

Architect adjusting a blueprint

Normally, when you are building a house or any other significant structure, you leave this to an engineer or an architect.  They do the designing, take care of the labor, and estimate the amount of materials needed to complete the project.  Some people, on the other hand, prefer a hands-on approach in spite of the availability of an engineer.  These people usually just want to be sure that nothing gets wasted.  In this case, these people have a hand in designing, managing the workers, and purchasing the material.  If you are one of these people, you will need to learn how to measure, estimate, and calculate the materials needed to complete certain phases of a building project.

  1. Concrete.  Any building starting from scratch will need some sort of concrete foundation to ensure its stability.  This is the reason why getting the right amount of concrete is critical.  No one should be stingy for this phase.  If you are building a base, you will need to measure its length and width and multiply it with each other.  Now divide the result by 27.  This will provide you the amount of concrete needed in cubic yards.
  2. Lumber for framing walls.  When building a wall, you will need to build its frame before you assemble and install the wall.  For the frame, you will need some 2 by 4 lumber.  To compute the amount of lumber you will need for the frame, measure the entire length of the wall in inches.  Now, divide the measurement by 16 and you will have the number of 2 by 4 lumbers you will need.
  3. Wall sheathing.  For wall sheathing, whether plywood or dry wall, you will need to measure the length and width of the entire wall.  Multiply the length by the width.  This will result in the square footage of the wall surface.
  4. Roof deck and frame.  For the frame of the roof, you will need to measure the entire length of the roof and divide it by 2.  This will provide you the number of rafters you will need to effectively install a frame for the roof.  For the roof deck, multiply the length and width of the roof in inches and divide it by 32.  This will provide you the number of plywood sheets you will need to for the decking.  For the shingles, multiply the length with the width of the roof and divide by 100.  This will give you the amount of shingles that you will need.   Shingles usually comes in bundles.  To know the exact amount of shingle bundles you need, just multiply the amount of shingles you need by three.

These are the standards that most engineers and architects use to estimate and calculate the amount of building materials needed per phase of a building project.  If you are still unsure of yourself, consult and engineer and have him teach you how to measure and compute correctly.  Make sure that when you do measure each phase up, you should do it twice or even thrice to ensure that you get an accurate measurement.


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