How To Measure Square Footage

If you are an avid DIY (do-it-yourself) fan, then knowing how to take correct measurements for any DIY project in and around your home is very essential. While the measurements for projects will vary, a constant factor inherent in all measurements is the calculation of square footage. Based on the shape and area of any space in your house or outside of it, square footage can be calculated in a few different ways. This is discussed in further detail in the steps which follow.

Step 1

Materials needed.

  • Measuring tape
  • Paper and pencil
  • Calculator

Step 2

Different types of calculations. As mentioned above, the shape of the area you want to measure will determine the formula to use for calculating square footage. Calculation is simple if the area is shaped in any of these forms - square, rectangular or triangle. For areas which are in other shapes, such as hexagons, pentagons, etc, break up the area into any of the three measurable shapes listed here, calculate the square footage for each of these shapes and then add up all the measurements. It is also important to remember, when taking measurements for flooring or carpeting, exclude about 1/4th or half an inch on each side, between the floor and the wall.

Step 3

Square footage for square or rectangular shapes. The formula for measuring the area of a square or rectangle is the length multiplied by the width (lxb, b=width/breadth). With the measuring tape, find out the length and width of the room or space in question and make a note of each measurement. Next, either manually or using a calculator, multiply the two measurements jotted down and the result will be the square footage of the area. For example, if you've gotten a reading of 10 feet for the length and a reading of 6 feet for the width, the square footage will be the product of 10 x 6; giving you a square footage of 60 feet.

Step 4

Square footage for a triangular area. For areas shaped in a triangle, first pin-point the base of the triangle. Next, pick the area which will be designated as the height of the triangle in relation to the base. Typically, the base and height of the triangle will form an L shape and the third side is what will constitute the hypotenuse of the triangle. With the measuring tape, calculate the length of the base side; make a note of the reading you get. Similarly measure the height of the triangle. Multiply the two numbers you've noted and then divide the result by two to get the square footage. Continuing with the same example as in the previous step, assuming the base is 6 feet and the height is 10 feet, the resulting product is 60 feet, which you will divide by the number 2. The resultant square footage you get is 30 feet.

Step 5

Measuring a circular room. In a situation where you need to measure the square footage of a room or area which is circular in shape, go back in time and take a leaf out of your basic geometry lesson. Measure the length of the circle at its widest point, which will represent the diameter of the circle. Divide this number by 2 to calculate the radius of the circle. Now, back to the geometry lesson, the area of a circle is calculated by using the formula Πr2 where Π (pi) is an infinite number assigned a value of 3.14 and ‘r' is the radius of the circle. Supposing the diameter you've measured is 10 feet, the radius will be 10/2, i.e. 5 feet and the area can be calculated using the above formula, which will read numerically as 3.14 x 52 (or 25) and the resultant square footage derived is 78.5 feet.

Now that you've learnt how to calculate the square footage for areas with differing shapes, you can get a move on with your DIY project. Calculating square footage is very simple and easy and anyone who knows how to use a calculator can do it!!


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