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Expert Carpet and Flooring guide for consumers - Carpetsupersite.com


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How to Measure Carpet

in 4 Simple Steps!



Some carpet salespeople are not very good at the art of measuring for carpet. Some may try to sell you more materials than you actually need. Here is the "Old School" method of measuring for carpet.


To protect yourself from being overcharged for materials and labor, lets find out approximately how much carpet you need for your project. 


But remember, having a professional measure your home for you is 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. Measuring yourself can help you determine if the salesperson's measurements are accurate or if you are being over-measured.  


Some homeowners hire a professional Carpet Installer to do the measuring and I think this may be a good way to go. It's not easy to locate a qualified carpet installer who is willing to measure your home. Most are too busy and say it is not worth their time and trouble. 


tape measure

"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 complete all four steps and measure your home for carpet, you can show your diagrams to any locally-owned carpet store and they can easily determine how much material you need to complete the job. 


This will help you confirm how much carpet you need to buy and prevent you from being overcharged for materials and labor.



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:




room diagram  



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.



  • For example, if your room is 15' feet 8" inches long round it up to 16'.0" feet.

  • Always mark the Length first, then the Width to make all your measurements uniform. 

  • (example 15'.0"L x 10'.5"W)


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 insert the measurements. 


room diagram 2

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 to get the square footage. Then add them all up for a total square footage. It should look similar to this:


Living room    27.5  x 15.0 = 412.5 sf

Hall               16.0  x   4.5 =   72.0 sf

Bedroom 1    16.0  x   9.5 = 152.0 sf

Bedroom 2    16.0  x   9.5 = 152.0 sf


Total                                   788.5 square feet




Measuring for Carpet - Step Four


Add 5% to the total. This adds extra carpet needed to complete the job. There will always be some waste. Extra carpet is needed for creating seams in rooms wider than 12 feet and for stretching and trimming purposes. 



+39  (5%)

827 square feet or (91.89 square yards)


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

for example, 827sf divided by 9 = 91.89 square yards.


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.




  • 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.



Room Yardage Chart


My Room Yardage Chart 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. It will help you come up with a good estimate as to what it will cost you to buy the right grade of carpet. 


Carpet prices are on the rise in 2022! You might need to adjust your budget a little bit to make it all work. Most people are surprised at how much a good quality carpet costs. Padding and installation costs are going up fast too.


This means you might have to sacrifice longevity to keep the carpet within your budget, or you may have to re-carpet part of the house now and do the other areas after you save up a little more money.




Measuring Stairs


How to Measure Your Stairs


Measuring for stairs can be a little bit tricky, but as long as your staircases are not unusual they shouldn’t be too tough to estimate. To make it easy I have created a handy chart to help you figure a basic estimate of how much carpet you need to carpet your stairs.  


1. What is your stair step and riser measurement?

Most step and risers will measure about 18 inches total. In diagram #1 below, it shows you where and how to measure the step and riser. You need to calculate these measurements in inches.  


2. Measure the width. How wide are your stairs?

There are several types of stairs. Most stairs are about 3 feet wide. Some are much wider. Not all stairs are the same. Some stairs are open on one or both sides and you will need to measure the widest points. Diagram #2 below shows how to properly measure the width of boxed stairs. The yardage chart is for estimating only.


 measuring stairs for carpet - carpetsupersite.com


Most staircases have about 12-14 steps. Some are split into two 6 or 7-step flights with a landing at the midpoint. The Stair Yardage Chart will reveal how many yards you typically need for a standard 12-14 step staircase. If you have more or less steps than 14, you will have to take that into consideration, and it will not include any carpet you may need for landing areas unless you include them in your stair measurements. 


Now that you have measured and have the answers to the two questions about your stairs, input your findings into the stair yardage chart.


Stair yardage chart for carpet - carpetsupersite.com

To convert square yards into square feet, multiply yards by 9.  (5 sy = 45 sf)


That's it! 

If your home is larger than just one floor or has a difficult floor plan it will be more difficult and time consuming to measure. Take your time choosing the right carpet style and color. Take carpet samples home to consider for a few days. Make sure shopping for new carpet is a fun and exciting project, not stressful and frustrating.


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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