Measuring For Hardwood Floors
Don't know how to go about measuring? Want to check the store measurements and compare? The illustration below should provide some tips on measuring for hardwood flooring. We've put together a layout that covers the basics in measuring, including thresholds (transitions) and trim pieces.
When measuring square footage the simplest method to use is squares and rectangles. Measure from baseboard to baseboard. Or if there is no base in place, the drywall. In our example below we have a few irregular areas such as the living and dining room. Measure from each longest point in both directions. Don't try to get precise! If the room measures 11' 6" x 13' 10" as an example, always round up to the highest number or 12' x 14'
Don't Come Up Short
More common mistakes made while measuring include talking to others. It happens with salespeople all the time, and it can happen to you. Measure when the home is quiet or when you're the only one home. Far too many times jobs come up short when there are distractions during the measuring. Don't forget the closets! In my experience I've had some say; "well just leave the carpet in there." Folks, it doesn't look right.
Floor first or cabinets? We have a special page devoted to that (link below). If your appliances can be moved, measure that area as well. Dishwashers? With 3/4" solid hardwoods you may want to call in a professional to remove and re-install it. Reason being, the thicker hardwood may lock in the appliance, making it impossible to remove should it have to be serviced or replaced. With thinner engineered products the front legs of the dishwasher can be raised and the flooring slid underneath about 3-4 inches.
Transition Pieces & Trim
Don't forget the trim pieces! Missing a few areas or forgetting them completely could add more time for completion of the job. Most trim pieces come in lengths of 72" or 78" Some manufacturers are different so it's important to make sure what lengths are available.
In our example we have 6 areas requiring transition pieces. Hardwood is not recommended for use in full baths or laundry areas. Transitions needed are:
▪ Foyer (Entry)
▪ Kitchen to outdoors
▪ Master Bath (meeting tile or vinyl)
▪ Bath to hall (meeting tile or vinyl)
▪ Master BR to outdoors
▪ Kitchen to laundry (meeting tile or vinyl)
More on Types of Thresholds and Trim
Common doorway openings measure anywhere from 28" to 36". Others can measure up to 72" depending on what type; foyer entries for example. Make sure you have enough ordered. Matching quarter round, shoe molding, and/or base would be measured by lineal feet.
Matching quarter round are manufactured in the same lengths as other prefinished trim. Shorter lengths are often undesirable in appearance. You may want to consider buying from a local mill shop that handles that particular specie in much longer lengths or buy paint grade pine trim (16 foot lengths) from some of the big box stores if you should have painted baseboards.
When measuring for this kind of trim, expect waste as you would with the flooring. A handy guide would be as follows so you don't come up short. Always round up to the higher number. If you're ordering matching material you may want to add a few extra lengths with the order as there may be ugly or off colored pieces you may not like. Another option would be to use them in closets.
Use This Figure
|6 inches||One foot|
Waste Factor. Having Extras on Hand
For the most part, straight lay installations would use a 5% waste factor by professionals. However if you get into larger layouts and there are many parallel wall lines the waste factor should be increased to 7-10% especially with wider material. The same would hold true of many 45º or other irregular wall lines. If someone is set on a particular color in a lower grade let it be known there will be major variations in character of the final floor itself. Increase the waste factor another notch if you're choosey about not wanting a lot of character.
The safest waste percentage would be 10% It's also better to have a few boxes on hand in case of repairs that may be needed down the road. With prefinished hardwood floors, lines are discontinued now and then, or the manufacturer has changed the way they mill the product. Finding matching material often becomes impossible.
Placing the Order
Chances are you may have looked at a half dozen different manufacturers. All manufacturers have different sized cartons of prefinished flooring. Make sure you have the right figures. Another common mistake I've seen with measuring and ordering is the final tally. An example follows...
The manufacturer has 22.5 square feet per box/carton. The total measurement comes to 687 square feet. Dividing by 22.5 shows 30.53 cartons. Remember, don't try to be precise, always round it off to the higher number.
Don't forget the other accessories. Do we have enough adhesive (gluedowns & floating floors)? Is a special type of underlayment required? It's also a good idea to check the specifications set forth by the manufacturer. Most have different specifications in one form or another regarding the above. Failure to follow those specs could result in the warranty being voided.
Wherever you buy, be it the internet or locally, any shortages may take a few days to two and three weeks to get. If you've hired an installer, shortages are something they never want to hear. Both parties, you and them want the job to go off without a hitch.