How to Measure for Carpet
You will need to know how to measure a room for carpet in order to get a realistic idea of how much is required. It is one of the first steps before shopping for carpet to install yourself or providing installers with the needed dimensions. Making measurements most often applies to broadloom wall-to-wall carpet. Measuring a basic square or oblong area is easy, so long as you make allowances for doorways and entry stairs.
Tools and Supplies You Will Need
- Measuring tape or a laser distance measurer
- Calculator or calculator app
- Paper and writing instrument, or note-taking app
- Graph paper and a pencil, if you choose to draw your layout
Most measuring tasks are easier done with two people if you are using a measuring tape. You can do it solo if you are using a laser distance measurer.
Measure Room Width and Length
- Lay your tape measure against the wall at one end of your room, and then extend it to the opposite wall. Or, use a laser distance measurer to find the measurement between the two walls. Note this number as the length.
- Do the same for the other two walls in the opposite direction. Note this number as the width.
If your room is L-shaped, measure it as two separate rooms. Measure the long portion of the L as one room and the short portion of the L as another room.
Closets should be measured as their own separate rooms.
Measure Carpet for Stairs
When measuring an area that leads to stairs going down (such as a hallway or landing), be sure to measure around the nosing (the ledge at the top of the stairs). Hold your tape measure against the opposite wall (or halfway into a doorway), and wrap it all the way around the nosing until it touches the back (riser) of the stair below. Your carpet will need to be this measurement in order to wrap around the nosing.
Measuring for the stairs themselves involves special considerations such as the shape, size, and configuration of the stairs, as well as the direction of the pile and pattern motifs (if applicable).
Calculating Square Footage
You now have the measurements needed, with allowances for doorways and appropriate measurements for stairs included, to calculate the square footage of the room. Multiply the width of the room by the length of the room. Note this total.
Add a Little Extra
Once you have taken your measurements, you should always add a little extra to your requirements. This allows for walls that are not perfectly straight and gives you a bit of a safety net. When measuring, add about 3 inches to each piece of carpet you will need.
Find the Ideal Carpet for Your Home
Installing new carpet and not sure how much you need? Our Carpet Calculator will help you estimate the material and man-hours necessary to get the job done. Carpet replacement is a big job. With so many options to choose from, the process can be overwhelming. Below, we’ll break down some top considerations for choosing the best carpet for your home and lifestyle.
Carpet by Construction
Berber/loop carpet features large, uncut loops of fiber typically made from wool, nylon or olefin. Dense and highly stain resistant, this type is not recommended for homes with pets as their claws can snag fibers.
Shag/frieze is a durable, twisted, short-pile construction ideal for high-traffic areas. This is a popular commercial carpet option as its fibers curl in different directions and hide footprints.
Pattern carpet offers a combination of cut and loop pile, allowing for more texture and pattern options. The pattern looks as if it’s been cut into the carpet and usually features several tones from the same color family.
Plush carpet has a closely packed yarn construction that offers a soft, smooth surface that’s ideal for formal settings. Drawbacks include visible footprints and other markings.
Textured carpet offers a soft feel with a tight construction that helps resist soiling. Textured is the most popular living room carpet as it holds up to wear and tear.
Carpet tile, available in glue-down or peel-and-stick options, is made with an adhesive backing that allows for easy do-it-yourself installation.
How to fit your carpet
- Clear the room: make sure all furniture has been removed and any ornaments on mounted shelves etc. are also removed. The clearer the room, the quicker the fitting.
- Arrange the fitting: Choose a convenient time of the day for you. Try to be there, if you can. Otherwise try to have someone you trust, just to oversee the job.
- Check whether the fitter will take up your old carpet and underlay. This may be a chargeable service.
- Remove the old carpet if necessary
- Vacuum the old carpet to cut down on dust
- Use a pair of pliers to pull up the edge of the carpet, near any wall.
- Use a utility knife to slice the carpet into manageable strips
- Pull up the underlay with the carpet if you can. It may be stapled, but can be easily removed.
- Roll the carpet as you go along
- Place the rolled carpet out of the room
- Clean the floor with a vacuum or brush in order to remove any leftover debris