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Cheat Sheet

Home Improvement For Dummies

From Home Improvement For Dummies by Gene Hamilton, Katie Hamilton

A home improvement project that involves new flooring means using simple math to find the right amount of vinyl or carpet needed for the area you want to cover. If you are planning to paint or wallpaper, use easy formulas to determine how much paint or paper to purchase.

How Much Vinyl Flooring Do You Need?

Does your home improvement project involve a new vinyl floor? To figure out how many vinyl floor tiles, or sheet vinyl, you need, follow these simple formulas:

Vinyl floor tile calculator

To figure out how many vinyl floor tiles you need to buy, calculate the floor area you want to cover and divide that number by the size of one tile:

Floor Area:

[Length of Floor] × [Width of Floor] = Floor Area

Tiles to Order:

  • For 9" Tiles: Floor Area ÷ 0.5625 = Number of 9" Tiles Needed

  • For 12" Tiles: Floor Area = Number of 12" Tiles Needed

Sheet vinyl flooring calculator

Determine how much sheet vinyl to purchase by calculating the square footage of floor you plan to cover and dividing that number by 9 to get the number of square yards of flooring you need.

Floor Area:

[Length of Floor (ft.)] × [Width of Floor (ft.)] = Floor Area (sq. ft.)

Sheet Vinyl to Order:

[Floor Area] ÷ 9 = Number of Sq. Yards of Floor Covering Needed

How Much Ceramic Tile Do You Need?

If your home improvement plan involves a new ceramic tile floor, how do you determine the amount of ceramic tiles you need? Simply calculate the area you plan to cover and divide that number by the size of one ceramic tile.

Total Area (Floor, Wall, Countertop):

Length (ft.) × Width (ft.) = Total Area (sq. ft.)

Tile to Order:

  • For 4" Tiles: Total Area ÷ 0.1089 = Number of 4" Tiles Needed

  • For 6" Tiles: Total Area ÷ 0.25 = Number of 6" Tiles Needed

  • For 9" Tiles: Total Area ÷ 0.5625 = Number of 9" Tiles Needed

  • For 12" Tiles: Total Area = Number of 12" Tiles Needed

  • For 18" Tiles: Total Area ÷ 2.25 = Number of 18" Tiles Needed

Determining How Much Wall Paint You Need

To avoid having too much leftover wall paint, use these formulas to determine how much paint to buy when you start your home improvement painting project.

Total Wall Area:

[Total Length of All Walls] × [Wall Height] = Total Wall Area

Unpainted Areas:

[Window Height] × [Window Width] × [Number of Windows] = Window Area

[Door Height] × [Door Width] × [Number of Doors] = Door Area

Paintable Wall Area:

[Total Wall Area] – [Window Area] – [Door Area] = Paintable Area

Paint to Order:

[Paintable Area] ÷ 350 = Number of Gallons Needed for Smooth Walls

[Paintable Area] ÷ 300 = Number of Gallons Needed for Rough, Textured Walls or Unpainted Wallboard

Calculating How Much Wallpaper to Use

If you’ve decided on wallpaper for your home improvement project, you want to make sure to buy the right amount for your needs. These formulas help you determine how much wall paper to purchase:

Wall Area:

[Total Length of All Walls] x [Wall Height] = Wall Area

Unpapered Areas:

[Window Height] x [Window Width] x [Number of Windows] = Window Area

[Door Height] x [Door Width] x [Number of Doors] = Door Area

Wallpapering Area:

[Wall Area] – [Unpapered Areas] = Wallpapering Area

Wallpaper to Order:

[Wallpapering Area] ÷ [Usable Yield] = Number of Single Rolls Needed

Usable Yield Charts:

Pattern Repeat (Drop) Usable Yield (American Rolls) Usable Yield (European Rolls)
0 to 6 in. 32 sq. ft. 25 sq. ft.
7 to 12 in. 30 sq. ft. 22 sq. ft.
13 to 18 in. 27 sq. ft. 20 sq. ft.
19 to 23 in. 25 sq. ft. 18 sq. ft.

Calculating the Amount of Carpet You Need

If your home improvement project involves new carpeting, determining how much carpeting to buy is easy. Calculate the square footage of floor you want to cover, divide that number by 9, and you have the number of square yards of carpeting you need.

Floor Area:

[Length of Floor (ft.)] x [Width of Floor (ft.)] = Floor Area (sq. ft.)

Carpeting to Order:

[Floor Area] ÷ 9 = Number of Sq. Yards of Carpeting Needed

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