Looking for pro tips on how to measure a room for tile before you install? You’ve come to the right place! For all our DIY tile installers out there - fear not! Our expert team is here to simplify the process of measuring and calculating your tile area!
Figuring out how much tile you're going to need for your project can be difficult (especially for Do It Yourself home improvement fans). Whether you’re retiling your walls or floors, a large or small space, it’s important to have enough tiles on hand before you begin a tiling project. The last thing you want to do is realize part of the way into your tile job that you didn’t order enough! Accurate measurements are the best way to ensure your job is completed on time, and you receive tiles from the same lot to ensure the closest match.
Don't worry, we'll walk you through how to calculate the dimensions of this beautifully tiled Powder Room showcasing our
Measuring correctly is by far the best way to save yourself from losing time and money when you’re tiling a room! This part of the project can be easy to overthink, but it's really quite simple. With a few calculations and a bit of guidance, you can easily get the right measurements for the tile you need - don’t worry, a math degree isn’t required!
So, how do you calculate the number of tiles needed for your area or confirm your square footage? It’s easier than you think. Just follow the 5-step process below and read our tips to measure like a pro!
5 Steps for Measuring the Area of Your Tile Installation
Step 1 – Gather Your Measuring Materials
Your supply list is pretty simple, whether you’re measuring to buy ceramic floor tiles for your bathroom or marble kitchen backsplash designs. You’ll need the following:
* Tape measure
* Notepad & Pencil or Pen
Whether you’re covering your entryway floor or on your kitchen walls, the steps for determining how many tiles you need are the same regardless of surface. If you’ve got your materials ready to go, let’s get started!
Step 2 – Taking Area Measurements
You should first start by taking the exact measurements of the area you plan to tile:
- For square or rectangular areas, measure the length and the width of the space in inches (a square-shaped area would obviously have the same length and width).
- For round areas, stretch your tape measure through the center of the circle. The tape measure must start at one wall and run through the center of the area until you reach the other side. This total length through the center of your circle is called the diameter. Half of the space’s diameter from the center to each wall is called the radius, which is the number you’ll need in your calculations. (remember in middle school when you thought you’d never use the geometry homework? Now’s your chance!)
* Before taking your measurements, make sure the space is clear and nothing impedes a clean line from your measuring tape. Move all furniture to the center and shoo out any pets that may get in your way! If you can’t clear the whole area, make sure you can run measuring tape in a straight line without bending or folding it over an object.
* If you plan to measure a wall, take down any paintings or wall coverings that could get in the way.
Step 3 – Calculating the Coverage
In order to calculate how much tile you need for a room, you need to find the total area of the space you just measured. This will give you the coverage (total square footage in inches) for each space that you’re planning to tile.
-For square or rectangular areas, multiply the length by the width and then divide the result by 144 to get your total in square feet.
Here’s an example:
It’s even easier when you have a square room, let’s say 12 ft x 12 ft
Just multiply 12 x 12 to find your total coverage in sq ft, which is 144 sq ft coverage
- For round areas, divide the total length you’ve measured in inches by 2 to find the radius. Rounding up to the nearest whole number will make your calculations easier. Then multiply the radius by pi – or 3.14. Round it up to the nearest decimal again to get your total in square feet.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say there is a circular area you’re planning to tile that has a diameter of 20 feet
*If you’re calculating how much area you’ll need to cover with wall tiles, you’ll need to account for any doors and windows. If that is the case, calculate coverage for the entire wall as well as the square footage of all doors and windows (measuring from the top edge of the frame to ensure space). Then subtract the area of all windows and doors from the total coverage of the wall.
Step 4 – Calculate The Amount Of Tiles You Need
Besides the total square footage, you may also want to know the estimated number of tiles to cover an area. Converting the coverage area to the number of tiles is very easy!
First, find the area of one tile in inches. (We list the footage each sheet or individual tile will cover in the Product Description). In case you need to calculate for yourself, you can multiply the length and width of the tile in inches to determine its area.
Finally, divide the area of the space you calculated in step 3 by the area of one tile.
This is exactly how much tile is needed for the space!
Let’s make it clear with an example:
If you have square tiles, we have a list to make things even easier! Just, choose your tile size from the list and use the equation below to figure out the minimum number of tiles you need to buy. Make sure that your total area is in square inches!
- 4-inch tiles: Total Area ÷ 0.1089 = Number of 4″ tiles needed
- 6-inch tiles: Total Area ÷ 0.25 = Number of 6″ tiles needed
- 9-inch tiles: Total Area ÷ 0.5625 = Number of 9″ tiles needed
- 12-inch tiles: Total Area = Number of 12″ tiles needed
- 15-inch tiles: Total Area ÷ 1.5625 = Number of 15″ tiles needed
- 18-inch tiles: Total Area ÷ 2.25 = Number of 18″ tiles needed
If math isn’t your thing, we offer a handy tile calculator for each design so you can enter the total square footage from step 3 and calculate the amount of tiles you need, no matter what size!
Voila! Just enter your square footage and we’ll show you how many sheets are needed to ensure coverage, as well as calculating the price - demonstrated with our lovely Stardust Blue 2x8 Glass Mosaic Tiles which come in sheets of 11.8” x 11.8”
Step 5 – Adding Overage
The last step, and one of the most crucial, is to order some extra tiles to guarantee full coverage as you should factor in cuts, waste, and potential breakage as you trim tiles to fit.
To accurately estimate your overage needs, it’s important to consider how you’ll be installing your tile. For most standard installations - a wall, or backsplash, for example - 10% over your calculated total should account for any waste.
For more elaborate patterns - say you’re running tile on a 45 degree angle, or creating a pattern like herringbone that requires more cuts to be made - we suggest bumping up your overage amounts to at least 15%.
15% is also the ideal overage for tile that will be installed in a room with lots of edges and corners. Cutting more tiles to fit snugly around corners means more waste is expected.
Large format tiles can be more prone to breakage before they are installed, so 30% is the ideal overage when ordering materials like large scale porcelain tiles.
Once you know your ideal overage percentage, calculate the final amount by multiplying the square footage of the space by the overage percentage and adding the difference to your total square feet.
The general rule is: the bigger the tile and the more complicated the pattern, the more waste you will have! Having extra tile is always a good thing!
Ready to calculate how much tile and trim you'll need to create this beautiful shower niche without disrupting the pattern on our Herringbone Pearl White Thassos Shell Tile?
*Let’s say you played it safe by ordering extra tiles and ended up with some leftovers. Don’t throw them away! It’s a good idea to keep extra tiles on hand in case you need to replace one in the future.
If you have a lot of extra and nowhere to store it, check out some creative DIY decor projects you can make with leftover tile!
All right, you’ve got your tile measurements and you’ve calculated your overage - don’t as hard as you thought, right? Before you set off to order the perfect tile with your expert calculations, we have some other useful tips and ways to measure tiles based on questions we’re asked regularly! Here are some extra tips to help you measure like a pro!
What to do if the space isn't a simple rectangle or square?
A very common problem is not knowing how to measure a room floor that’s an unusual shape. In that case, all you need to do is measure each section separately to calculate accurately.
First, draw a picture of the irregular shaped floor plan on a piece of paper, then separate the room into squares or rectangles.
Let’s say you’re dealing with an L-shaped area. Break it down into smaller sections of squares or rectangles and label each one with a letter. Continue measuring the width and height of each section and then calculating the area for them as individual units as explained in Step 3. Finally, add them together for the total square footage. The more individual spaces you’re measuring to add together, the more overage you’ll want to add to ensure full coverage.
Calculating an L-Shaped Entryway Floor with our Moroccan Star & Cross Pattern in Blue and White
You’re dealing with an L-shaped floor that can be divided into two rectangles.
Make sure to add in any trims or skirting you plan to tile as well!
How to Measure Tile Trims
Most vertical applications will require trim pieces with finished edges, requiring a linear measurement. If you’re not sure whether you need a trim or not, check out one of our latest articles where we explained tile trims and their most common uses.
Unlike tiles which are sold by the sheet or box, trim pieces and decorative accent are typically sold by the piece. To figure the quantity you need, first find the length of each trim piece in inches (i.e. a 6" long bullnose or an 8" pencil). Then measure the length (in inches) of any edge you’re going to use your trims. Then divide the length of the edge by the length of one tile trim.
Linear Inches of an Edge / Length of Each Trim = Number of Trim Pieces Needed
Don’t forget to add some overage to your trim quantity as well! We recommend starting with at least 10% overage and always rounding up to the nearest whole foot – similar to what you do for tiles!
Final Measurement Tips for Specific Areas
While the basic method to measure a room for tile installation is fairly universal, there are a few things to watch out for when it comes to installing kitchen and bathroom tiles. We’ll take a look at these tips before we finish our guide!
- Measuring a Shower – Showers can be divided into rectangular sections (which is the easy part), but if you have a niche or a bench, that’s a few extra measurements to keep track of. Separate each section by the tiles you plan to use, grouping by material to calculate the square footage needed for all surfaces. Don’t forget to include the depth of the sides of niches and windows too! If you plan to have border tiles, calculate them the same way you measured for trim above, by measuring the perimeter of the shower area and dividing the number by 12 to determine the total linear feet of border tiles needed for your design!
- Measuring a Bathroom Floor – Measuring a bathroom floor is definitely easier than measuring a shower, but there are additional factors to keep in mind. Drains, vanities, toilets or any other items that take space on the floor must be considered in your measurements when tiling bathroom floors. We always recommend tiling underneath those items for future updates to the bathroom!
- Measuring a Kitchen Floor - For kitchens with cabinets, always measure the whole room first then subtract the area of the cabinetry. However, just like bathroom floors, we always recommend calculating square footage for the entire space – including under the cabinets as well.
- Measuring a Kitchen Backsplash – Kitchen walls are generally rectangular shaped but there are often windows, doors, appliances, and hood areas to be considered. First, calculate the area of the entire wall you plan to cover, then subtract the area of the window or other elements that are on the wall. It is easier when you divide your space into smaller sections – such as left of a range, right of a range, and so on.
Calculating how much tile you need for a kitchen backsplash isn't as complicated as you think! Check out how we broke down the kitchen wall space around cabinets, countertops, and appliances to tile this Skinny Chevron Calacatta Gold Mosaic Tile backsplash!
Measure twice, order once! We hope that this guide has provided you some useful information on how to accurately measure and calculate for your tiling project, and how to avoid the most common mistakes. Whether you’re a first time DIY tile installer or an experienced one, keep these tips and tricks in mind to be a measuring pro! If you still need any help at all measuring up or working things out, just let us know. We’re always here to help!