Measuring Advice

From on July 08, 2009 in Tools and Tips

measuringtape.jpgPhoto credit: padsbrother

Many a-time, while attempting to do household carpentry work, I thought I had made precise measurements, right down to the millimeter. Only to find out these spot-on calculations were not so accurate. And predictably, what followed was the raised fist and a string of expletives a mile long.

Okay, so I committed the cardinal sin of carpentry, the whopper of woodworking. When it comes to measuring, taking the easy way out will come back to bite you.

The first rule is to double check your work, and even triple check it if necessary. Measure twice and cut once, as they say.

We all know getting the right measurements is important in any DIY project. Whether installing new windows, calculating flooring materials, or gathering enough roofing supplies, it all requires accurate measuring. The pros already know this saves time and money. Follow these measuring tips to achieve more precise home improvement projects.

Figure Out Square Footage

You want to know how much flooring material is needed to cover the existing floor. All you have to do is find the longest section of the room and multiple it by the width of room. For example, let’s say the room is 20 ft. in length and 10 ft. in width. This means you multiply length by width. Therefore the square footage of the room would equal 200.

Measuring Windows

Whether the windows are arched or standard casing windows, all measurements should be taken from inside the window frame. It’s also recommended that you use only a steel measuring tape, avoid cloth measuring strips, and never use a ruler. When picking out new windows, you may get asked about the dimensions of the inside mount. The inside mount is referring to the bottom width and center vertical height from inside an arched window frame. If you have arched windows, this calculation is very important to get right.

Calculating Roofing Supplies

The basic idea is to measure the roof’s length and then multiple it by its height. To make this easier, break it down into smaller sections. Start measuring height and length until the entire roof’s statistical data is accounted for. I strongly recommend drawing an overhead diagram of the roof. This will help organize the measurements more accurately. Use a color coded system to indicate length and height of different roof sections. To figure out the square footage of each section multiple the length by height and then divide the answer by two. This will give you square footage for that particular section. For the entire roof, add all the measurements up and divide by 100. This will give you total square footage for the whole roofing project. I recommend going to for a step-by-step tutorial.