Updated: Jan 28
So...you need new carpet. You have no idea what kind of carpet you want, all you know is you're sick and tired of the carpet you currently have on the floor. You want something different! (fyi, f you want to know how to get the best price for your project, and why learning how to measure your room is so important, read on...). Tweet This Article
You go in to your first flooring store, and OMG! You are completely overwhelmed. Rows and rows of carpet samples. Multiple styles, multiple colors, and multiple manufacturers (that use all kinds of weird, goofy stain protection terminology). Plus, you have pushy sales people that are trying their best to steer you in the direction of their most expense stuff. You are completely confused. Now...
Let's Push The Breaks On This Process...
Before you ever visit a floor covering store, you need to sit down and figure out your budget. How much money are you willing to spend on your carpet project? Now, you might be asking yourself, "I don't know how much carpet costs?" The answer: it does not matter. The only thing that matters to you is: how much money do you have to spend. Once you determine your budget, you can then determine whether or not you want to do the carpet project.
A great comparison would be the old saying of "never go grocery shopping when you're hungry." All of the cost-saving techniques about saving money at the grocery store tell you to make your list before you go shopping. Only purchase those items on the list.
The same applies to carpet. You don't want to just start shopping with no idea what you are looking for in your carpet selection. You will end up getting talked in to some sort of no-interest finance plan, and the next thing you know, you will have spent more money than you wanted too.
How Do You Measure Your Room For Carpet? And..Why Is This Important?
In order for a sales person to quote a carpet project, they need to know the following information:
Size of the area
Is there any furniture?
Is there removal of existing flooring?
Is there any floor preparation?
Cost of the material
Let's go back to that budget number and break it down in to parts: For example, let's say you have a carpet project budget number of $5,000 dollars. You need to figure out how much of that budget is going to be in labor, and how much of that budget is going to be in materials. Your sales person can determine an estimate based on the above information. So, the flooring store can't price out the project until they have the project measured.
If you are going to have the flooring store provide the labor, you should ALWAYS have them come to your home and measure. But, to speed up the process, if you can provide an accurate diagram of your space, they can provide you with a preliminary quote BEFORE they measure.
Things You Need To Consider In Measuring A Room
Make sure you add closets
Don't measure from wall to wall, measure from wall thru the door transition.
Your job is to provide a diagram to the flooring professional, not to determine quantity.
Measure in feet, not inches.
If you have stairs, provide the number of stairs and width of the stair, as well as the size of any stair landings
Add 6" to each of your room measurements.
Be conservative in your measurements.
Keep in mind that most carpets come in 12' widths and need to be installed in the same direction (if the rooms are connected by the carpet)
Your sketch does not need to be a professional drawing.
How Do You Measure Your Room For Carpet - The Wrong Way
Here's an example of the wrong way to create a floor diagram:
While this diagram might be great for some things, it is terrible for a carpet sales person. Why? Here is what the sales person would say...Do these dimensions include the closets? Is the first dimension the width or the length? What are the dimensions of the hall? How wide is the transition from the living room to the kitchen?
Now, Let's Start Talking About The Correct Way To Make A Drawing
Let's take a look at another room diagram:
This diagram shows the width of the room to be 12 ft. When you are putting together your drawing, remember we are adding 6" to each measurement. So, you would show this measurement to be 12'6" wide. The diagram shows the length of the room to be 10 ft. However, if you are measuring for carpet, you need to run the carpet all of the way thru the doorway, plus add your 6". So, your measurement would be approximately 11'0".
As mentioned above, most carpet comes in 12' wide rolls. If you are installing carpet in more than one room, it is important that you draw a diagram that properly shows how the area looks. In order for the carpet to match, the carpet needs to be installed in the same direction. Let's look at another example:
In this example, let's say you are wanting to re-carpet the two bedrooms only. As you can see, each bedroom is clearly defined as being 10'6" wide and 14'5 1/2" long. Add your 6", as well as 6" for the doorways, and these measurements would be more than enough information for your floor covering salesman to determine the amount of material you would need.
But, let's say you want to re-carpet not only the 2 bedrooms, but the hallway, living room and master bedroom. All of these rooms connect. Your flooring professional will need to see the layout, as well as the dimensions of all the spaces. Notice how the master bedroom room length is not even? Your dimension should be from the furthest spot. This diagram has the master bedroom room length as 16'8". You would need to add to this length to account for the extended length by the door.
Your Job Is To Provide A Drawing. The Flooring Store Will Take It From There
You might be wondering, "why am I adding 6" to my measurements, and why am I using the furthest point of a wall (if the wall is not straight)? The answer: because you want to be conservative in your measurements. It's better to get a preliminary quote that is higher, and save money when the final quote comes in, versus having the store tell you their final quote is much higher than the estimated quote (that was based off your drawing).
If your drawing is done correctly, the flooring professional can take your dimensions, figure out the best direction to install the carpet, as well as figure out how much material you will need.
Let's Get Back To That Budget...
Remember, in our example we had $5,000 to work with. We have our drawing in hand, and we have given it to our sales person. Let's ay they have determined that you need 1200 square feet of carpet/pad to complete your project. We have also told them we have existing carpet that needs to be removed, and some furniture that will need to be removed. Based on all of this information, your sales person can now work up a preliminary labor budget. Let's say the labor is going to cost you $1,500 dollars. That means you have $3,500 (budget of $5,000 - $1,500 labor) you can spent on carpet & pad. You need 1200 square feet of material. The carpet/pad you need to shop for needs to be no more than $2.91 a square foot ($3,500 / 1200).
(credit: The fixer)
You can now ask your sales person to show you carpet samples that are in this budget range. Anything you pick below the $2.91 a square foot price, and you will save money. Anything you pick above the $2.91 a square foot price, and you will be above your budget.
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