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How to Calculate Linear Footage

Sean Lancaster

Calculating linear feet is important in many areas of home construction and improvement. Knowing how much wood to order for the construction of a home, deck or new addition requires a measurement of linear feet.

Calculate the linear feet of material required for a project.

If you are laying new carpet or linoleum or are wallpapering a wall, you must know the linear feet of material that is required. A linear foot is the length of something. Both a 12-foot, 2-by-4-inch board and a 12-foot, 1-by-12-inch board are 12 linear feet.

  1. Measure the length of the area that you need to cover or build. The length of the area in feet is the same as the linear feet measurement. When only one dimension is required, then linear feet is the same as a normal length measurement.

  2. Measure the width of the area that you need to cover.

  3. Divide the width of the area by the width of the material to find the number of rows of material required.

  4. Find the total linear feet by multiplying the linear footage by the number of rows. For example, covering a wall with wallpaper that is 18 inches wide and 8 feet high requires eight linear feet of paper. This is only for one strip of wallpaper. To calculate the linear feet required to cover a wall that is 9 feet long, figure 9 X 12 = 108 inches and 108 / 18 = 6; six rows of paper are needed to cover a 9-foot room. The total linear feet would then be 6 X 8 = 48, yielding a measurement of 48 linear feet.