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Taking Measure of Your Douglas Fir: Knowing how much footage you need

March 31, 2011 by | nell | There have been 0 comments

You’ve found the Douglas fir flooring or trim that you love. You can imagine exactly how that amber-hued Douglas fir will look installed in your home. But now the time has come to put a number on your infatuation. Exactly how much of this stuff do you need to get, anyway?

When it comes to ordering flooring, siding or paneling, you’ll most often hear them measured in one of two ways: lineal feet or square feet.

Lineal Feet

Measure before installing Douglas fir flooring and trim.

A lineal foot is a simple measurement of how long something is. That’s it. The width or the thickness of the product in question doesn’t come into play—a lineal foot just deals with length.

Say, for instance, that you have a rectangular room: 10' wide and 14' long, and you want molding to trim it at the ceiling. Think back to your days in geometry class—what you’re doing here is finding the perimeter. To determine how many lineal feet to buy, you’d simply add up the lengths of all the walls you want to put molding on: 10’ + 14’ + 10’ + 14’ = 48 lineal feet. But not too fast—when you order, you’ll need to get a little bit extra, just in case of mistakes. Or, you might need extra length for mitering the corners. Give yourself a 10% margin of error and order an extra five lineal feet of trim, for a total of 53 lineal feet for your 10’x14’ room.

Square Feet

Square feet are little different. Whereas with lineal feet, you’re just measuring the length of something, square footage gets at the area of the space you are measuring. Let’s step back into our rectangular room and once again recall our geometry basics: to find the area, you need to multiply the length times the width. Ten times fourteen gives you a 140-square foot room. As with any installation, you need to order a little extra to account for possible mishaps. Assume you’ve got 140 square feet of floor space, factor in a 10% overage, and you’ll be all set with 154 square feet of flooring.

Putting them together

But what happens when that’s not the case? Sometimes, you need to convert between the two measurements. For example, if a product is sold by lineal feet and you only know the square footage.

In order to do that, you need to know not just how long a board is, but how wide it is on its face. A board that’s 5 1/8” wide and 12” long, for instance, would be one lineal foot, because lineal footage only takes length into account. But to figure out how many square feet that is, you have to factor in the width, too.

For the board in question, you’d take 12 (the number of inches in a foot) and divide it by the width, which is 5 1/8, or 5.125. The answer is 2.34. That means that in this scenario, with boards of this width, for every square foot, you have 2.34 lineal feet.

Let’s go back to our hypothetical 140-square foot room. You’re using the 5 1/8 boards, and you know that 2.34 lineal feet of this stuff equals one square foot. Multiply the total area—140—by 2.34, and you wind up with 327.8. In theory, that’s how many one-foot-long and 5 1/8” wide sections of board it would take, laid out end to end, to cover the room.

So, just in case you find a product that’s measured only in lineal feet, you can be prepared to order like a pro.

At AltruFir, we try to make things easy on you. Rather than converting from one measurement to the other, we sell our products in the measurement that makes the most sense for the material you want to order. If you’re installing trim, you don’t really need to know the square footage. You’re only putting it around the perimeter of the room, so we sell trim by the lineal foot. When it comes to flooring, you’re not putting it just around the edges of the room. You need to know how much surface area to cover, so we sell flooring by the square foot.

And if you really want to satisfy your inner math wiz and work out exactly how many lineal feet are in your shipment of square-foot-measured Douglas fir flooring? Now you know how to do that too.

- Jennifer Rouse

Photo from aussiegal's photostream at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/14516334@N00/286709039


This post was posted in All Entries, Douglas Fir Flooring, Douglas Fir Trim and was tagged with Douglas fir flooring, douglas fir floors, measuring square footage, measuring lineal footage, measure flooring

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