How Much Do You Need: Tile and Vinyl Flooring

Use our handy tricks and tips for finding out how much you need to do your home's tile flooring.

Tile and Vinyl Flooring

  • Make a scale drawing of your room with all measurements clearly marked, and take it with you when you shop for tile flooring. Ask the salespeople to help you calculate your needs if you have rooms that feature bay windows, unusual jogs or turns, or if you plan to use special floor patterns or tiles with designs.

Ceramic Tile

  • Ceramic tiles for floors and walls come in a range of sizes, from 1x1-inch mosaics up to 12x12-inch (or larger) squares. The most popular size is the 41⁄4-inch-square tile, but there is a trend toward larger tiles (8x8s, 10x10s, 12x12s). Installing these larger tiles can be a challenge because the underlayment must be absolutely even and level.
  • Small, one-inch mosaic tiles are usually joined together in 12x12-inch or 12x24-inch sheets to make them easier to install. You can have a custom pattern made, or you can mix different-color tiles to create your own mosaic borders, patterns, and pictures.

Sheet Vinyl

  • Sheet vinyl typically comes in 6- and 12-foot widths.
  • If your floor requires two or more pieces, your estimate must include enough overlap to allow you to match the pattern.

Vinyl Tile

  • Vinyl tiles generally come in 9- and 12-inch squares.
  • To find the number of 12-inch tiles you need, just multiply the length of the room by the width in feet (rounding fractions up to the next foot) to get the number of tiles you need. Add 5 percent extra for cutting and waste. Measure any obstructions on the floor that you will be tiling around (such as appliances and cabinets), and subtract that square footage from the total. To calculate the number of 9-inch tiles, divide the room’s length (in inches) by 9, then divide the room’s width by 9. Multiply those two numbers together to get the number of tiles you need, and then add 5 percent extra for cutting and waste.

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