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Hardwood flooring is a beautiful addition to any home or office; it is warm and inviting while still being practical. However, it is not always the least expensive option. Hardwood flooring will last for decades if you maintain it, which will make it a worthwhile long-term option. Regardless, you don’t want to spend more than you have to on your hardwood flooring. It’s good to know how much flooring you’ll need so that you buy an adequate amount but don’t waste money on flooring you will never need.

Square Footage

The first thing you need to do is establish how much floor space you actually have. In a square or rectangular room, that’s pretty simple. You just multiply the floor’s length by its width. However, if the floor isn’t completely square, you can mark it off to be squares. Mark off different squares across the floor and measure them. Make sure you measure your closets if you intend to put hardwood flooring there.

Once you’ve done that, you should have the ultimate square footage. So, just buy that much wood, right? Well, no. You’ll need to account for waste. A general rule of thumb is that you should add about 10% to an installation with less than 1,000 square feet. So, if you’ve buying hardwood for a 500 square foot room, you should buy about 550 square feet.

For an installation over 1,000 square feet, add about 7% extra. The amount you will add for waste also depends on the wood you choose. A lower grade of wood, such as a cabin-grade for a rustic look, will have more damaged and unusable pieces. That means you’ll need to buy as much as 20 or 25% extra.

If you’re installing on a diagonal or some kind of pattern, you should consider about 15% extra for waste.


Typically, hardwood flooring is sold in cartons or cases. There are 20 square feet in most cartons and 22 square feet in most cases. That might differ depending on the manufacturer or the seller. Some sellers will allow you to buy half-cartons, but most only sell full cartons.

So, if you are flooring a 500 square foot room, you should buy 550 square feet. That’s 27.5 cartons. Round that up to 28 cartons total.

Calculating how much hardwood you need is that easy. You likely won’t waste as much as you account for. That will give you a few leftover planks to replace planks damaged beyond repair.

Looking to install hardwood flooring in Middlesex County, Monmouth County or Union County? Call Prestige Wood Flooring today to schedule your in-home consultation!

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