From the Floor Up

How Much Tile Flooring Do You Need? 4 Steps to Success!

Posted by Daltile Team on Aug 14, 2015 8:30:00 PM

River Marble in Smoky River 12 x 24

You’ve put in all kinds of time designing your new tile flooring, now it’s time to get serious and talk numbers. How much tile flooring do you need exactly? And how is that affected by the size, shape, and type of tile you choose?

All those aspects, and more, influence how much tile you’ll need to purchase. Whether you are ready to buy or you are planning the budget, use these four steps to determine how much tile you’ll need.

To ensure you get the right amount of tile, you’ll need to consider these four things:

•    Room shape
•    Room size
•    Angled walls and non-tiled areas
•    Size of tile

Below are more details about how to correctly calculate how much tile you’ll need. Or if you’d rather, try out the Daltile Tile Calculator where you can work with an interactive program that will generate a report for you.

1.   Think about Room Shape

The general layout of the room is a good place to begin when calculating how much tile you need for your floor.  Most rooms are not perfectly square or rectangle. “L” shapes or “T” shapes are common, but even these are rarely that straightforward. There is always some corner that’s nipped off or a wall that isn’t completely straight.

All these elements make an accurate measurement difficult. But if you start with the general shape of the room, you can easily add or deduct for the unique elements of your space. Take the measurements of every angle of your room. Measure everything twice to ensure accuracy.

2.    Measure the Room Size

The next step is to calculate the square footage of your room. Once again, the little quirks can complicate this, but for now just get the basics. For squar-ish rooms, measure the length and width of the room then multiply them together. For “L” or “T” shaped rooms, split them into rectangles that can easily be calculated (as above) then add them together.

You haven’t accounted for the quirks of the room, but keep in mind that overage is not a bad thing when installing tile. In fact, we recommend that you get 10–15% more tile than you need to cover for cuts and mistakes.  Keep a few leftover tiles around just in case it goes out of stock or is discontinued--you never know when you’ll need to make a repair.

Don’t forget to measure any closets or pantries that you want to include in your calculations.

3.    Calculate for Angled Walls and Non-Tiled Areas

Like we said before, no room is exactly square. If you have angled walls or specific areas that will not be tiled, you don’t want to calculate for those spots. The easiest way to account for this is to deduct them from your earlier, general measurements.

The easiest way to do this is to draw your room on some graph paper. Let each square represent 12 inches or one foot. With careful measurements, draw in where the angled walls are. You’ll be able to see how much to deduct from the area you calculated earlier.

Large Paredon Pattern

4.    Select Tile

Now it’s time to determine how much tile you need to cover your room. Several things are important to consider at this phase:

•    Tile thickness
•    Space between tile placements
•    Pattern or layout of tile
•    Size of tile
•    Border or accent tile

Tile thickness doesn’t necessarily affect the square footage you need, but it might affect things on the surface of your floor like doors and transitions to other rooms or other surfaces.

The joints between tiles add to the square footage of your room a little bit. It can minimally influence how much tile you’ll need. Different tiles call for different joints. Check the specs on your tile to see what’s recommended. Some tiles require a minimal joint (1/16”) if the edges are rectified. And some tiles, like Saltillo style, make small irregularities part of their beauty and need a wider joint to account for differences between tiles.

The pattern and size of the tile are the key influencers in determining how much tile you need. In general, a diamond pattern will require more tile than a grid. Visit our tile pattern page to see how different patterns affect how much tile you’ll need.

Take your total calculated area and divide it by the following numbers depending on the size of your tile to determine how much you need:

4-inch tiles: 0.1089
6-inch tiles: 0.25
9-inch tiles: 0.5625
12-inch tiles: Your square footage correlates directly to the tile, which is one foot square.
18-inch tiles 2.25

If you plan to include a border or accent tiles, you’ll need to calculate separately for each type of tile you are using, especially if you are using different sizes or patterns as an accent.


If you are having difficulty figuring out how much tile flooring you need or you want to double-check your calculations, run them through a tile calculator or tile dealer. You can also have your architect or builder come measure your room and run the calculations for you to ensure you get a reliable number.

Calculate Your Tile

Topics: How to Install Tile

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