How to Determine Square Feet Area

Definition of Square Footage

Square footage is a measurement of area, and area is the measurement of any two-dimensional space contained within a set of lines. Think of it in the sense of a dance floor. Take a moment to imagine a dance floor that is 20 feet by 20 feet (6.09 meters by 6.09 meters). How do we express the area that it takes up? This one is easy, because the dance floor is a square. We simply multiply the width of the floor by the length of the floor, 20 feet times 20 feet equals 400 square feet. Therefore, the total area of the dance floor is 400 square feet (37.2 square meters). The equation is the same for a rectangle [source: MCWDN].

Area of a square or rectangle = Width x Length

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It’s important to keep in mind that a square foot doesn’t necessarily have to be shaped like a square. The dance floor above could be shaped like a triangle and cover the same amount of area. If you were asked to determine the area of a triangle or a circle, the equation would be different, but the concept is the same. Plug in the right numbers and you’ll get the right answer. Both equations are listed below.

Area of a triangle = ½ (Base x Height)

Area of a circle = 3.14 x radius2

So we’ve established that the square in square feet doesn’t refer to shape. All measurements of area are expressed in square units — the standard foot just happens to be the unit used in U.S. real estate.

Read on to find out how to calculate the square footage of a house.

It’s Hip to Be Square­­ Most houses are shaped like rectangles or squares, which makes calculating the square footage easy, whether you’re measuring outside or inside the home. But what if you need to measure inside a house that has an odd number of walls and corners that aren’t 90 degrees? That doesn’t have to be difficult either. Just break it down into smaller rectangles, squares and triangles. Then determine the square footage of each individual section and add them together.

How to Calculate Square Footage

Square footage is area expressed in square feet. Likewise, square yardage is area expressed in square yards.  Square meters is also a common measure of area.

Assume you have a rectangular area such as a room and, for example, you want to calculate the square footage area for flooring or carpet.

The way to calculate a rectangular area is by measuring the length and width of your area then multiplying those two numbers together to get the area in feet squared (ft2). If you have on oddly shaped area, such as an L-shape, split it into square or rectanglualar sections and treat them as two separate areas. Calculate the area of each section then add them together for your total. If your measurements are in different units, say feet and inches, you can first convert those values to feet, then multiply them together to get the square footage of the area.

Convert all of your measurements to feet

  • If you measured in feet skip to “Calculate the Area as Square Footage”
  • If you measured in feet & inches, divide inches by 12 and add that to your feet measure to get total feet
  • If you measured in another unit of measure, do the following to convert to feet – inches: divide by 12 and that is your measurement in feet – yards: multiply by 3 and that is your measurement in feet – centimeters: multiply by 0.03281 to convert to feet – meters: multiply by 3.281 to convert to feet

Calculate the Area as Square Footage

  • If you are measuring a square or rectangle area, multiply length times width; Length x Width = Area.
  • For other area shapes, see formulas below to calculate Area (ft2) = Square Footage.

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How to calculate how many pieces of bullnose you will need?

If you have ten feet exposed edge that needs bullnose this is equal to 120″.  If you selected a 6″ bullnose or trim piece, you will need to divide 120″ by 6″, which will give you 20 pieces of bullnose needed.  Using 8″ decorative liner for the same 120″, you divide 120″ by 8″ which would be 15 pieces of liner needed.

How many square feet is a 12×12 room?

The square footage of a room measuring 12 feet wide by 12 feet long is 144 square feet. To calculate this you simply multiply the width by the height. 12ft × 12ft = 144 sq ft.

How to find the square footage of a rectangle

  1. Measure the width and length of the area in feet.
  2. Multiply your length and width together to get your area.

Note: If your measurements aren't in feet, convert them to feet first using our length converter.

Once you've carried out your calculation, you will have your square feet (ft2) figure. To calculate your cost of materials, simply multiply this figure by your price per square foot.

Methods for how to calculate square feet for different shapes

Different shapes have different ways of calculating square footage. For all the shapes, it may be helpful to convert the measurement of the shape into square feet before making your calculation. Converting the measurements can help you keep the shape to scale, especially if the sides have different measurements, such as feet and inches or yards and meters. You could also perform the calculation and then convert the final measurement to square feet to achieve the same result.

Use the methods below to help you calculate square feet for seven different shapes:

How to calculate square feet for squares and rectangles

Squares and rectangles use the same formula to calculate square feet. This formula is:

A = length x width

In this equation, "A" is the total area of the shape in square feet. The length is the measurement of one side of the shape in feet and the width is the measurement of another side of the shape in feet. You can use the steps below to calculate the square footage of squares and rectangles with the formula above:

  1. If necessary, convert your measurements for each side of the shape into feet.

  2. Multiply the length and the width of the shape together to get the area of the square or rectangle in square feet.

How to calculate square feet for triangles

The square footage formula for triangles is:

A = 1/2 base x height

In this equation, "A" is the area of the triangle in square feet, "1/2 base" is the length of the bottom side of the triangle in feet and the height is the vertical distance from the bottom side of the triangle to the top corner in feet. You can use the following steps to calculate the area of a triangle:

  1. Convert the measurements for the base and height into feet.

  2. Divide the length of the base by two to get half of the base.

  3. Multiply half the base by the height to find the square footage area of the triangle.

How to calculate square feet for circles

To calculate the area of a circle, it's necessary to use the number pi, which is represented by the symbol π. You can use the decimal 3.14 to represent the value of pi. The formula to calculate the square footage of a circle is:

A = π x radius2

In this equation, "A" is the total square footage, π is equal to 3.14 and the radius is the distance from the exact center of the circle to the outside edge in feet. To calculate the area of a circle, use the following steps:

  1. If it isn't already in feet, convert the measurement for the radius into feet.

  2. Multiply the length of the radius by itself to get feet squared.

  3. Once you've calculated the square feet of the radius, multiply that result by pi to get the total area of the circle in square feet.

How to calculate square feet for trapezoids

To calculate the square footage of a trapezoid, you can use the formula:

A = [(base length + top length) / 2] x height

In this equation, "A" is the total area of the shape in square feet. The base length is the length of the bottom of the trapezoid in feet, and the top length is the length of the top of the trapezoid in feet. The height is the vertical distance from the base length to the top length of the trapezoid in feet. You can use the following steps to calculate the area of a trapezoid:

  1. If necessary, convert the measurements for the base length, top length and height into feet.

  2. Add the base length and the top length together to calculate the area for the nonrectangular sections of the trapezoid created by the diagonal sides.

  3. Divide the sum of the base length and the top length by two to ensure you account for the diagonal sides in the equation.

  4. Multiply that result by the height to find the area of the trapezoid in square feet.

Related: Rules of Multiplication: Definition and Examples

How to calculate square feet for rhombuses

To calculate the square footage of a rhombus, you can use the following formula:

A = distance from one pair of opposite angles x distance from the other pair of opposite angles

In this equation, "A" is the area of the rhombus in square feet and the distances from both pairs of opposite angles are in feet. You can calculate the area of a rhombus using the following steps:

  1. Convert the measurements for the distances of the rhombus into feet if necessary.

  2. Multiply the interior lengths, which are the distances from opposite angles within the rhombus, to find the area in square feet. The interior lengths intersect with each other at the center of the shape.

How to calculate square feet for parallelograms

To calculate the square footage of a parallelogram, you can use the formula below:

A = base x height

In this equation, "A" is the area of the parallelogram in square feet, the base is the length of the bottom side of the parallelogram in feet and the height is the vertical distance from the base of the parallelogram to the top side in feet. You can calculate the square footage of a parallelogram using the steps below:

  1. If necessary, convert the measurements for the base and height into feet.

  2. Multiply the base by the height of the parallelogram to find its area in square feet.

Area = √s(s-a) (s-b) (s-c)

s = Perimeter/2

Perimeter = 11 + 15 + 14 =40

S = 40/2 = 20

Area = √20(20-11) (20-15) (20-14)

Area= √20(9)(5)(6)

Area= 73.4847 sq. ft. 

How to Calculate Square Feet for a Circle

Calculate the square footage of a circle by using the formula: A=πr2Where A = Area of the circle

Π = 3.14159

r = radius (Tip: To find the radius of the room, simply divide the diameter by two). 

Example:

Calculate the square footage of a round room with a 12ft diameter. 

To solve the problem: 

  1. First calculate the radius, which is half the diameter. 12/2 = 6ft.

  2. Next solve for the area using A=πr2  where π= 3.1415

3.1415 x (6)2 =   3.1415 x 36 

Area = 113.094 sq. ft.

How to Calculate Square Feet of an Irregular Shape

To calculate the square footage of an irregular shape, divide the irregular shape into smaller shapes, find the area of each, and then add up all the results. 

Example:

Find the area of the irregular figure below.  

To find the square footage of the area, divide the irregular shape into multiple squares or rectangles, labeled A, B, C, and D. 

Find the Area of A, B, C and D. 

Total Square Foot = Area of A + Area of B + Area of C + Area of D

How is Calculating Square Feet Used in Real Life?

Square footage is used in many professions, including some of the most popular six figure jobs. For instance, software engineers or lawyers looking to expand will rely on square footage when shopping for a new office. Similarly, construction managers who oversee the implementation of new projects use square footage numbers to ensure they have enough materials to finish the project they are working on.

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