Let’s say you just moved into your new home and want to install a few carpets. Can you just measure the width and length of your room and buy a carpet to match? Or do you have to go through an exhausting process of finding, cutting, and sizing your carpets? Well, I’m sorry to say, it’s the latter.
In an ideal world, you’d just get a carpet to match your room and install it as is. But as you’re about to find out, the carpet world is far from ideal. Even though carpet measurements can seem confusing, there’s a way you can take advantage of the system. Let’s see how to find the perfect carpet size for your home and how to save some money doing it.
Standard Carpet Width
Most manufacturers in the US make three carpet sizes for residential purposes: 12 feet, 13 feet and 6 inches, and 15 feet. But if you need it for commercial purposes, you can probably special-order 6-foot carpets. Unlike the width, manufacturers can cut the length of the carpet to whatever you need.
Since these are the only carpet widths available, it can be a real hassle to fit them in some rooms. For example, if the width of your room is 7 feet by 10 feet, you’ll have a lot of waste, even if you get the 12-feet carpet.
Another problem with having just three widths to choose from are the seams. If the width of the room is smaller compared to the one from the carpet, you’ll have to cut it. You also won’t have any seams on your carpet.
How to Save Money When Buying Carpet Rolls
Let’s say you need to put carpet in a 100-square-feet room. When you go to the store to buy one, you’ll be offered nine rolls of 12-feet carpet. If you go for this option, you’ll have to pay for a total of 108 square feet.
On the other hand, while you’re at the store, you can ask if they have the 15-square rolls. Since you can get less than eight rolls, you’ll be saving yourself some money. Now, keep in mind that the 12-feet carpets are the most popular size. That is why the sellers might offer them first.
Also, 15-feet carpets might not be as common, so you might have to special-order them. But by working out the math, you might get a better deal on your carpets and save some money.
If you don’t want to cover your entire room, you can always get area carpets. They come in a wide variety of different lengths, widths, and sizes. For smaller rooms, the typical sizes are five by eight feet, six by nine feet, and seven by ten feet. Of course, you can go bigger or smaller, or get custom carpets for your kitchens or closets.
On the other hand, carpet sizes for kitchens and hallways are usually a bit different. Since you need long carpets that are just a few feet wide, you’ll need to get carpet runners.
In addition to being stylish, carpet runners are also extremely useful around the house. If you have hardwood or tile floors, they can become pretty slippery and a potential safety hazard. So, if you have pets, kids, or someone with mobility issues living with you, you should consider a carpet runner.
The two most common types of carpet runners are pre-made and custom. Pre-made runners are usually synthetic and feature some sort of pattern. On the other hand, the custom ones are typically made out of broadloom.
Depending on how wide your staircase is, there are two typical sizes you can get. In most stores, you can get runners that are 27 inches and 33 inches wide. If your staircase is approximately three feet wide, I would go with a carpet that’s 27 inches in width.
How to Measure the Carpet Perimeter
Of course, before you buy any carpet, you need to figure out how much you need. First, start by drawing a rough diagram or sketch of your room. It doesn’t have to be precise; it just has to show all of the angles and corners.
Then, grab your measuring tape and check the distance between your opposing walls. Input that measurement into your sketch and repeat this for all of the walls in your room.
By multiplying the numbers you have in your diagram, you’ll be able to see what the total square footage is. I also recommend calculating the square yardage because some stores sell their carpets by the yards.
Installing a Carpet
If you don’t have the proper tools, installing a carpet on your own can be pretty tricky. Even though you can get by with some smaller tools, I recommend renting the right ones for the job. You will need:
- Carpet power stretcher
- Knee kicker
- Seam iron
- Carpet cutter or utility knife
- Hammer tacker
You’ll also need to prep and clean the area before you start. You can start by removing doors and install tackless strips. First, start by installing your carpet pad and staple all of the pad seems. For commercial applications and a better grip, you can even glue the carpet to the floor.
Once you’ve laid the carpet down, you will also need to trim any access edges. For more in-depth instructions, you can check out this YouTube tutorial on installing carpets.
If you’re working with an irregular-shaped room, installing a carpet could be tricky. You might have a tough time figuring out how much you need if you don’t have any experience installing carpets. So, if you’re feeling unsure about doing the job yourself, I recommend calling in a professional.
As soon as you’re done, you can clean your carpets and start bringing in the furniture. If you don’t want to use commercial-grade carpet cleaners, here are a few natural cleaners that will get the job done.
Things to Consider
The first thing any professional will tell you is that you need to buy 10–20% square feet of carpet than what your room size is. Typically, carpet installers need this to cover any mistakes or mishaps that can happen during the installation process. So, if the width of your room is 12 feet, instead of getting the carpet that matches it exactly, you need to go bigger.
Also, unless your carpet is the perfect fit for your room, you’re going to have some waste. But one way to turn that carpet waste into something useful is with a DIY project.
For example, you could make an ottoman, a scratching post for your kitty, or even a wall hanging. Depending on how much carpet you have left, you can even make an upholstered headboard or mats for your car.
As you’ve seen, the three most common carpet widths are 12 feet, 13 feet and 6 inches, and 15 feet. Most often, when buying at the store, you’ll get the 12-feet roll, simply because it’s the most common size.
But before you can get one, you should measure how much square footage you need. Also, I recommend always calculating what size you need in yardage as well. Don’t forget to add at least 10–20% more square feet to your order.
Even if you have some carpet leftovers, you can always reuse them and make a cool DIY project for your home. With a bit of imagination and a few tools, the possibilities are almost endless.