4 ways to calculate linear meters

4 ways to calculate linear meters
4 ways to calculate linear meters

It is important to assess the amount of materials needed to complete a home construction or renovation project. In many cases, this comes down to determining this amount in linear meters, as a number of common building materials, such as lumber and steel, are measured and sold by the meter. The width of the lumber can affect the price, for example larger panels cost more, but in the case of structural lumber, you only need to know the linear meters to place an order. In some projects, such as building a backyard, it is sufficient to convert square meters to linear meters to determine the amount of materials needed. However, you will need to factor in the width of the materials in your calculations.


Method 1 of 4: Measure linear meters in general

Calculate Linear Feet Step 1

Step 1. Measure the length of your pieces

Check the project plan and identify all the parts you will need, whatever the nature. Determine the length of each piece separately.

Suppose you are installing a new countertop in your kitchen. You may find a distance of 2m between the wall and the sink, 3m from the end of the sink to the corner of the opposite wall, and another 2m to go around the corner

Calculate Linear Feet Step 2

Step 2. Add up the different lengths

This operation allows you to calculate the number of linear meters needed for your project. Imagine that the different elements are aligned end to end and you need to measure the total length from end to end of the alignment.

In the kitchen counter example, you will need 3 pieces, one of 2m, one of 3m and another of 2m. Thus, the number of linear meters of the materials of the counter will be equal to: 2 + 3 + 2 = 7 m

Calculate Linear Feet Step 3

Step 3. Check the instructions for your project

In some cases, the plan or instructions indicate the number of linear meters required. For example, suppose you are going to knit a sweater. It would be impossible to look at the image of a sweater and figure out how much yarn you will need. Your instructions should contain the number of balls of yarn you will need to purchase somewhere.

Calculate Linear Feet Step 4

Step 4. Convert the units

By definition, "linear meters" are measured in meters. However, the dimensions of the parts of the project can be expressed in centimeters or in meters and centimeters. It might be better to use a single unit for your calculations, such as centimeters, and then convert the result to meters.

Suppose you measured three lengths: 5m, 20cm, and 2.3m. If you convert the sizes to cm, you will have: 500 cm, 20 cm and 230 cm. Add up and you will get a total of: 500 + 20 + 230 = 750 cm. Divide this number by 100 to get meters, or 7.50 m. So the total length in linear meters will be equal to 7.50m

Method 2 of 4: Measure the linear meters of a library shelf

Calculate Linear Feet Step 5

Step 1. Determine the materials for the project

List the parts you will need. For example, classify planks into a particular category based on their dimensions. You will need to assess the amount of material specific to each category.

To illustrate this point, suppose you are planning to make a bookshelf. The corners of the shelf will be made of 4 joists with a section of 45 mm × 80 mm. The top, the bottom and the 3 intermediate shelves will be made of boards, the section of which is 28 mm × 145 mm. In this case, divide your elements into two categories, joists (45 mm × 80 mm) and boards (28 mm × 145 mm)

Calculate Linear Feet Step 6

Step 2. Measure the length of the pieces

First, choose the materials that will be used to complete the project. Next, determine the length of each piece.

  • Be careful not to measure the same items more than once. It may be helpful to prepare a sketch and mark each part as you go.
  • Suppose that for your radius, the 4 joists have a length of 2.4 m and the 5 planks have a length of 1. 20 m.
Calculate Linear Feet Step 7

Step 3. Calculate the total length of each category separately

You will need to determine the amount of each type of material needed to complete your project. Add the lengths of the elements with the same dimensions. Do not mix the different elements and determine the total for each type.

  • The previous project consists of 4 corners formed by joists of 45 mm × 80 mm, having a length of 2.40 m, and 5 elements of 1.20 m each, made from boards of 28 mm × 145 mm (3 shelves plus the top and bottom of the spoke). You can calculate your totals as follows:

    • the joists: 2, 4 m × 4 = 9, 6 m
    • the boards: 1, 20 m × 5 = 6 m
Calculate Linear Feet Step 8

Step 4. Determine the cost of the materials

By calculating the quantities of materials needed to complete your project, you will also be able to assess the cost of your purchases. To do this, find the price per meter of each material and multiply it by the linear footage of the material in question.

  • In the example of the library shelf, you need 9.6m of joists and 6m of planks. Suppose the price of the joists is $ 5 per meter and the planks are worth $ 7 per meter. In this case, the cost of each supply can be calculated as follows:

    • joists: 9, 6 × 5 = 48 €
    • the boards: 6 × 7 = 42 €
Calculate Linear Feet Step 9

Step 5. Be careful while shopping

When it comes to construction projects, one of the rules is to buy slightly more materials than you estimate. You'll pay a little more, but overall you'll save time and even money.

Method 3 of 4: Calculate the linear footage of a platform

Calculate Linear Feet Step 10

Step 1. Determine the area of ​​the platform

Suppose this is rectangular. The surface of the platform will be obtained by multiplying its length by its width.

  • For this example, assume that the length is 4m and the width is 2m. The total area is given by the expression: 4 × 2 = 8 m2 { displaystyle 4 \ times 2 = 8 \ m ^ {2}}

    4\times 2=8\ m^{2}
Calculate Linear Feet Step 11

Step 2. Choose the width of the material you want to use

You will probably find boards in widths between 10cm and 30cm. You will also need to take into account the type of material, i.e. normal wood or man-made composite materials, and how it affects the aesthetics of the final project.

Calculate Linear Feet Step 12

Step 3. Divide the total area by the width of the boards

This will allow you to obtain the linear footage of material that you will need to purchase.

  • For an area of ​​8 m2, if you are using boards with a width of 20 cm (0, 20 m), you will need:

    • linear meters = 8 m20, 20 m = 40 m { displaystyle { text {linear meters}} = { frac {8 \ m ^ {2}} {0, 20 { text {m}}}} = 40 { text {m}}}

      {text{mètres linéaires}}={frac {8\ m^{2}}{0, 20{text{ m }}}}=40{text{ m }}
Calculate Linear Feet Step 13

Step 4. Order additional materials

Probably, some boards will not be fully used. Craftsmen allow about 5% to 10% more material to account for losses. Multiply your values ​​by 1.05 (5%) or 1.10 (10%) to find the linear footage you will need to purchase.

  • For example, if your linear footage is 40, you will have:

    • 40 × 1.05 = 42 m { displaystyle 40 \ times 1.05 = 42 { text {m}}}

      40\times 1, 05=42{text{ m}}
    • 40×1, 10=44 m{displaystyle 40\times 1, 10=44{text{ m}}}
    • 40\times 1, 10=44{text{ m}}
Calculate Linear Feet Step 14

Step 5. Buy more if your design requires it

The above calculations relate to a fairly simple rectangular platform with straight boards. If you plan to do something more intricate, say with diagonal patterns, you will probably need more planks, especially for lining the corners. In this case, you will need to increase your linear footage accordingly.

Method 4 of 4: Calculate linear footage with a calculator

Calculate Linear Feet Step 15

Step 1. Look for a calculator online

Several sites offer them to help you find the linear footage necessary for the realization of your projects. To do your research, use the following keywords: "calculator, linear, meter", adding a short description of your project. As an example, here are some special calculators that might meet your needs.

  • "CÔTÉMAISON" offers practical tools to assess the amount of paint or tiling you need to complete your project. This site notably offers a calculator that allows you to determine the total number of tiles needed to cover a floor area.
  • "Etoffe.com" is a site specializing in upholstery fabrics and wallpapers. It contains a calculator that can determine the number of rolls of wallpaper needed to cover the walls in a room.
Calculate Linear Feet Step 16

Step 2. Gather your measurements

An online calculator will give you an idea of ​​the measurements you will need to take. Usually, the company or agency that created the calculator will ask you to provide certain information. If you are building a platform, you will need to indicate the area and width of the facing boards. To archive rare manuscripts, you will need to specify the number and size of storage boxes. In any case, read the instructions carefully, and enter the information in the appropriate fields.

Some sites will allow you to choose your own units of measure, such as meters or centimeters. Others are pre-programmed for a particular unit. Take a good look at the instructions for use

Calculate Linear Feet Step 17

Step 3. Use the calculator

Enter your data and get your results. In most cases, as soon as you enter the necessary information, the calculator will automatically give you the linear length you want. Examine the site carefully for a "reset" button. You may need to click this button, if you want to do multiple calculations.

Usual formulas for calculating areas

  • A rectangular or square shape: length × width
  • A non-equilateral triangle: (base × height) / 2
  • An equilateral triangle: (√3 ÷ 4) × a2 (a being the length of the side of the triangle)
  • An ellipse (a circular shape): semi-major axis × semi-minor axis × π.


  • Usually, suppliers communicate the dimensions of the products they offer for sale. Take a good look at the labels.
  • Often this is referred to as linear length or linear footage.
  • Remember that sometimes lumber dimensions are approximate and you will need to check with the supplier before placing your order.

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