BLOG - Measuring Areas
Measuring the actual area of floor (or wall for that matter) is not hard. It is a simple length by width, measured in the same unit of length (commonly metres). This will give you a square metre area. Tiles are generally sold by the square metre, hence this is the best way to provide a measurement when purchasing. (Tiles are generally priced by the square metre, but sold in full box amounts. Box sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer ...therefore the box size will actually determine the final square meterage purchased).
There are two things however which become a bit tricky:
-Non square areas, and
-Allowing for waste and cuts.
The easiest way to measure an area is to divide it into squares or rectangles, and then follow the length by width formula. For most main floor areas this is possible. On occasion triangles will occur and their formula for measurement is half base by height (i.e. they are half a square or rectangle).
When measuring an area like a kitchen, it is commonplace to subtract it from the total area, the area under the cabinetry as these are often non-tiled areas. Experience tells us though, that it is good practice to tile under cabinetry, or keep spare tiles equivalent to the area of the cabinetry for later use. It is common for a kitchen to be replaced within the serviceable life span of the tiled area, and should the new cabinetry be of a different size, or new layout, then you will not have spare tiles to fill in voids in laid flooring.
There are standard percentages to allow for cuts and waste. For standard tiling this is 10% additional tiles purchased to allow for breakages and offcuts that are thrown away. This however is where the science of measuring an area becomes a bit of estimation. Reasons for discrepancies occur when,
-tiles are laid on a 45 degree angle for example and therefore less offcuts can be re-used, hence waste should be allowed for at approx. 15%
-large format tiles will require greater allowance as one broken tile can be half a square metre, for example,
-the layout of tiles, particularly large format, will have an impact on allowances, your tiler will have knowledge of this and should be consulted for accurate measuring to include their estimate of wastage based on layout,
-mosaics and small format tiles will conversely have a reduced allowance for wastage
-different tilers will use and layout tiles differently, and therefore use different amount of tile, a DIY'er will also use more tile as there will be an allowance for breakage and cutting errors.
On top of the cuts and wastage allowance, you need to have spare tiles left over at the end of the tiling job to use as replacements during works. It is not uncommon for a plumber or other tradie to break a tile during other installation of taps or towel rails, or to spill a detrimental substance on to a tile, or drop a hammer on site.
You will need to have spare tiles for future damage. Tiles are extremely durable but chips and minor damage can occur over time, and this may be detrimental at certain times, for example when selling a house you may want to fix a chipped tile to have the property looking pristine. It is far cheaper to buy two or three extra boxes of tiles during the initial works, than to have the tiles be discontinued when you actually need spares, being then required to make a decision on replacing the whole tiled area or doing remedial repairs with a "close" match, or having to create a "feature" area.
ALWAYS keep some spares. Tiles are a fashion item and sizes, colours and styles will all go out of fashion within an average 5-7 year period.
We hope this has eased confusion over measuring areas to be tiled, further assistance is never far away at Complete Tiles & Stone....and most of all, enjoy the whole experience!
Read the next blog article : Tile Sizes and Layout