how many boxes of laminate flooring do i need

How Many Boxes of Laminate Flooring Do I Need? (DIY Guide)

Laminate flooring is an obvious choice for a hallway or well-used room, but its installation poses various challenges. 

Unlike carpet and vinyl, which are typically contained in vast four or five-metre rolls ready to be cut to size, laminate flooring is sold in boxes. These boxes vary considerably in volume, complicating any calculations on quantities.

The question of “how many boxes of laminate flooring do I need” could potentially drive a nervous DIYer into the hands of a professional supplier and installer. Yet when you break down the calculations into stages, it’s relatively straightforward to work out required quantities. 

We explain everything you need to know below.

How Many Boxes of Laminate Flooring Do I Need – A Step-by-Step Guide

stack of unused laminate flooring

We’re assuming in this guide that you’re looking to floor a single room. If the laminate will extend under the door into a corridor or adjoining space, repeat sections 1-3 below for each area and then add the totals together.

1. Measure at the widest points

Digital measuring devices occasionally deliver incorrect readings, so we recommend using a traditional tape measure. 

Get someone to hold it against one skirting board and extend it to reveal the room’s maximum length and width at its furthest points. Multiply them to give your gross floor area, ensuring you don’t make the classic mistake of mixing inches and centimetres.

Some people prefer to add their measurements to a pencil sketch of the room, giving them a visual representation of their calculations. Watch the video below if you find it easier to envisage things in pictorial form.

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2. Subtract any intrusions

If there are any jut-ins (such as a fireplace beside the alcove you’ve just measured into or an intrusion from a neighbouring room), calculate the total floor space first and then calculate and subtract the measurements of the jut-ins. Many rooms are irregularly shaped, so the maximum length and width dimensions won’t be accurate in isolation.

If the room is broken up with an accessible intrusion like a built-in cupboard, you might prefer the laminate to flow under the door and continue inside. Measure this space separately and add it to the total.

If you’re planning to floor an irregularly-shaped space, read our guide to installing laminate flooring in an L-shaped hallway for inspiration and advice.

3. Consider skirting boards

If you’re using beading, each laminate plank will stop about 6mm ahead of the skirting boards. 

However, if you’re going to lay the laminate underneath the boards, you’ll need more material. Measure the skirting board depth, double it to include the skirtings across the room, and add this figure to each maximum length or width measurement. 

Once you have removed the skirting boards, you’ll be laying planks almost up to the wall (again, leaving a few millimetres for expansion in warm weather). 

4. Multiply by ten per cent

Ten per cent is a rule-of-thumb figure designed to allow for offcuts and waste, which you will inevitably create. 

You might need a narrow strip of laminate planks to finish one side of a room, or there could be an odd warped/damaged board in a box. It’s also a good idea to finish up with one or two spares in case a plank subsequently has a heavy object dropped on it.

If you’re using a patterned laminate, increase the percentage to twenty per cent. As with wallpapering a room, you’ll end up with considerably more waste if you try to align a specific pattern.

Pro Tip: You don’t need to calculate the gross floor area calculations for underlay since this can be cut to size and shouldn’t involve much wastage.

5. Check the coverage in one box of laminate planks

Manufacturers publish on the outside of each laminate box how much coverage that box provides. This coverage often ranges between 1.5 and 1.8 square metres, though American imports are measured in square feet.

Multiply square metre figures by 10.7 to get the equivalent square footage figure, and multiply the total square footage by 0.092 to see its coverage in metres.

If your room measures 18 square metres, you’ll need 20 sq. m of laminate once you add on the ten per cent calculation. Divide this figure by the coverage in each box to determine the total number of boxes required. If each box provides 2 sq. m of coverage, the magic number in this example would be ten.

You can read more about flooring volumes contained in a typical box in this Purplepedia guide.

6. If possible, order from the same batch

Although manufacturers try to standardise the quality of their laminate flooring, there can be subtle differences between different manufacturing batches. 

Choosing wallpaper rolls from the same batch is always advisable, so do the same with boxes of laminate where possible. Otherwise, you might have to order extra boxes because one set of planks has a slight colour variation from the rest.

Final Thoughts – How Many Boxes of Laminate Flooring Do I Need

empty room with laminate wood flooring

As we’ve seen, calculating the total number of laminate flooring boxes required for a particular room or area is a simple matter of basic maths.

Remember, it’s always advisable to retain a few spare planks (or even an unopened box) in case of future damages or water leaks which can maximise their longevity.

Another way of extending your laminate’s life is by giving them a coat of paint. Our guide to painting laminate flooring explains how to freshen up the appearance of new and old planks.