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.
However, as shown in this guide, when you break down the calculations into stages, it’s relatively straightforward to work out how many boxes of laminate flooring you need.
How Many Boxes of Laminate Flooring Do I Need – A Step-by-Step Guide
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.
2. Subtract any intrusions
If there are any jut-ins, such as a fireplace, calculate the total floor space and then subtract the jut-ins.
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.
Moreover, many rooms are irregularly shaped, so the maximum length and width dimensions won’t be accurate. In this case, read our guide to installing laminate flooring in an L-shaped hallway.
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.
Calculating the required number of laminate flooring boxes for a particular room or area is basic maths, and using an online calculator like Wood Floor Warehouse’s laminate floor calculator makes it even easier.
Remember, always retain a few spare planks (or even an unopened box) in case of future damages or water leaks.
Once you’ve purchased your boxes, follow our guide on laying laminate like a pro.