How to Calculate Linear Feet

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Understanding the concept behind measuring and using linear feet is significant when people plan to move to someplace or execute a home improvement project. Linear footage is not a measurement that is to be dealt with regularly, but the insight on how to calculate it is essential. A linear foot is one foot or 12-inch size of length where width and height are not considered. Linear feet are also known as linear footage or length in feet. Linear measurements give an approximate idea of the project’s scope and, together with other parameters, provide an overall price estimate.

Calculating linear footage can help the general public determine how to price their move from one place to another. The public will only have to pay for the space they use in moving trailers measured in linear feet. It also helps them to determine the rates for upholstery or flooring as companies provide certain quotes for linear feet of the spaces in their homes. 

This article will elaborate on linear feet, how to measure linear feet, show its calculations step by step and their applications in practical situations.

Linear Feet Formula

Linear footage is calculated by measuring the lengths of a space or objects in feet using a tape measure and adding them together. Width, height, and thickness measurements are not included. Convert the units using suitable converters if needed.

Linear Feet = sum of linear measurements in inches / 12

What is Linear Feet

A linear foot is a length equal to one foot or twelve inches. The term “linear” means a shape or a movement in a straight line. Therefore, linear foot measurement represents a straight-line measurement excluding the width, height, or thickness measurements. Some objects are publicly sold using this measurement. Linear foot measurements are used to sell lumber, fabrics, materials for flooring and fencing. For example, if a piece of flooring is available that is 10 feet long, 12 inches wide, and 0.5 inches thick, it is 10 linear feet. If another piece is 10 feet long, 6 inches wide, and 0.75 inches thick, it is still 10 linear feet. 

 Table 1: Common Lengths in Linear Feet

Distance in inchesLinear Feet

Significance of Calculating Linear Feet

Various methods of measurement, like square feet and cubic feet, account for width and height along with linear distance. How to measure linear feet comes in handy while determining the space needed in a moving truck or the number of building materials required for a project. In such cases, the width and height will be fixed. However, the linear length will need to be computed. Home improvement projects like building decks, fencing, or bookshelves will generally utilize materials with fixed widths, so how many feet of each material will be needed is required to be calculated. For example, if 2×4″ boards are used, you may need 8 linear feet of board.

How to Calculate Linear Feet

Out of numerous steps while planning a renovation or construction, an important step is to determine the quantities of different materials needed. For many projects, the linear feet of the materials are calculated. Many common construction materials like steel, for instance, are measured in feet and sold by the foot. For some projects, you will need to be able to convert square footage into linear feet of building material. 

Calculation Step by Step

1. Measure the lengths of the objects needed or the space in consideration.

2. Add the lengths together to find the total number of linear feet needed for the project.

3. Convert the units if needed.


Suppose a new kitchen countertop is to be installed. The plan requires a 4-foot length from the wall to the sink, a 5-foot length from the sink to the corner, and a two-foot length to wrap around the corner.

The lengths of the countertop are measured and recorded as below:

The lengths are added together to find the total linear feet.

If any of the dimensions are measured in inches, then they will be converted into feet by dividing the length by 12.

Tips for Calculating Linear Feet

  • By basic definition, linear feet are measured in units of feet. However, the individual pieces may be measured in inches or a combination of feet and inches. It is helpful to first convert all the measurements to inches and then add them.
  • Always convert the sum obtained in inches to feet and inches in your final step.

Calculating Linear Feet in Excel


To calculate linear feet in excel, let’s take an example of a bookshelf project. The owner wants to calculate the different sizes of boards that are to be used into separate categories. Then, the amount of material in each category will be calculated.

The sides of the bookshelf will be constructed with four 3 x 6 boards. The top, bottom, and other three shelves in the middle are built using 2 x 10 boards. In this case, building materials will be divided into two categories, 3×6’s and 2×10’s.

Measure the length of each individual piece and record them in feet.

Calculate the total length of each board separately. Add the lengths of the boards of each size. Keep them exclusively apart and find a separate total for each category. To calculate the total linear feet for each board, put the following formula in cell G5:

= E5 * F5

Copy the formula down column G.

Use total linear feet to determine the cost of materials used. Find the price per foot for each type of material and multiply by the total linear foot obtained to find the approximate cost of the material.

Multiply the unit price with total linear feet by putting the following formula in cell I5:

= G5 * H5

This gives the price for each type of material when measured in linear feet. The prices for the boards can be added to get the total price of the materials used in the bookshelf, which is $93.

The price pie charts generated by the clients or the companies will help them determine the proportions of prices for different types of materials used in the project.

Calculation of linear feet for House Plan

In Construction Projects, the Dimension “linear feet” is usually measured for the Calculation of various Construction materials. Let’s take a real-time house plan and measure the linear feet for this project.

  • Before calculating the total linear feet for this house plan, all the dimensions will be converted from inches to feet. Let’s consider the dimension of Bath 1;

Unit Conversion from inches to feet (1ft = 12in)


Step 2).

Step 3).

Step 4).

  • Similarly, all the measurements would be converted from inches to linear feet. The summation of all sides will give us the perimeter of the house plan.

Total Linear Feet for House Plan (Perimeter)

The Sum of all dimensions (Perimeter) is 529.25ft.


1What is the difference between Linear Feet and Square Feet?Linear footage is a length measurement. Therefore, it is a one-dimensional measurement. However, square footage includes both length and width measurements. It is an area measurement, and hence, it is two-dimensional
2What is the difference between Linear Feet and Cubic Feet?Linear footage is a length measurement. However, if the thickness measurements are recorded as well, it becomes a cubic feet measurement which is three-dimensional.
3How can square footage be converted into linear footage?There is no specific relationship between square feet and linear feet, but it only depends on the width of the objects being used in the project.
4What is the difference between linear feet and regular feet?Linear feet are the same as regular feet. No conversion is necessary. If something is 5 linear feet tall, it is 5 feet tall.

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