If you are planning to buy or sell materials that are measured by length, such as lumber, flooring, fencing, or piping, you need to know how to calculate a linear foot. A linear foot is a unit of measurement that represents the length of an item, regardless of its width or thickness. Knowing how to calculate a linear foot can help you estimate the cost and quantity of materials you need for your project, or compare prices from different suppliers.

**To calculate a linear foot, simply measure the length of the item in inches and divide it by 12. The result is the linear foot value of the item.** For example, if you have a piece of lumber that is 36 inches long, you can find its linear foot value by dividing 36 by 12, which is 3. This means that the piece of lumber is 3 linear feet long.

## What is the Difference Between a Linear Foot and a Square Foot?

A linear foot and a square foot are different units of measurement that are used for different purposes. A linear foot measures the length of an item, while a square foot measures the area of a surface. A linear foot is a one-dimensional measurement, while a square foot is a two-dimensional measurement.

To find the square foot value of a surface, you need to multiply its length by its width. For example, if you have a rectangular floor that is 10 feet long and 8 feet wide, you can find its square foot value by multiplying 10 by 8, which is 80. This means that the floor has an area of 80 square feet.

You cannot convert a linear foot to a square foot or vice versa, because they measure different things. However, you can use both units of measurement to calculate the cost and quantity of materials you need for your project, depending on how the materials are sold.

## How to Use Linear Feet to Estimate Material Costs

Some materials, such as lumber, flooring, fencing, or piping, are sold by the linear foot. This means that the price of the material is based on its length, not its area or volume. To estimate the cost of these materials, you need to multiply the linear foot value of the material by the price per linear foot.

For example, if you want to buy a piece of lumber that is 8 feet long and the price per linear foot is $2, you can find the cost of the lumber by multiplying 8 by 2, which is $16. This means that the piece of lumber costs $16.

To estimate the quantity of these materials, you need to divide the length of the area you want to cover by the width of the material. For example, if you want to install a fence that is 100 feet long and the fence panels are 6 feet wide, you can find the number of panels you need by dividing 100 by 6, which is 16.67. This means that you need 17 fence panels to cover the area.

## How to Use Square Feet to Estimate Material Costs

Some materials, such as carpet, tile, wallpaper, or paint, are sold by the square foot. This means that the price of the material is based on its area, not its length or volume. To estimate the cost of these materials, you need to multiply the square foot value of the material by the price per square foot.

For example, if you want to buy a carpet that is 12 feet long and 10 feet wide and the price per square foot is $3, you can find the cost of the carpet by multiplying 12 by 10 by 3, which is $360. This means that the carpet costs $360.

To estimate the quantity of these materials, you need to multiply the length and width of the area you want to cover. For example, if you want to paint a wall that is 8 feet high and 12 feet wide, you can find the area of the wall by multiplying 8 by 12, which is 96. This means that you need 96 square feet of paint to cover the wall.

## How to Convert Between Linear Feet and Board Feet

Another unit of measurement that is commonly used for lumber is board foot. A board foot is a volume measurement that represents a piece of lumber that is 12 inches long, 12 inches wide, and 1 inch thick. A board foot is equivalent to 144 cubic inches of wood.

To convert between linear feet and board feet, you need to know the thickness and width of the lumber. To find the board foot value of a piece of lumber, you need to multiply its linear foot value by its width in feet and by its thickness in feet. To find the linear foot value of a piece of lumber, you need to divide its board foot value by its width in feet and by its thickness in feet.

For example, if you have a piece of lumber that is 10 linear feet long, 6 inches wide, and 2 inches thick, you can find its board foot value by multiplying 10 by 0.5 by 0.1667, which is 8.33. This means that the piece of lumber is 8.33 board feet. Conversely, if you have a piece of lumber that is 12 board feet, 6 inches wide, and 2 inches thick, you can find its linear foot value by dividing 12 by 0.5 by 0.1667, which is 144. This means that the piece of lumber is 144 linear feet long.

## How to Calculate a Linear Foot for Different Shapes

So far, we have seen how to calculate a linear foot for straight items, such as lumber, flooring, fencing, or piping. However, some items may have different shapes, such as curves, angles, or circles. How do we calculate a linear foot for these items?

The answer depends on the shape of the item and how it is measured. For some shapes, such as curves or circles, we can use the formula for the perimeter or circumference to find the linear foot value. For other shapes, such as angles or polygons, we can use the formula for the sum of the interior angles to find the linear foot value.

Here are some examples of how to calculate a linear foot for different shapes:

- Curve: A curve is a line that bends or twists. To find the linear foot value of a curve, we need to measure the length of the curve along its path. This can be done by using a flexible tape measure or a string and a ruler. For example, if we have a curved fence that follows the edge of a garden, we can measure the length of the fence by laying a tape measure or a string along the fence and then measuring the length of the tape measure or the string with a ruler. The result is the linear foot value of the curve.
- Circle: A circle is a shape that has a constant distance from a center point. To find the linear foot value of a circle, we need to measure the circumference of the circle, which is the distance around the circle. This can be done by using the formula C = 2πr, where C is the circumference, π is a constant that is approximately equal to 3.14, and r is the radius of the circle, which is the distance from the center to any point on the circle. For example, if we have a circular pool that has a radius of 10 feet, we can find the linear foot value of the pool by multiplying 2 by 3.14 by 10, which is 62.8. This means that the pool has a circumference of 62.8 linear feet.
- Angle: An angle is a shape that is formed by two rays that share a common endpoint. To find the linear foot value of an angle, we need to measure the length of the two rays that form the angle. This can be done by using a ruler or a tape measure. For example, if we have a corner of a wall that forms a 90-degree angle, we can measure the length of the two sides of the wall that form the angle with a ruler or a tape measure. The result is the linear foot value of the angle.
- Polygon: A polygon is a shape that is formed by three or more straight lines that are connected at their endpoints. To find the linear foot value of a polygon, we need to measure the length of each side of the polygon. This can be done by using a ruler or a tape measure. For example, if we have a rectangular floor that has four sides, we can measure the length of each side of the floor with a ruler or a tape measure. The result is the linear foot value of the polygon.

## Conclusion

Calculating a linear foot is a simple and useful skill that can help you estimate the cost and quantity of materials you need for your project, or compare prices from different suppliers. A linear foot is a unit of measurement that represents the length of an item, regardless of its width or thickness. To calculate a linear foot, simply measure the length of the item in inches and divide it by 12. The result is the linear foot value of the item.

We hope this article has helped you understand how to calculate a linear foot and why it matters. If you found this article useful, please share it with your friends and family who might benefit from it. Thank you for reading!

## FAQ

**Q: What is a linear foot?**- A: A linear foot is a unit of measurement that represents the length of a material or object, regardless of its width or thickness. A linear foot is equal to 12 inches or 0.3048 meters. To calculate the linear feet of a material, you simply need to measure its length in feet.

**Q: How do I convert a linear foot to a square foot or a board foot?**- A: You cannot convert a linear foot to a square foot or a board foot, because they measure different things. A square foot measures the area of a surface, while a board foot measures the volume of a material. To find the square foot or board foot value of a material, you need to know its width and thickness, in addition to its length.

**Q: How do I calculate linear feet for cabinets?**- A: To calculate the linear feet for cabinets, you need to measure the length of each section of the cabinets that you want to install or replace. Then, add up all the lengths to get the total linear feet. For example, if you have three sections of cabinets that are 8 feet, 6 feet, and 4 feet long, respectively, the total linear feet is 8 + 6 + 4 = 18 linear feet.

**Q: How do I calculate linear feet for carpet?**- A: To calculate the linear feet for carpet, you need to measure the length and width of the room or area that you want to carpet in feet. Then, multiply the length and width to get the square footage. Next, divide the square footage by the width of the carpet roll, which is usually 12 feet. The result is the linear feet of carpet that you need. For example, if your room is 10 feet by 15 feet, the square footage is 10 x 15 = 150 square feet. Then, divide 150 by 12 to get 12.5 linear feet of carpet.

**Q: How do I calculate linear feet for fence?**- A: To calculate the linear feet for fence, you need to measure the perimeter of the area that you want to fence in feet. Then, add up the lengths of all the sides to get the total linear feet. For example, if you have a rectangular yard that is 20 feet by 30 feet, the perimeter is 2 x (20 + 30) = 100 feet. Therefore, the linear feet of fence that you need is 100 linear feet.