Thursday, September 9, 2010

Stone Basics - Part 1

We work with stone all the time, so we have learned a number of things about natural stone.  However, because it is something we do every day, we sometimes take for granted the knowledge we have acquired. A person who is just starting to build or renovate room, might not be as familiar with the lingo as we are.  What is tumbled? What does filled mean?  How do I know how much I need to order?    We thought we would throw some basics at you.  We will spread it out into a number of different posts to break it into manageable chunks.

Calculating Square Feet

When you are calculating the area that you need to cover with tile, whether it is the floor or the walls, you generally use the unit of measurement called square feet.  Use a tape measure to measure the length and width of your floor or wall in inches. Then use the following formula to calculate square footage:

Length in inches x Width in inches / 144 = Square Feet

For example if your room measures 132 inches long and 96 inches wide: 
132 x 96 = 12,672 
12,672 / 144 = 88 square feet.

If you have a space that is not a square, like the backsplash of a kitchen wall, just try to break it into square or rectangular sections.  Measure each section individually and then add them all together to come up with the total square feet.

For example in the picture above:

1. Measure the length and width of Area 1
36" x 18" = 648" / 144 = 4.5 square feet.

2. Measure the length and width of Area 2
48" x 36" = 1728" / 144 = 12 square feet.

3. Measure the length and width of Area 3
36" x 18" = 648" / 144 = 4.5 square feet.

4. Add them together and get 4.5 + 12 + 4.5 = 21 square feet.

It is not a bad idea to do a quick measurement of your space when you begin to shop for tile.  Even if your measurement is not exact, when you walk into a store with a ballpark estimate, it gives you a better idea of what kind of budget you should be working with.  Tile going for $5 per square foot will set you back $105 (using the 21 square foot backsplash shown above.)  If you are looking at tile that costs $50 per square foot, you'll be paying $1,050.  Knowing how much you will need to buy will save you time by narrowing down your choices right away.

How many tiles in a square foot?

The answer to this depends on what size tile you are using.  Here is a quick chart:

Tile size
in inches
Number of tiles in
1 square foot

To all of those visual learners out there, here is what 1 square foot of tile looks like in both 6x6 and 4x4 sizes.

Stay tuned for the next exciting installment, where we'll talk about the characteristics of the different types of natural stone that we carry and give you the scoop about terms like honed, tumbled and filled. 


Avente Tile said...

Helpful post to tile newbies that makes the basics crystal clear!

Jennifer Hunsicker said...

Great post! It is always good to be prepared before you walk into a showroom. I'm looking forward to the next lesson!