ArchitectureConstructionConsultingWhat is a Linear Foot in Roofing and How to Calculate

February 9, 2023by Joe0

A linear foot is a unit of measurement used in many different applications. It’s most commonly used to measure length, but it can also be used for other measurements such as area or volume. In roofing, the term “linear foot” is often used when calculating how much material is needed to cover a specific area, particularly the size of shingles or sheets required to cover a roof.

Calculating Linear Feet.

When purchasing roofing materials that are available in linear feet, it is essential to accurately calculate the total linear footage required to cover your roof. To do this, you must first measure the length and width of the roof. Once you have these measurements, you can use a simple formula to calculate the total linear feet needed.

The formula for calculating square feet is: Length x Width = Square Feet. Therefore a roof that is 20 feet multiplied by 10 feet would equal 200 square feet (20 x 10 = 200). To calculate the linear footage of materials needed, divide the total square feet by the width of the material.

For example, if a roof is 200 square feet and the width of the material used is three feet, the linear feet needed would be 200 divided by 3 = 66.7 feet (200/3 = 66.7). Therefore, in this case, you would need 67 linear feet of material to cover the roof.

It is important to note that linear feet are not the same as square feet. Square feet measure area, while a linear foot measures length. Therefore, when calculating the amount of material needed for a roof, you must use linear footage to get an accurate result.

In addition to calculating linear footage for materials, it is also crucial to account for any waste that may be generated during the installation process. This can include anything from waste material due to cutting or trimming to any additional material needed for vents, flashing, or other roof components. The amount of waste should be factored into the total linear footage required to ensure that enough material is purchased and installed on the roof.

Why Linear Feet Over Square Feet?

Linear footage is used on roofing materials instead of square footage for several reasons:

Material Waste Reduction:

Roofing materials are often sold in long rolls or sheets, which can be difficult to cut to specific square footage. By selling roofing materials by the linear foot, it is easier to purchase the exact amount of material needed without much waste.

Improved Accuracy:

By measuring the roof in linear feet, roofers can consider the complexities and curves of the roof’s design, which may not be accurately reflected in a simple square footage calculation. This helps ensure that the correct amount of material is purchased and installed.

Ease Of Installation:

Using linear feet instead of square feet makes it easier to install roofing materials. This is because the measurements are already taken into account, and all you need to do is cut and install the materials in a straight line. This can significantly reduce installation time and make the job much easier for contractors. 

Common Mistakes Made When Calculating Linear Feet.

When calculating the linear footage of a roof, it is vital to avoid common mistakes that can lead to material waste or faulty installation. These include:

Ignoring Curves And Complexities: 

The roof’s design may include curves, valleys, and other complexities that cannot be accurately reflected in a simple linear footage calculation. It is important to take these into account when measuring the linear footage to ensure that the correct amount of material is purchased.

Not Measuring Eaves And Ridges: 

Some people forget to measure the eaves and ridges of the roof when calculating the linear footage. These areas are important, as they also require roofing material.

Using Inaccurate Measurements: 

Mismeasuring the roof can lead to a significant discrepancy in the linear footage calculation. So it is essential to measure the roof carefully and accurately to ensure that the correct amount of material is purchased.

Assuming That The Roof Is Rectangular: 

Some people assume that the roof is a simple rectangular shape when calculating the linear footage. This can be a mistake, as roofs come in many different shapes and designs. Therefore you must accurately measure and consider the roof’s shape and design to calculate the correct linear footage.

Not Including Overhangs: 

People sometimes forget to include overhangs when calculating linear footage. This can lead to inaccurate calculations and material waste. Therefore you must include overhangs in the linear footage measurement to ensure that the correct amount of material is purchased.

Linear footage is an important concept for any roofing project, as it helps to ensure that the correct amount of material is purchased and installed. By understanding how to calculate linear feet from your square feet measurements, you’ll be sure to purchase the correct amount of material for your project.

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