How to Calculate Flooring Wastage

No matter how good you or your fitting might be at the intricate and ancient art of laying flooring, there’s an important factor that folks often forget to include with their order…



Whether you’re working with solid wood, laminate, carpet, vinyl, or engineered flooring, it’s important to remember that all flooring of all types has a waste factor. For carpets and vinyl this could be to do with the roll width or the shape of the room. Or it could even be due to a hatchet job cutting the carpet for unusual room shapes.

For wooden floors, there will be waste due to a number of factors. The condition of the material, the installation process, and the experience level of the fitter can all be a factor.  Wastage can also be a result of personal preference, but we’ll have a little more on that later. All manufacturers and retailers recommend that a percentage of wastage is added to a total to make sure there is enough flooring to finish the job.


Wastage Flooring Fitting

A 5 to 7% percent addition to your order is usually more than enough. When ordering from Discount Flooring Depot we helpfully remind you to add 5% wastage when calculating how many packs you’ll need. It’s better to order too much now, rather than running short and having to pay and wait for the next batch to arrive to finish the job. Especially if you’re paying for a fitter.

Here’s a few reasons why wastage is essential.


Condition of Material


With a laminate floor, wastage can be caused due to the condition of the material. It should be miminal here, as laminate flooring is mass produced and each plank should be fairly indentical, without any real defects.

Solid and engineered wood products are natural, so naturally, there’s a greater chance of imperfections. They could be the degree of knots, sapwood, grain, or even the colour variation. The percentage of waste will depend on the grading of the wood. Over on our website, we have two types, BCD Rustic Grade and AB Prime Grade. A Rustic Grade floor will have more knots, filler, and imperfections, but also looks more like authentic, real wood.

Prime Grade is the highest quality type of floor we provide. It’s slight colour variation and low knot content makes it a gorgeous, even floor that’ll require very little wastage, outside of a little extra for mistakes and accidental damage.


Wastage Rustic Grade

Rustic Grade


Wastage Prime Grade

Prime Grade



Even the most God-like handymen, with fibonacci levels of flooring skills, will have wastage when it comes to the installation of a wooden floor. If you want to create a natural looking floor, it’s best practice to stagger boards across the floor, or use a random length product. To create a staggered effect, the starting plank in each row will need to be cut shorter  – to make sure the floor doesn’t look too uniform.

The ending plank in each row will rarely be a perfect fit, so again, planks need to be cut, which – yep, you guessed it, causes even more wastage.


So to make it a little more visual… Stagger your floor, like this.

Wastage Staggered Floor

Don’t do this.

Wastage weird floor

Experience of Fitter

A popular phrase used in the flooring industry is ‘measure twice, cut once’. Which kind of sounds like something the Dalai Lama might say. While it’s good as a sound bite and also pretty decent sage piece of advice for life, it applies to flooring too.

Both professionals, and those turning their hand to DIY for the first (and perhaps last) time are encouraged to always double check their measurements before cutting. Whether you’re fitting yourself or hiring a pro, add 5 to 7% wastage just to be on the safe side, no matter how experienced you may be, or how much your future fitter may toot his own horn.


Wastage floor fitter

This man’s shoe laces are untied, you can’t trust his wastage advice.

Wastage is also helpful for future proofing your floor. If you don’t need to use it all, an extra pack or two set aside can be perfect if you need to replace a few damaged planks further down the line. Flooring ranges are often discountinued or changed, and it’s much cheaper to replace a few damaged planks – especially when you’ve already bought them – than it is to purchase an entirely new floor.


Looking for a fitter? Try MyBuilder!


Personal Preference

If you order an engineered or solid wood floor, there will be realistic knotting and grain variation, as you’d find on a real tree, of course.

If you’re not sure about planks that are too dark, too light, or too knotted, it can be a good idea to order extra wastage to allow you to mix and match planks you do and don’t like.

This will also mean you’ll have spare planks further down the line to replace damage, which can be helpful if a range is discontinued, as mentioned above. It’s simple, if you’ve got extra planks, then it means that you can pick and choose your favourites and store the leftovers safely away for any accidental damage.

For more flooring advice, have a look at our Complete Flooring Guide.

Or if you’re having trouble with your floors lifting or squeaking, we can help with that too.

Got any other flooring advice? Leave a comment below and help out your fellow flooring friends.

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