What Is A Linear Metre: The Easy Way To Calculate

When it comes to something like home renovation, no matter how small or large the project is, at some point, it is going to require much measurement and you’re going to need to get your calculator out to see if you have enough materials. It may be necessary to measure a rug for the floor, to mount a television on the wall, set up a kitchen island, or work out how much flooring you need based on the width of the carpet. A person usually measures the length, height, and width of something when determining its size. But a linear or lineal metre is a measurement in a single dimension, making the measurement process different from measuring square meters.

Thousands of people are searching online for new homes to buy and places to rent at record levels. In one part of the world, a square meter is the most common measurement when searching for a place to rent or buy online, however, linear meters may also come up occasionally, and if you’re in North America, it’s linear feet and square feet.

How does a linear metre work? A linear metre represents the amount of space an object occupies in one direction within a room, truck, or other area with a level floor.

What Is A Linear Metre And How Do I Calculate It?

When it comes to linear metres, it is all in the name. Measured in a straight line in a single direction, it is equal to 100 centimeters (1 metre). And there you have it – a linear meter. When doing this kind of measurement, ignore the width, just focus on the length. It might also help to check out our article on tips for measuring linear metre for different types of materials. This is important because the idea of a linear meter takes on slightly different contexts if you’re talking about a linear meter of pipe vs a linear meter of drywall.

Square Meters And Linear Meters Compared

Space is usually measured in square metres in homes and apartments. These two measurements differ exactly like their names suggest. “Area” refers to a squared area. This is a measure of square metres in two dimensions. The term is usually used in relation to the size of a floor. A linear meter is a unit of measurement that measures length in one direction, such as to answer the question ‘How long is this room?’. It is a measurement along one line only.

When To Use Linear Metres

Calculating the amount of space that an object will take up using the linear meter measurement is useful and also easy. For example, you may want to rent a storage unit. Depending on whether you will be storing furniture, mattresses, or motorcycles, you may need a specific number of linear metres.

The same can be said for moving house time. A self-service truck rental company, such as U-Haul or a similar company, maybe your best option if you are moving not too far, as you can manage the process with an extra trip if you run out of room on the truck. In contrast, if you’re moving to a distant place and must use a company to move your stuff, obtaining an accurate estimate of the amount of space you’ll occupy in a truck becomes crucial to your wallet. 

The amount of linear metres that your furniture occupies in the truck is often charged by freight movers rather than by weight or distance. Thus, you will not need to pay for an entire truck or extra for heavy items. You will only be required to pay for how much linear space your belongings will take up in the truck. By measuring how long your items are and therefore how many metres length they take up in a truck, the moving company can give you an estimate on the price for the move.

As you browse DIY material on the internet, you may have noticed that a linear meter (sometimes called lineal metre) is not the same measurement as a square metre.

In the metric system, a linear meter indicates a measurement in one direction, regardless of its width, while a square meter value is a measurement of how many symmetrical 1-meter length by 1-meter width portions there are in an area you want to measure. 

Essentially, these measurements are two ways of calculating how much material you need for an area, and their calculations are complicated by the shape of an area – whether that’s a floor, wall, ceiling, or anything else.

Read on to find out how to work out the lineal meters of building materials and what you can do when you need to know the precise area of a floor that is not square.

The 3-Question Approach Of Working Out What Is A Linear Meter

This approach will work for most situations where you want to know the Linear Metre amount for a material to cover a certain area. It comes down to 3 very simple questions:


Question 1: How many square meters do you need to be covered by the material?

Lets call this ‘A’.
The Square meter value of an area you want to cover is calculated by multiplying the length by the width. It may be a bedroom floor, a ceiling area etc. Doesn’t matter. Just multiply the length by the width to get a sqm value.


Question 2: How wide is the material you want to use to do the covering with?

Lets call this ‘B’. It needs to be in meters.
If it is a carpet roll, it might be 3.66 meters wide (that’s the standard width in Australia). If it is a tongue and groove hardwood board, it might only be 130mm wide (converted to 0.13 meters for the purposes of the 3 question calculation). Remember this value needs to be in meters (not centimeters or millimeters).


Question 3: What is ‘A’ divided by ‘B’?

Lets call this ‘C‘.
C‘ is the linear meters of material in length you need to cover your area, regardless of how wide that material is.
It really is that easy – most of the time. – see the caveats in the last section for an explanation of why there are some caveats.

Frequently Asked Questions About Linear Meters

How do you measure a linear Metre?

Use a tape measure to measure the length of the material while ignoring the width of that material e.g. flooring material.

How many meters are in a linear Metre?

There are two possible ways to interpret this.

One meaningful rephrasing of this is “How many square meters are in a linear Metre?”. If you know the width of a material (e.g. 3.66 meters for a carpet roll), work out the square meters by multiplying how much of the roll you want (the linear meter amount) by the width of the material (3.66 meters in this example). This gives you the square metre (sqm) value of your piece of material.

Another way is, that a single linear metre of a material is a one meter length of that material, regardless of it’s width.

How long is a linear Metre of timber?

One meter in length of a piece of timber is a linear metre of that timber, regardless of the width of the timber.

Is a lineal meter the same as a linear meter?

So with lineal vs linear, yes it is exactly the same. It is a one-meter length of a material, regardless of the width of that material.

Is it lineal or linear?

With linear vs lineal, in the engineering, construction, and manufacturing retail setting, the terms are frequently used interchangeably. However, in many construction settings, ‘linear’ is used in the context of measuring the length of something regardless of its width, while ‘lineal’ is used to specify the length of something with a commonly known and understood standardised width.

How many linear meters in a square meter?

There is only ever one linear meter in a square meter because a linear measurement is the length of material, regardless of how wide it is.

What is a lineal metre compared to what is linear meter?

A lineal or linear meter refers to the length of an object measured in a straight line. A regular meter is a unit of distance measurement.

Whats a linear metre meaning compared to linear meter meaning?

A linear meter specifically refers to measuring an item’s length, while a meter alone is a standardized unit of distance measurement.

1 linear meter to meter: are they the same thing?

No, a linear meter means the length of one item, while a meter alone is a set distance measurement that can apply to any object.

Linear meter vs meter then how to calculate linear meter to cm

1 linear meter = 100 linear centimeters. To convert linear meters to linear cm, multiply the meters by 100.

How long is a lineal metre compared to how long is a linear metre?

A lineal or linear meter and metre refer to the same thing – one continuous meter length measured along an object.

Is there a linear metre calculator available online?

Yes, there are many linear meter calculators online that can convert linear units from meters to cm, feet, inches, etc.

How to compute linear meter with a linear meter calculator?

Input the lineal meters into an online calculator, then it will provide conversions to other units like cm, feet, or inches.

How much is a linear metre and what is linear meter example?

A linear meter is equal to 100 cm. An example is measuring the length of a 5-meter-long table in linear meters.

What is a linear metre in timber?

In timber, a linear meter refers to measuring lengthwise along a board or beam rather than its width or height.

How to work out lineal metres to cm?

Multiply linear meters by 100 to convert to cm. For example, 5 linear meters equals 500 linear cm.

In Australia – What Is A Linear Metre?

Using the examples mentioned in the 3 question approach mentioned above, 3 linear meters of a 3.66 meter wide carpet roll is simply a 3-meter length of that carpet role – cut by the friendly assistant at bunnings off the big role.

And similarly, 24 linear meters of hardwood flooring board is simply a total of 24 meters of that flooring board, regardless of its width and regardless if it is made up of 3 lengths of 8 meters or 4 lengths of 6 meters etc.

An example of this is carpet rolls, which have a price based on the lineal meter, which is usually around 3.66 or 4 meters for most carpet rolls.

Caviat To The 3 Question Approach

In terms of working out how many linear meters of material you need to cover a given area, just follow the 3 question approach and you’ll have your answer.

The only time you might not have your answer is if you decide you don’t want to do ‘patch work’ to use up all your material. This is not so much a problem with hardwood flooring and decking, but more of an issue with using wide materials such as carpet or vinyl.

So for example, if a room is 5m wide by 6 meters long, you might only want 2 pieces of carpet with a join right down the middle. This would mean that you would get 12 linear meters of carpet so you could do it in 2 pieces, instead of only getting 8.2 linear meters which is technically enough, but would require multiple pieces to get the area covered.

Another caviat to keep in mind when calculating decking materials, is to account for the width of the spaces you want between the individual decking lengths. You need to add this width on to the width of the decking you want to use for the job.

Finally, remember that there is also natural wastage of any material you use for a project. Typically you need to add an additional 5% to 10% to the quantity to account for this.

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