Measuring the interior of a home

When measuring an entire house it’s a good idea to start with photographs. Take all your photographs first, then take measurements. This is more efficient than doing both at the same time you are in each room. When you enter the home, take a counter-clockwise direction, that is, work to your right in a circular path. Photographing is fast and will familiarize you with the layout of the home before your start measuring.

Tip: Even when remodeling a single bathroom in a home, especially in a 2-story home, it is a good idea to measure the whole house. The main parts of interest are what is under and over the bath, and what walls/ceilings are the pathways for drains and vents.

By stacking the two floor plans, you can learn a lot about where the drains and vents are. Do your detective work before estimating the job, and find out as much as you can about the construction of the space you are going to modify. You’ll be amazed how much you can learn before ever tearing out a wall.

Photography pattern:

  • Take a picture at the entry to the room (1)
  • Take a shot from each corner of the room towards the opposite corner (2-5)
  • Take a shot of the ceiling
  • Take a shot of the floor
  • Take a shot of the base, casing, vents, lights, hardware, security system, switch plates, etc.
  • Take a shot of any other notable details in the room

Tip: Photographing in a consistent manner is especially helpful weeks, months, or years later as you try to find a particular shot out of several hundred photographs. You know that if it’s near the end of the pattern, then you can look at pictures near the end of the shoot to find the one you want. (Sort photos by date and time created for this to work.)

Measuring pattern:

If you are measuring the entire house:

  • Enter from the front door
  • Move from room to room in a counter-clockwise motion from the front door
  • Measure in the same direction each time – counter-clockwise
  • Measuring path for an entire home – counter-clockwise

If you are measuring a room:

Measure the room in a counter-clockwise motion
Measuring path for a room

Measurement process for the interior

  1. As you enter the room, measure the wall thickness at the entry
  2. Note the type and thickness of the wall board/plaster
  3. Determine the size of the stud
  4. Measure the ceiling height (above finished floor AFF)
  5. Measure the basic size of the room
  6. Measure the window sizes (see expanded sample below1)
  7. Measure the size of the base
  8. Measure the size of the shoe mold if any
  9. Measure the size of the crown (on a diagonal)
  10. Take measurements of all details in the room
  11. Note the size and type of flooring
  12. Note the type of ceiling finish (smooth, sandy (plaster), orange peel, etc.)
  13. Note the type of wall finish (smooth, sandy (plaster), orange peel, etc.)
  14. Measure the stairs

These are the very basics of how to measure the interior of a home. Add details to each item so that nothing is overlooked. Incomplete measurement will cost you money and time, so make a thorough check list for your measurer so that everything is recorded.

Here’s an example of how you can expand on this process:

6. Measuring windows

  • Note the type of window (double hung, single hung, casement, fixed, etc..
  • Note the material of the window (wood, aluminum, fiberglass, vinyl, etc.
  • Note the grill pattern (6 over 6, 1 over 1, 3 across and 4 down, etc.)
  • Note the type of grill (removable, fixed, simulated divided lights, etc.)
  • Measure total height from stool to header jamb
  • Measure the width from jamb to jamb
  • Measure from outside of casing to outside of casing
  • Measure from the header to the finished ceiling
  • Measure from top of stool to finished floor
  • Determine whether glass proximity to the finished floor is within code allowances for non-tempered glass
  • Determine rough opening if possible
  • Determine wall thickness if possible (It may be easier to determine wall thickness at an exterior door)

Next we’ll look at measuring the exterior of a home in Measuring the Exterior – Part 3

Links to The Measuring Process Series:

This micro-process is presented by Randall Soules, creator of the Scientific Remodeling System, showing you easier ways to advance your business, raise your profits, and improve your life, through the use of processes. If you would like to learn more about this eCourse, forms, contracts, and tutorials, click here.