How do you figure out how many 12×12 tiles do I need?

Quick Answer

To figure out how many 12×12 tiles you need, follow these steps:

  1. Measure the length and width of the area you want to tile in inches.
  2. Divide the length and width measurements by 12 to get the number of full 12×12 tiles needed for each dimension.
  3. Multiply the number of tiles needed for the length and width to get the total number of full tiles needed.
  4. If there are any leftover inches on the edges that are not multiples of 12, calculate the number of cut tiles needed to complete the area.

Measuring the Area to be Tiled

The first step in determining how many 12×12 tiles you need is to carefully measure the length and width of the area you want to tile. Use a tape measure to get accurate measurements in inches. Measure from one end of the area to the other for the length, and side to side for the width. Write down both measurements.

Be sure to account for any irregularities in the dimensions. For example, if the area is not a perfect rectangle, you may need to take multiple length and width measurements to capture the full shape. The more precise your measurements, the better you’ll be able to calculate the number of tiles required.

Example Measurements

Length 144 inches
Width 96 inches

In this example, the area to be tiled has a length of 144 inches and a width of 96 inches. These measurements in inches will allow us to calculate how many 12-inch by 12-inch tiles are needed for the job.

Calculating Full Tiles Needed

Once you have accurate length and width measurements in inches, you can calculate the number of full 12×12 tiles required. To do this:

  1. Divide the length measurement by 12. This will tell you how many rows of full 12-inch tiles will fit along the length.
  2. Divide the width measurement by 12. This will give you how many full 12-inch tiles will fit across the width.
  3. Multiply the length and width tile amounts together to get the total number of tiles needed.

Going back to our example:

  • Length = 144 inches. 144 ÷ 12 = 12 rows of full tiles needed for the length.
  • Width = 96 inches. 96 ÷ 12 = 8 full tiles needed for the width.
  • 12 rows x 8 tiles per row = 96 full 12×12 tiles needed.

So for a 144 inch by 96 inch area, you would need 96 full standard 12×12 tiles.

Calculating Cut Tiles for Edges

After determining how many full tiles your project requires, you need to calculate if any cut tiles are needed to complete the area.

Leftover inches on the edges that are not exact multiples of 12 will need cut tiles. Here is how to figure out how many:

  1. For the length, subtract the total inches used by the full tiles from the original length measurement. This gives you the leftover inches on that edge. Divide that number by 12 to see how many cut tiles needed.
  2. Do the same for the width, subtracting the inches used by full tiles from the original width and dividing by 12.
  3. Add up the number of cut tiles needed for both dimensions to get the total.

Let’s plug our example numbers into this:

  • Original length was 144 inches. With 12 rows of 12-inch tiles, the full tiles cover 144 inches. So, 0 extra cut tiles needed for the length.
  • Original width was 96 inches. With 8 tiles that are 12 inches wide each, the full tiles cover 96 inches. So, 0 extra cut tiles needed for the width.
  • Since there are no leftover inches on the edges, 0 cut tiles are needed to complete the area.

The total tiles needed for the 144 x 96 inch space is the 96 full standard tiles, plus 0 cut tiles, so 96 tiles total.

Purchasing Extra Tiles

When purchasing tiles, it’s a good idea to add 5-10% to your total tile count to have extras on hand. Tiles can be damaged during installation, or you may end up needing more if the dimensions are slightly off.

For our example space that requires 96 tiles, purchasing an extra 10 tiles would give you a total tile order of 106 tiles (96 + 10 extras).

Having spare tiles left over is better than running short during a job. The extras can be saved and used for future repairs or similar projects.

Other Considerations

Here are some other tips when calculating how many tiles you need:

  • For diagonal installations, more tiles will be required compared to a straight grid layout.
  • Mix in tiles from several boxes when installing to ensure color consistency.
  • Have appropriate tile cutting tools on hand like a wet saw for any custom cuts.
  • Follow all manufacturer instructions for proper installation and prep work.
  • Plan an extra 10-15% more tiles for patterned layouts like herringbone.

Taking accurate measurements, calculating precisely, and planning ahead will help ensure you purchase the correct quantity of tiles the first time.


Figuring out the number of tiles required for a project involves carefully measuring the area, dividing by the tile size to get full pieces needed, calculating any cut tiles for edges, and adding extras for waste and repairs. For a 144 inch long by 96 inch wide area using 12×12 tiles, you would need 96 full tiles, 0 cut tiles, and around 10 extra for a total order of 106 tiles. Precise planning and measurement is key to buying the right tile quantity.

The 5 Step Process

Here is a summary of the 5 key steps to determine how many tiles you need:

  1. Measure length and width in inches
  2. Divide length and width by tile size for full tiles
  3. Multiply full length and width tiles for total
  4. Calculate cut tiles needed for edges
  5. Add 5-10% extra tiles

Following this simple process will ensure you get the correct amount of tiles for your tiling project.

Frequently Asked Questions

What tools do I need to measure the area?

You need a good quality tape measure for accurately measuring length and width. A laser distance measure or measuring wheel can also be useful for larger areas. Have a notepad to write down measurements.

What if the area has multiple rooms or sections?

Take separate measurements for each distinct area or room. Calculate tiles needed for each section independently, then add them together for the total tile quantity needed.

How precise do my measurements need to be?

It’s important to measure to the nearest 1/8th inch or better. Small inaccuracies in measurement can throw off your final tile calculations.

What if I’m mixing different sized tiles?

Come up with separate tile calculations for each tile size needed. Add the totals together to figure out the combined number of tiles required.

Should I include wastage in my calculations?

Yes, add 5-10% extra for tile wastage and potential damage during installation. It’s better to end up with extra tiles than to run short.

What about tiles for backsplashes or mosaics?

Any accent tiles like for backsplashes, mosaics, borders, etc need to be calculated separately based on those specific dimensions.

How do I calculate tiles for a diagonal layout?

Diagonal or herringbone tile designs require about 15% more tiles than a basic straight grid layout. Adjust your totals accordingly.

What’s the best way to get perfectly cut edge tiles?

Use a wet saw to accurately cut any edge tiles needed for your layout. The cuts will be clean and precise.

Should extra tiles match the batches used in the installation?

Yes, mix tiles from several boxes during install. Hold back a few from each box to have well-matched extra tiles available later.

What if I need to cover an irregular shaped area?

For unusually shaped areas, make a grid paper template to scale and use it to determine how many full and cut tiles will fit the space.

Tile Calculator

Use this handy tile calculator to automatically determine how many tiles are needed for a project. Simply input the length, width, and tile size.

Length (inches):
Width (inches):

Tile Size (inches):

The calculator will do the math automatically and output the number of full and cut tiles needed for the job.

More Tile Tips

Here are some additional useful tips for calculating and working with tiles:

  • Have a few extra tools available like tile spacers and grout float for straightening and smoothing.
  • Take your time and work methodically to get the layout aligned properly from the start.
  • Mix tile adhesives and grouts carefully following package directions.
  • Allow installed tiles to set completely before grouting according to manufacturer guidelines.
  • Use a damp sponge to smooth and clean grout haze off tiles as you go.
  • For walls, use a level often to check tiles are straight and plumb.
  • On floors, check for lippage where adjacent tiles are uneven.
  • Make sure subfloor or surface is prepped and ready before laying any tiles.
  • Follow all building codes and safety precautions when using tile cutting tools.

Proper planning, accurate measuring, using the right tools, and carefully following installation steps will ensure your tiling project turns out beautifully. Knowing exactly how many tiles to purchase is a key first step.

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