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From This Old House

Paint & Wallcoverings

Flooring

Yard & Garden

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Here's what you'll need to put a single coat of paint on an exterior structure. Remember that this is only an estimate: you may need more or less depending on what colors you're choosing, how many coats you need, and what quality paint you're buying.

WOOD FLOORS

Your floor area is square feet, which means you'll need a minimum of that much flooring to cover it. Divide by 9 to get the number of square yards. Divide by 10.5 to get the number of square meters if you're buying flooring that comes in metric measurements.

That's not the amount you'll need to buy, though. Even for a straight course with few corners, you should figure in an additional 5 to 7 percent as a cushion for mistakes, waste, and cuts. If you're planning a herringbone pattern, make that a 15 percent cushion.

If you're buying manufactured flooring, you'll also have to consider case size when you place your order. If you need 100 square feet and each case contains 25 square feet, you'll need four cases. If you need 101 square feet, make that five cases. Don't skimp: it's better to have a few extra boards left over than to end up short.

Don't forget to order any baseboard or trim pieces you'll need to cover exposed edges, and thresholds for doorways.

Many materials need to acclimate before installation, so read the manufacturer's instructions. You may need to let the flooring sit in the room where it will be laid for several days before you can install it. Whatever you do, don't store flooring materials in damp areas like garages or basements, where they can absorb moisture.

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