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What Is A Linear Metre?

A linear metre is a term primarily used in the building industry. It’s often used to quantify and price materials by their length in a single direction, including roofing, timber, flooring products and cabling.

1 linear metre is the equivalent of 1 standard metre, or 100 cm (39.37 inches).

Calculating the size of a room or materials as accurately as possible is an important step in any construction or DIY project. You need these measurements to be precise when ordering materials or getting quotes.

If your home renovation project requires you to use a linear metre measurement, you may be wondering what is a linear metre, and how is it different to a lineal metre?

What is a linear metre?

A linear metre is a term primarily used in the building industry. It’s often used to quantify and price materials by their length in a single direction, including roofing, decking timber, flooring products and cabling.

How many meters in a linear meter?

1 linear metre is the same as 1 metre (100 centimetres or 39.37 inches), measured in a single direction. Linear metres are also called lineal metres.

Linear metre vs square metre

Unlike a linear metre, which describes a length of a material, such as carpeting or roof sheeting, a square metre describes a square whose sides each measure exactly one metre.

In home improvement projects, square metres (m2) are commonly used to calculate the total area of a room, house or block of land. Retailers also use it to price their goods, for example carpet, tiles and flooring.

Is it a linear or lineal metre?

There can also be confusion about the terms ‘linear metre’ and ‘lineal metre.’ In fact, these are simply different ways of saying the same thing – a metre of length measured in a single direction.

When you get quotes for home improvement projects or visit online stores, you may see linear metre and lineal metre used interchangeably, though linear metre is more common.

Is it metre or meter?

You’ve likely seen the spellings metre and meter used interchangeably. In Australia (and much of the world), the spelling is ‘metre.’ This applies to other units of measurement including centimetres and millimetres, unless you live in the USA, where you would use ‘meter.’

In Australian English, ‘meter’ refers to a measuring device, such as electricity meters or parking meters, which measure energy consumption and time respectively.

How to calculate square metres

If you need to calculate square metres for your project, you typically need to know the size of an area, such as a floor (for carpeting), wall (for painting) or outdoor area (for decking). This enables you to take accurate measurements, order the right amount of materials, work out your total costs and/or let a tradie know so they can quote on your job.

To calculate square metres:

  • Measure the length followed by the width of your area in centimetres (cm) or metres (m) – for example, 3 metres 55 centimetres, or 355cm or 3.55m.
  • Multiply the length of the area by the width to give a square metre (m2) total. For example an area 2.55m long x 1.45m wide = 3.69 square metres (m2).

If you need to calculate how many square metres are in an irregular area, it’s usually easier to divide a space into smaller sections, then measure each of these separately and add the figures together. In these cases, it’s recommended to round up your measurements (add 10%) to make sure you have enough materials. For example, 3.69 square metres would simply become 3.70 square metres (m2).

You can also use an online square metre calculator tool to help out. Many manufacturers or retailers have these tools on their sites.

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