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You are watching: Difference between linear feet and square feet


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If you have ever done any type of home renovation—big or small—then you know that there are a lot of measurements involved. You may find yourself measuring floor space for a rug, wall space to mount a television or even configuring space for a kitchen island. Typically, when measuring, you consider length, height and width to determine the overall size of something and the space needed for it.

In this current housing market, the number of people either looking online for a new place to rent, or a home to buy, is at a record high. When searching online for a place to rent or buy, the most common measurement used is square footage. At some point, you may be tasked with considering linear footage as well.

Now you may ask yourself, “what is linear footage?” Linear footage is a different way to measure an object, and how much space it will take up in a room, truck or any area with level flooring.

What is a Linear Foot?

Identifying a linear foot is right in the name. Technically, a linear foot is a measurement that is 12 inches long (so, one foot) and that is measured in a straight line, which is why it’s called linear.

Square Feet vs. Linear Feet

Square footage is a very common way to measure space, especially in regard to homes and apartments. The difference between square footage and linear footage is exactly what it sounds like. Square footage measures the area of a space in a square, two-dimensional way. As mentioned above, linear footage is measured in a single line and is usually used in reference to floor space.

When to Measure in Linear Feet

Measuring in linear feet comes in handy when you are considering how much floor space will be taken up by an object. For example, let’s say you need to rent a storage unit. If you need to store things like couches, mattresses or motorcycles, then you might want to consider how much linear footage you may need.

Another instance where one may want to measure in linear feet is when moving cross-country, or another long distance. Typically, if you’re moving to a place that is not too far away, you may opt for a U-Haul or another self-service truck rental company. However, if the place you’re moving to is far away, you may want to hire a freight moving company to assist in your move.

Instead of just charging by weight or per mile, freight moving companies typically charge based on the total amount of linear footage that your furniture takes up. This way, you aren’t paying for an entire truck, or paying extra because your belongings may be heavy. Using linear footage, your estimate is generally based on how long your items are and how many feet they will take up in the truck.

For example, U-Pack is a leading company when it comes to shipping household belongings using freight trailers. According to their website, U-Pack offers 28-foot moving trailers that have a loading capacity of 2,000 cubic feet each. The inside of each of their trailers can fit almost all of the belongings in your entire home.

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While renting out the entire trailer is ideal when making a large move, customers who have smaller moves and a lighter lift are charged for the space they use instead. When taking this route, the minimum is five linear feet. Measuring by linear feet is a way to save space, time and ultimately save more money if you can utilize options like the ones that U-Pack offers.