Download Our Construction Math Cheat Sheet

Oct 4, 2022 9:40:53 AM

Whether you’re an estimator, a project manager, a foreman or site superintendent or something else, there’s going to come a time when you’re going to have to use math on site.

In fact, construction is one of the industries that prove the theory that you will never use math in real life wrong. As the makers of one of the most innovative construction estimating software packages, we love math, but we know that if you don’t use it often, it can be tricky to remember the right formula or conversion factor.

This is why we’ve created this downloadable, spreadsheet-based construction math cheat sheet that you can use to get the numbers you need fast.


General Tips


When you are doing a take-off of a complex shape, break it down into simpler shapes so that it’s easy to calculate area, volume and so on. It’s useful to use a highlighter to mark areas that you are calculating, and if there are several different things to calculate on one plan, using different colors helps to ensure you keep track of all the different elements.

Be sure to check the scale of the plan you are working from too. You can use a scale ruler or a regular ruler and calculator to check that the conversion factor is 1, or you can use a program like Vu360 to calibrate and check all written dimensions.

Double-check what system of measurement your plans use too. While imperial or English measurements are most common in the United States, most other countries use the metric system, so it’s always possible that your plans could be in either measurement system.

If possible, convert all dimensions into the same unit of measure, whether that’s inches, feet, meters, or something else.

Finally, no matter how experienced you are or how frequently you do take-offs and calculations, human error is always a factor. If possible, and if you’re not using construction cost estimating software to complete your quotes, have someone else check your figures. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!


Our Construction Math Cheat Sheet


Our construction math cheat sheet is not designed to replace construction estimating software. It’s still a great idea to use a quality estimating system to ensure you get accurate and consistent results when you’re quoting any project.

However, there are often calculations you need to do before you can enter information into your construction estimating software. This spreadsheet is designed to make it easy to get the figures you need. Here are the sheets that make up the cheat sheet calculator and how they work.


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We wanted to make it as easy as possible to use our cheat sheet, so the first tab you will find is the home page, which includes buttons that link to the other pages in the sheet. Simply click on the name of the sheet you want to go to, and you’ll be taken there!

There are also buttons on the top right corner of all other sheets that will take you back to the home sheet.


Decimal Conversions


One of the trickier things about calculating anything in feet and inches is that the system uses fractions instead of decimals.

The first sheet in our construction math cheat sheet is a decimal calculator. Simply enter the feet, inches, and fractions of an inch, and get the decimal version of the number that you can use for all your other calculations.

There’s also a table with some of the most common fractions in decimal form.


Metric to Imperial


If you do happen to get plans or blueprints that are dimensioned in metric measurements, use this sheet to convert them to imperial. You can also convert commonly used volumes and areas from metric to imperial.


Imperial to Metric


You might need to convert imperial to metric at some point, and this sheet does just that for the most commonly used dimensions and units of measure. Simply enter your input dimension in imperial and get the metric conversion instantly.




Some of the most common take-off calculations are based on area. Whether you’re working out the square footage of flooring you need or the area of a wall to calculate how much paint you need, you’re probably doing this quite often.

Our area page is a quick and easy way to calculate the area of the most common shapes.




Volume is another common calculation you might have to do when you’re doing construction math. Our volume sheet lets you enter basic dimensions and calculate the volume of commonly found shapes.


Roof Sheet Length


Our roof sheet length calculator can be used to calculate the actual length of roof sheets based on the angle of the roof pitch, or if you have the rise and run from your blueprints, you can use Pythagoras to calculate the length of your hypotenuse.


Combine Accuracy and Speed with the Right Construction Estimating Software


We hope that our easy-to-use construction math cheat sheet makes quick calculations for your projects quick and easy.

However, if you really want to make your estimating faster and more accurate, it might be time to upgrade your construction estimating software too. Have you ever wondered how much time you can save by improving your estimating system? Try our ROI Calculator, and find out!

CostCertified is the most innovative construction estimating software on the market today. It allows you to create as many assemblies and units as you need to calculate quotes for your clients and as many options as you want to offer them in every quote.

The built-in web crawler technology always uses the latest prices from your suppliers, and the interactive quote presentations give your clients the flexibility to choose the exact combination of materials and finishes they want.

There’s nothing else like CostCertified out there, and we’d love to show you how it works. Contact our team here to find out more or to book a live demo.