What Is A Board Foot, And How Do You Measure It?

If you’re a carpenter, contractor, or DIY enthusiast, you’ve probably heard the term “board footage” before. But what is a board foot? And how do you measure it? This blog will answer all your questions about a board foot and how it can be measured accurately.

What is a board foot?

What is a Board Foot?

A board foot, also known as a BF or BFQ, is a unit of measurement for lumber volume in the United States and Canada. It refers to the volume of 1 foot (305mm) in length, 1 foot wide, and one inch thick. The board foot measures both rough and planed/surfaced lumber. For example, a 2×4 is 1.5 inches by 3.5 inches, but it may still be referred to as a 2×4 board foot when sold wholesale.

Linear Board Foot

Furthermore, board feet are also used to measure the amount of lumber in a bundle or stack, as well as what is known as linear board feet (LBF). Linear board feet refer to the length of a particular dimension and thickness needed to equal one board foot. So if you need 2″ thick x 6″ wide boards, it would take 12 linear feet (12 LF) of these boards to make one BF. Knowing how to calculate linear board feet is essential for accurately calculating material needs when building projects.

How Do You Measure Board Feet?

To accurately measure board feet, you’ll need to determine what type of lumber you’re working with and its actual dimensions. For softwoods, subtract 1/4 inch for dimensions under 2 inches; subtract 1/2 inch for dimensions over 2 inches and under 8 inches, and subtract 3/4 inch for larger measurements. For hardwoods, the system is more complicated. Once you’ve determined what type of lumber it is and its actual widths and lengths, use a calculator or formula to figure out the board feet in your stack of lumber.

Why is it important to calculate board footage?

What is a board foot?

The Board foot is a standard unit of measurement for board approximation. It is essential for carpenters, merchants, and contractors when working on projects that require board materials such as plywood, lumber, paneling, and more. Calculating board footage enables a more accurate estimate of the board materials needed for a job, resulting in less waste and overall savings in material costs.

Additionally, board footage calculation provides an estimate of the board’s strength as it accounts for variations in thickness, width, and depth. This can be especially important when building structures subject to certain load tolerances or to withstand potentially hazardous conditions. All-in-all, board footage calculations should be an important part of any carpentry or construction project planning process.


The board foot is an essential unit of measurement when working with wood, so understanding what it is and how to measure it accurately is key to any successful carpentry or DIY project. Hopefully, this blog post has given you a better understanding of a board foot and how it can be measured. Good luck with your next project!

Happy Building! 🙂

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