Cubic measures and square measures represent fundamentally different things. A cubic measure is always a three-dimensional unit of volume: length times width times height. A square measure is always a two-dimensional unit of area: length times width. However, there are methods for tackling this difference, depending on what aspect of the volume you are trying to measure.
Converting Yards to Feet
Before attempting any conversion between volume and area, it's simplest to work with the same unit of measure. If you want your cubic yards to be described in square feet, multiply the cubic yard number by 27. This is because a yard is three feet, and a cubic measure is obtained by multiplying three numbers together (3 x 3 x 3 = 27). For example, a box with a volume of 2 cubic yards can also be described as having a volume of 54 cubic feet.
Finding One Side Area
One potential conversion of volume to area is to only consider the bottom of the solid. For example, if you want to carpet the floor of a square room, but you don't have a measuring tape long enough to measure the walls to find the floor area. If you know your room is 20 cubic yards in volume, convert that to 540 cubic feet. Measure the height of the room from floor to ceiling. If that is 9 feet, divide 540 by 9 to arrive at 60 square feet.
Finding Total Surface Area of a Square Cube
Another potential conversion involves finding the area of the solid's surface. For example, if you want to wrap a square box and need to know how much wrapping paper it will take. If the box is 1 cubic yard in volume, convert that to 27 cubic feet. The box has six sides, each of which has an area of length times width. For a perfect square, simply take the cube root of 27, which is 3, and multiply it by itself to get the area of each side (9), then multiply that by six for the total area: 54 square feet.
Finding Surface Area of Irregular Shapes
To find the square footage of something that's not a square cube, you will need to measure each side of the solid. For example, to figure out how many square feet of tile it will take to cover the interior of a swimming pool, measure each side of the pool and its depth. Let's assume this pool has sides of 10 feet and 15 feet and a depth of 8 feet. The bottom measures 150 square feet (10 x 15), the short sides each measure 80 feet (10 x 8), and the long sides each measure 120 feet (15 x 8). The bottom plus the two short sides plus the two long sides is 150 + 80 + 80 + 120 + 120, or 550 square feet. Now to fill the pool with water, calculate the volume, which is 15 x 10 x 8, or 1,200 cubic feet. Divide by 27 to get 44.44 cubic yards of water.