How to Convert Decimals to Fractions

Often when reading plans, surveys or calculating measurements we are left with decimal numbers and need to convert them to feet, inches and fractions of an inch. Learning how to change decimals into fractions is pretty easy with a calculator but if your old school, go ahead and do it on paper.


For this example we will change 8.62 feet into feet, inches and fractions of an inch.

Step 1

Since the 8 is a whole number, no conversion is necessary. The answer will start with 8 feet.

Step 2

Now to change the 0.62 of a foot that is left over into inches. Since there are 12 inches in a foot we will multiply 0.62 x 12 = 7.44. Now the whole number that is left (7) represents the inches.

Step 3

In construction we are usually only concerned with fractions of an inch to the 1/16th but you can use this for any other fraction.

To start, divide the fraction you want to find by its denominator to get a decimal equivalent. In this example we'll use 1/16th .

In the last step we were left with 0.44 inches. We now have to divide that number by the decimal equivalent of the fraction.

1 / 16 = 0.0625 (find any decimal equivalent by dividing the top number by the bottom)

0.44 / 0.0625 = 7.04 or 7/16" (always reduce the fraction if possible i.e. 8/16" = 1/2")

Round the decimal to the nearest whole number. So the answer for our problem is 8' 7" 7/16".

Practice questions
  1. Convert 5.92 feet
  2. Convert 12.39 feet
  3. Convert 63.88 inches (scroll down for the answers)

Answers - 1) 5'11"1/16" 2) 12'4"11/16" 3)5'3"7/8"