The Art of Not Wasting Paint: Tips for DIYers

Posted on: 24 June 2015

Deciding how much paint to buy for a single paint project can be difficult. People who haven't spent much time painting—and even some veteran DIYers—can easily finish up their home remodeling projects with several half-full cans of extra paint. These tips will help you decide how much paint to buy.

How Far Will the Paint Go?

Paint manufacturers generally state that a gallon of paint will cover between 250 and 400 square feet. The surface area coverage will vary depending on the porousness of the wall, whether or not the wall has been primed, and the texture of the wall. As a general rule, paint will go further if

  • the wall is smooth,
  • the surface is primed, and
  • the surface is nonporous.

When deciding how much surface area a gallon of paint will cover on your walls, take into consideration these factors to make an educated guess. If you're not comfortable guessing an amount, speak with a customer service representative at the paint store where you're making your purchase. 

Calculating Surface Area

If you remember middle school math, then you know that the surface area of a rectangle is the width multiplied by the height. To do determine the full surface area of the space you're painting, add the surface area of all walls and ceilings together. Remember to subtract the surface area of all windows and doors. 

Determining Paint Amounts

Divide the surface area that you'll be painting by the square footage that a single gallon of paint will cover. The resulting number will be the number of gallons that you'll need to cover the wall with a single coat. If you plan to paint multiple coats on the walls, remember to multiply the gallons of paint by the number of coats you plan to apply, then round up to the nearest whole number. Tip: Darker paints typically need more coats than lighter paints, because darker paints are composed of paint particles suspended in transparent base, while lighter paints are composed of paint particles suspended in a white base. 

Of course, the best way to ensure that paint isn't wasted is to hire a commercial painter to handle your interior and exterior paint jobs. Commercial painters are experts at determining how much paint to purchase, because wasted paint cuts into profits and impacts the bottom line. For more information, contact a professional painting business, like Decorators Service Co., Inc.,  about your upcoming paint project.