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Question DetailsAsked on 6/9/2016

how much paint should i buy to paint interior 2100 square feet?

Need to paint 2100 square feet interior walls and trip only. How much paint will I need?

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2 Answers


Varies by type of paint and brand - check back of can for instructions and typical coverage numbers, which you can bet are 10-20% higher than you will get in most cases on DIY jobs - sometimes as much as 30% high if they used spraying as the estimate basis and you are brushing (which typically lays on a thicker coat than spraying (lightest coat) or rolling (commonly in between).

But typically 200-300SF/gallon for a primer on rough surface or bare unprimed drywall, and commonly 300-400SF/gal for finish coats (more like low to mid-200's on very rough surfaces and commonly 200 or less on stucco-like and textured ceiling surfaces) - though some brands, especially with oil paints, give significantly less coverage because they give a heavier finish - especially some enamels. Also, some paints (especially acrylics and latexes) will require two coats over almost all colors and surfaces to get uniform coverage, especially if roller or brushed as opposed to sprayed.

Bear in mind whether you will want touchup paint left over too - you commonly want a half gallon or gallon or so left over from a whole-house paint job for touchups and future repair repainting.

Bear in mind - Square footage is the actual surface area being covered, not the "real estate" square footage - commonly total painting square footage in a house interior is on the ROUGH order of twice or more the floorplan square footage - plus of course roughly the floorplan square footage in ceilings on top of that. But it can vary a lot - houses with a lot of small rooms or high ceilings can take a lot more, open floorplans without many interior walls can take less, so you need to measure the actual surface areas of each type (surface texture, primed or not, easy to cover color or not, trim versus field surfaces, gloss desired for each, etc) which are needed. It is not at all unusual to end up with a half dozen to ten or even more different paints on a whole-house repaint - different colors for different rooms, drywall/plaster versus wood versus trim versus door surfaces, textured versus untextured surfaces, different ceiling glosses (commonly semi-gloss or matte or similar in bathroom ceilings, commonly high gloss in kitchen ceiling for easy cleaning, flat in large area ceilings commonly), etc.

And generally ceilings, walls, and doors/trim get different types and/or glosses (and maybe colors) of paint - though if painting-over already painted trim some people use the wall paint for that too, though it does not have as good an adhesion or washing wearability as trim paint and takes away the "accent" nature of the trim.

Some stores will take back unopened cans of factory-mixed color paint if you buy extra - and always better to buy extra than not enough so you don't get into mismatched colors by going back to get more and possibly get a differeant batch. Remember if doing a large area in one color, 5 gallons pails are a LOT cheaper per gallon than gallon cans - I just don't recommend EVER painting from a 5 gallon pail - transfer paint into a gallon or smaller container to work with, and preferably not more than 1/2 full at that in case it gets knocked over. Painters tarps or plastic sheeting will catch most of a 1/2 gallon or even gallon spill if you are quick - 5 gallons will be all over and dripping through the floor and everything in quick order.

And remember to intermix all the cans of a given texture and color to blend the paint to a uniform color - though of course if you bought extra and might take some back that does not work so well because that makes all the cans "used".

IF this is a DIY job, you could start with enough for one or two rooms, then if there is leftover that matches what you want to use elsewhere mix that with the new cans you geat for that area, and so on - buying a few gallons at a time and keeping track of how many square feet you are getting on specific surfaces rather than guessing how much is needed for an entire house from scratch.

If this is a job being done by a painter, to avoid delay costs by running out or buying way too much, HE should specify (in conjunction with your input on colors and finishes and how much leftover you want and such) exactly how much of each type you should buy, if you are buying it. (That is not something I recommned - because it allows him to blame almost any delay or paint appearance problem on what YOU provided - far safer, albeit a bit more expensive, to have HIM buy ALL the materials and do ALL the work - that way there is no question about whose responsibility any problems are.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


Hi, this is Meranda with Angie's List.

I don't have a formula to calculate your specific needs, but I found a couple articles from our newsroom and Expert contractors that might be useful:

• "How Much Paint Do I Need?"

• "How Much Does it Cost to Paint a Bedroom?"

• "How Some Interior Painters Cheat"

• "When Should I Pay a House Painter?"

I hope that helps! Don't forget to check Angie's List reviews for local painting contractors if you decide to forgo the DIY route. Good luck with your project!

Answered 4 years ago by Meranda

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