Scale has one of the biggest impacts on deciding whether to hire painting help or take matters into your own hands. If you want to paint your home, consider whether or not this is a realistic task to take on yourself. For instance, is your house multiple stories or a townhouse? Do you just want to paint the kitchen or the entire exterior? Once you factor in the time it takes to do the prep work and lay down multiple coats of paint, a DIY paint job can get complicated. If the house painting job is extensive, you may want to leave it to professionals.
For walls, measure the linear feet of wall space (measuring along the baseboards) for the areas to be painted (using a tape measure, laser, or both). Then multiply this by the ceiling height (usually it is 7.5 or 8). If there are 2 story areas, measure them separately, and multiply them by double the regular wall height. Then multiply the total number by 2 (for 2 coats).

Some paints are two-in-one paint and primer products, or so-called "self-priming paints." These paints are designed to seal and cover surfaces in one coat. But, here's the secret: though it's called a paint-and-primer-in-one product, there's actually no primer in the mix—what you're really working with is just a thicker paint that often doesn't perform as well as using separate primer and paint.


One of the first considerations when it comes to interior house paint is the base. There are two schools of thought, each with their pros and cons. Some brands commonly sold to contractors for commercial projects are oil-based, meaning the chosen pigment is mixed with an oil derivative called alkyd. Oil-based paint provides thorough coverage, and the finished coat resists moisture well. However, oil-based paint releases a high level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as it dries, and it can only be removed from floors, brushes, and clothing with strong chemical paint thinners. In fact, many states have actually banned the use of oil-based paints because of their VOC levels and hazardous ingredients.

An example of the wall measurement would be: 40 linear feet of bedroom space, x 8 wall height, =  320, x 2 = 640. Minus 1 door (60) and 2 windows (80) = 500 sq feet being painted. Then divide the 500 by 400 (sq feet per gallon), and you get 1.25 gallons (4.73 L) needed for that room. For this, you'd need 1 gallon (3.8 L) and 1 US-quart (950 ml). If the amount it comes out to is over 1.3, we recommend just getting 2 gallons (7.6 L) so that you have leftovers if needed, since 2 US quarts (2,000 ml) costs essentially the same as a gallon in most stores.
For walls, measure the linear feet of wall space (measuring along the baseboards) for the areas to be painted (using a tape measure, laser, or both). Then multiply this by the ceiling height (usually it is 7.5 or 8). If there are 2 story areas, measure them separately, and multiply them by double the regular wall height. Then multiply the total number by 2 (for 2 coats).
A single gallon of paint can run anywhere from $20 to $80 per gallon. Professionals get a contractor discount of anywhere from 25 to 50 percent. For rough siding, like stucco, you’ll need to use 10% to 20% more paint. Some textures, like wood and stucco, require extra paint because they have more surface to cover in a tiny area compared to smooth siding. Use the highest quality exterior paint your budget will allow for your project. It will look the nicest and save you money by offering better coverage and durability. Better coverage means fewer coats and fewer work hours. You’ll also go a few years longer without needing to shell out more cash for a new coat. How do you know how much paint you're paying for? Here's some helpful math:
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