How to calculate the amount of paint you need to buy

Make sure you buy enough paint for the job

There is nothing worse than having a great color for redecorating a room of your home and to run out of paint before it is finished. Not only does this mean that you have to make an extra trip to the paint or home improvement store, but unless you have kept the paint card, you may not get exactly the same color. Most stores do put the number on the paint can for you so that you don’t have to worry about this part of the process.

When buying the paint that you do need you have to take several things into consideration. Most times you will need enough paint for two coats, but if you are covering a darker color with a light color more coats will be necessary. The surface of the wall is another factor. A smooth wall won’t require as much paint as a textured one.


Step 1

Measure the room

Measure the total area of the room that you want to paint. A trick to doing this is to choose the longest wall. Measure the length of the wall and multiply this number by the height from the floor to the ceiling. You don’t have to allow for window and door measurements.

Divide the answer you get from this calculation by 9 to convert it into square yards.

Step 2

Determine the number of coats the wall will need

The number of coats of paint you will have to apply will depend on the existing color of the wall. If it has never been painted, then you need to apply primer first. One litre of primer will cover about 12-14 square yards.

A dark color needs more coverage than a light color. The same thing applies to a textured or rough wall because you need to get the paint into all the tiny crevices.

Step 3

Look at the amount of paint in the can

Use the amount of paint in the can to help you determine how much paint you need to buy. One litre of eggshell paint, which is what most homeowners use when painting, will cover about18 square yards.

Step 4

Refer to your earlier calculations

When you go to buy paint, take your room measurements with you. Divide the number of litres in the can into the number of square yards for the room. This will tell you how many cans of painty you need to buy,

Things Needed
• measuring tape
• calculator
• paint

Tips & Warnings
• If you notice that you are starting to run out of paint just before you start a new wall, stop painting and wait until you buy more. It is always better to start this wall with the new can of paint just in case there is a slight variation in the color.
• Some paints are thinner than others. Emulsion paints will not cover as much wall space as gloss or undercoat paints.


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