Calculating the Amount of Paint Needed to a Paint a House

Father and daughter painting the exterior of their house.
To determine the amount of paint needed to paint your house you will need to measure the exterior perimeter dimension and multiply that times the average wall height to find the surface area. Paint cans typically indicate the coverage. This is a page about calculating the amount of paint needed to a paint a house.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 181 Posts
November 24, 2010

To estimate the number of gallons of paint needed to cover the outside of a house, first multiply the distance around the building by the average height (if the building has gables, add two feet to the average height before multiplying). Then check the label on a can of the paint you intend to use and find out how many square feet each gallon of the coating will cover. Finally, divide the calculated square footage by the second number and you should be close to an answer.

Close, but not right on, until you allow for the porosity of the surface being covered. A corrugated metal wall will need one-third more paint to cover it than a flat metal one and you'll find that paint goes 10% farther on wide-lap siding than it does on narrow.


Any surface that is noticeable dry, rough and/or porous will drink up at least 20% more coating than a similar surface that isn't, and you should always figure on using an extra 50% of your paint when applying the first coat to concrete blocks.

By Ron from Cortez, CO

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November 25, 20100 found this helpful
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One savings tip is to sign up for a "contractor's discount" at your local paint store. Tell them you are doing a lot of painting and you can typically receive 15 to 20 percent off. You'll be buying good paint at a discount.

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November 24, 2010

We are planning to paint the exterior of our house soon. My question is; How do we figure the amount of paint needed for the job. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Judy from Birmingham, AL


Calculating the Amount of Paint Needed to a Paint a House

Well, what you want to do is get the square footage of the area to be painted.Measure the height and multiply that figure in feet by the width in feet.That will give you the square footage of one wall.Do each wall and add the figures together.That will give about the total square footage of the house.On most paint cans it will tell how many square feet the gallon will cover.Divide that number into the square footage of your house.That will be the number of gallons you need.If the gallon paint can does not have the square footage marked on the label take the square footage of the house to the paint store.They can figure it for you.A gallon will cover about 400 square feet.But that is approximate.It depends on how thick the paint is applied and if the surface is smooth or rough. (09/28/2006)


By Dean

Calculating the Amount of Paint Needed to a Paint a House

Here's a paint calculator (09/28/2006)

By Mary

Calculating the Amount of Paint Needed to a Paint a House

Although this is for the interior of the house, the basic rules still apply!

1gal. of paint per 400 sq. ft and if you don't have a Wagner Spray Gun, invest! (don't forget to buy thinner for the gun also) (09/29/2006)

By Laurie

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