Estimating the Amount of Paint Needed for the Exterior of Your House

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Home Improvement

The quantity of paint you need to purchase for the exterior of your home depends on several factors, including the size of your house, the condition of the surfaces, the type of coating you select and the method of application.

Exterior walls made of narrow lap siding, shingles or shakes, masonry, or stucco may require 10 to 50 percent more paint than smooth and flat walls.

Using airless sprayers, which apply two coats of paint simultaneously, may require twice as much paint as brushes, rollers, or pads for the same surface area.

If you run out of standard, premixed paint, you can buy more. If you buy too much, most stores will refund or give credit for unopened gallons. However, with custom-colored paints, it may be challenging to get a precise match if you fall short. Therefore, calculate your needs carefully and buy an extra gallon as insurance.

To estimate the amount of paint needed for your house, measure the perimeter of your home, then multiply that figure by the height, excluding gable ends. Use a steel tape measure or reel out a ball of twine around the house and mark and measure the twine. If you plan to use different paint on your home’s trim, subtract 21 square feet for every door and 15 square feet for each typical window. Divide the final figure by the square-foot coverage specified on the can of paint to determine the number of gallons required for one coat.

If your house has gables, you can estimate by adding 2 feet to the height when making your calculations. For more precision, measure the width of the gable wall and multiply that figure by its height. Divide the final figure by 2 to determine the gable’s square-foot dimensions.

For trim paint, use the rule of thumb of 1 gallon for every 6 gallons of wall paint. To be more accurate, calculate the areas of doors, windows, and shutters. For gutters, one linear foot is about equal to one square foot. So, for 50 feet of gutter, purchase enough paint to cover 50 square feet.

Not what you’re looking for? Try these helpful articles:

  • House Painting: Get valuable tips on both interior and exterior painting in this home improvement article if you’re ready to tackle a house painting project.
  • House Painting Tools: Before starting any painting project, ensure you have the necessary tools to do the job well. This article will help.
  • Exterior Painting Preparation: Learn about the prep work involved in getting the exterior of a home ready to paint with the help of this HowStuffWorks article.



How do I estimate the amount of paint I need for the exterior of my house?

First, measure the total square footage of the exterior surface that needs to be painted. Then, determine the number of coats you will need and the type of paint you will use. Most paint manufacturers provide coverage estimates on their labels, usually in terms of square feet per gallon. Multiply the total square footage by the number of coats needed and divide by the coverage per gallon to determine the number of gallons you will need.


What factors can affect the amount of paint I need?

The condition of your exterior surface, its texture, and the color you are painting over can all affect the amount of paint you need. Rough or porous surfaces may require more paint to cover properly, while dark colors may require more coats to achieve the desired result. Additionally, the type and quality of the paint you choose can also impact coverage.


How do I choose the right type of paint for my exterior?

The type of paint you choose will depend on the surface you are painting and the conditions it will be exposed to. For example, if your exterior is made of wood, you may want to choose a paint that is formulated to resist moisture and prevent rot. If you live in an area with extreme temperatures, you may want to choose a paint that can withstand the heat or cold. Consult with a paint specialist or read the label carefully to determine which type of paint is best for your needs.


What tools do I need to paint the exterior of my house?

You will need several tools to paint the exterior of your house, including brushes, rollers, paint trays, drop cloths, and a ladder. Depending on the height of your house, you may also need scaffolding or a cherry picker to reach high areas. It’s important to use high-quality tools to ensure a smooth and even finish.


Should I power wash my house before painting?

Yes, it’s generally a good idea to power wash your house before painting to remove any dirt, grime, or mildew that may be present. This will help the paint adhere better and last longer. Be sure to let the surface dry completely before painting.


Do I need to prime the surface before painting?

Priming the surface before painting is recommended, especially if you are painting over a dark or previously painted surface. Primer helps the paint adhere better and can also help prevent stains or discoloration from bleeding through the paint. Consult with a paint specialist to determine if primer is necessary for your specific project.


How long does it take to paint the exterior of a house?

The amount of time it takes to paint the exterior of a house will depend on several factors, including the size of the house, the condition of the surface, the number of coats needed, and the weather. In general, you can expect a professional painting crew to take several days to complete the job, while a DIY project may take a week or more.


What should I do if I encounter peeling or cracking paint?

If you encounter peeling or cracking paint, it’s important to address the issue before painting. This may involve scraping away the damaged paint, sanding the surface, and applying a primer or filler to smooth out the area. Failure to address underlying issues can result in a poor paint job and may lead to further damage down the road.


Can I paint my exterior during any season?

While it’s possible to paint the exterior of your house during any season, certain weather conditions can impact the quality of the paint job. For example, painting in high humidity can cause the paint to dry slowly and may result in uneven coverage or peeling. Similarly, painting in extreme heat or cold can also impact the quality of the finish. Consult with a paint specialist or the manufacturer’s recommendations to determine the best time to paint your exterior.

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