Painting the interior of your home is one of the best things you can do to completely change the ambiance of a room, but if anyone has painted before, they know it can be a time consuming process to make the transformation you desire a reality.
Therefore one of the questions we commonly get is, how much will it cost to paint my interior?
That’s a great question. There are lots of variables that go into accurately quoting an interior painting job.
My goal here is to walk you through how to determine what an accurate quote would be for your place. I typical break things down into three areas: set up/clean up time, prep work and painting.
First you have to set aside time for set up and clean up. This can include a wide range of things such as removing face plates on walls, taking down curtains, dis-assembling closet and pantry shelving and then reassembling/reinstalling after the job is done. This area could also include moving heavy furniture into the center of the room. As it’s important to keep a clean work space, you also want to allot time for covering furniture, moving drop sheets, and vacuuming up drywall dust and cleaning tools and organizing tools as well. Cleanliness is important and takes extra time, so make sure you factor that in. These all seem like small things but they add up and you should be accounting for them.
Next you want to look at how much time and materials you will need to complete the prep work! A famous man (Benjamin Franklin) once said that if you fail to prepare, you are preparing to fail! This is definitely true, and especially when painting your home.
There is a variety of prep work that may need to be done first, before you can even get to painting. This can include patching and filling holes and repairing cracks. Sometimes a fast drying product DryDex is enough for small holes or imperfections as it will dry quickly but in many situations you will have to consider using drywall mud as well as tape. Some situations may even require more extensive prep such as floating out an area of the wall or applying a skim coat on an entire surface. Once these are areas are patched, they can be sanded. When using drywall mud, you will have to do several coats of mud which will require sanding in between coats.
Another area of prep work to consider is caulking and filling holes in trim such as baseboards, door casings and window casings. For example, you can caulk the gap between the top of the baseboard and the wall in order to create a seamless transition between the baseboard and the wall. If there are nail holes in the baseboards, these should be patched first and then sanded before being painted to create a smooth uniform surface.
One other area of prep work to consider is priming. Any area that has been patched with drywall mud will require primer before being painted. If the house hasn’t been painted for a very long time there still may be an oil based paint on the wall still, which would require a full prime before painting. If the house has nicotine stains or smoke damage, you may need to use a special primer to seal in the stains and smell to prevent the stains from reappearing. If you are painting bare wood trim it will need to be primed as well. If it was previously stained and/or varnished you may need to use a stain blocking primer like Cover Stain to ensure nothing bleeds through the top coat. These are some of the situations that may require the use of primer before painting.
Once you’ve assessed all the necessary prep work, you can factor in the amount of time needed for this plus any materials required (drywall powder, caulking, drydex, primer, etc.)
After the patches are smooth, trim has been caulked nicely and any necessary priming is done, now you can figure out how much time it will take you to paint everything. You need to determine first the scope of what you want to paint. Are you just painting the walls? Do you want to freshen up the ceilings as well? Are you doing the trim as well? And the list goes on….there are many things that can be painted such as moulding, radiators, tiling, backsplash, railing and the list goes on. The key here is to determine the scope because every additional thing will add extra time onto your quote and affect the number of hours it will take for you to complete the work.
Once you’ve determined the scope of the work, I would add up the square footage of wall area and then calculate how much time it would take to complete two coats on those area (taking into consideration how much brush work there is, ceiling height, if it’s a large or tight space to be working in, etc.). Then I would add up the square footage of the ceiling and do the same. For ceilings you’ll want to consider the height of the ceiling. If you are doing the trim, you’ll want to add up how many lineal feet of baseboards you need to paint, plus how many window frames, door frames and doors you’ll need to paint. Plus anything else like radiators, fireplace mantles, stairwell railing, etc. Then you’ll want to calculate how much time it will take you to paint all of these. A good method is determining how much time it will take you to paint one door frame for example and then multiply that by the amount of doors you have.
You’ll also need to use these measurements to determine how much paint you’ll need. Each paint will have a particular spread rate that determines how many square feet you can get per gallon. You’ll want to take the total wall square footage subtract out any openings for doors, windows, cabinets, etc. and then divide that by the appropriate spread rate. Make sure you don’t forget to factor in the second coat as well.
So there you have the three main components: Set Up/Clean Up/Re-assembly, Prep Work and Painting. Plus any paint and materials you’ll need to buy. You may need to buy tools if you lack. Plus buy or rent ladders and/or scaffolding depending on the situation.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of things to consider but covers a fair number of different things you’ll need to address. Hopefully this helps you quote your own interior paint job! If you need help with your interior paint job, we’d be happy to come out and help you as well. Just send us a message, give us a quick call at 2o4-489-1361 or schedule your appointment using our online calendar at the bottom of the page.
Ben is the co-founder of InsideOut Painting. He graduated from the University of Manitoba and has been an entrepreneur from a young age. He has been involved in the painting and construction industry for over 30 years and brings the knowledge and experience of starting his own painting company.