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How Much Paint Do You Need?

This Page's Content Was Last Updated: June 27, 2022
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Basic InputsAdvanced Inputs
MetricImperial (U.S.)

Paintable Surface Area




Estimated Time

4.14 hours

Paint Required

1.95 litres of paint

2 cans of 3.78L (1 gallon) paint

Primer Required

3.12 litres of primer

4 cans of 3.78L (1 gallon) primer

You need 1.95 litres of paint and 3.12 litres of primer to cover this room’s surface area of 72.43 square meters.

The estimated time is 4.14 hours and the estimated cost is $140.00.

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About This Paint Calculator

Looking to paint your home but don't know how much paint you'll need? Use this paint calculator to find out how much gallons of paint you will need, the coverage area, estimated time it will take to paint, and how much the paint would cost.

The "basic inputs" option calculates the paint required for a rectangular-shaped room. It also assumes that the doors will not be painted and uses the dimensions of an average window and door.

To calculate the paint required for other room types, the "advanced inputs" allows you to enter the specific width and height of the walls, along with calculating paint for a room with more than four walls. For example, if you are painting the walls, input the dimensions of each wall into the calculator. You can also choose the dimensions of any moulding and trims, the size of windows and doors, whether doors will be painted or not, the paint and primer coverage, and the number of coats.

Estimating How Much Paint You Need

The paint estimate that this paint calculator provides is based on one gallon of paint covering 400 square feet and one gallon of primer covering 250 square feet. That’s about 37 square metres per 3.78L (1 gallon) can of paint and 23 square metres per 3.78L (1 gallon) can of primer. These area coverage values will differ depending on the brand and quality of paint you choose, as well as other factors like the type of surface you're painting and how many coats you need. Rough, uneven, and coarse walls will require more paint compared to a smooth wall. You will also need more coats of paint if you are going from a dark colour to a light colour. Primer can reduce the amount of paint that you will need.

To estimate how much paint you will need for a given space, start by measuring the dimensions of the room and calculating the area that needs to be painted. Once you have that figure, divide the total area by the coverage of the paint and primer. For example, if the area being painted is 50 square metres and your paint covers 37 square metres per 3.78L can, then you will need 5.1 litres of paint. If you’re purchasing 3.78L (1 gallon) cans of paint, then you will need two cans of paint. This will give you an estimated amount of paint required.

You may want to consider the type of paint you'll be using. Some paints cover better than others, so you may need less paint if you're using high-quality paint. A lower-quality paint might mean that you may need more paint to achieve the same coverage. This can even make a cheaper paint brand more expensive, as you will need to buy more paint just to cover the same area.

How Many Coats of Primer Do You Need?

Primer helps to ensure that the paint adheres evenly to the surface, providing a better overall finish. In some cases, you might not need primer at all. However, it is generally recommended to apply two coats of primer before painting, especially if you are painting over a dark colour with a bright colour. You will also need primer if you are painting an unfinished surface, such as unfinished drywall or wood.

You might only require one coat of primer with a tinted primer. Tinted primers may also help reduce the coats of paint required. However, you shouldn’t use tinted primers as paint, even if primers are cheaper than paint. That’s because primers are not meant to be top coats, which may cause them to easily stain or scratch if they are exposed. If you use a tinted primer as paint, it will likely chip and peel very easily. It might also not give you the even, consistent finish that you’re looking for.

How to Calculate Paint Area

Paint area refers to the total square footage or square metres of a space that will be painted. A simple way to calculate paint area is to measure the height and width of each wall or surface that needs to be painted, then add those figures together to get the total square footage. A common mistake when calculating is multiplying the length and width of the room to get the room’s square footage. This is simply the room’s floor area, not the total area of the walls! For example, let’s say that you are painting a four-sided room. Two walls have a length of 10 metres, and two walls have a length of 5 metres. The room’s ceiling height is 3 metres, or roughly 10 feet. Your paint area would not be found by multiplying 10 metres by 5 metres, as that would be the floor area! Instead, you will need to add up the area of each individual wall:

Wall 1 = 10 metres x 3 metres = 30 square metres

Wall 2 = 10 metres x 3 metres = 30 square metres

Wall 3 = 5 metres x 3 metres = 15 square metres

Wall 4 = 5 metres x 3 metres = 15 square metres

Total Wall Surface Area = 30 + 30 + 15 + 15

Total Wall Surface Area = 90 square metres

The surface to be painted in this room is 90 square metres. However, this calculation is missing some important information. A room might have windows, and in all cases, a room needs to have a doorway! When calculating the paint area, you need to keep in mind that doors and windows need to be accounted for. Doors can either add to the paint area or take away from it. If there is no door to be painted, it will reduce the wall space that needs to be painted. If you are planning on painting the doors, you may also need to take into account the sides of the door, edges, and the door frame.

Using the same example, let’s say that a doorway takes up 3 square metres of space. You don’t plan on painting the door. This means that you would subtract 3 square metres from the surface area of the wall in question. This gives a total wall surface area of 87 square metres from the prior example. While this difference might not seem significant, it can quickly add up in cases of multiple windows and doors.

Moulding, Trims, and Baseboards

Another factor to keep in mind when calculating paint required is the presence of moulding, trims, and baseboards. While they will reduce the wall area to be painted, they themselves will also need to be painted. This paint calculator allows you to account for crown mouldings, wall trims, and baseboards.

Painted Ceilings

Painted ceilings can enhance the beauty of any room, making it appear more open and spacious in the case of lighter colours or make it more intimate and refined in the case of darker colours. The calculation for the paint required for a ceiling is the same as painting a wall. Multiplying the length by the width of the ceiling would give you the total paintable area. Skylights or other openings in the ceiling would need to be subtracted from the total paintable area.

Where to Buy Paint in Canada

Home improvement stores, such as Lowe's, Rona, The Home Depot, and Home Hardware all sell paint. There are even specialized paint stores in Canada, such as Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams. Paint stores may offer additional advice and expertise that can be helpful, especially for novice painters or those working on a challenging project. However, these stores may charge higher prices than big box stores.

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Types of Paint

There are many different types of interior paint, which can vary based on their finish, durability, and additives. Latex paint is the most common type of interior paint, while satin and eggshell finishes are popular.

Durability is an important factor to consider when choosing paint, as you'll want to choose a type that can withstand the wear and tear of everyday life. High-traffic areas may require certain paint types to be resistant to scuffs and scratches, while being kid-friendly might also impact your paint choice if stain removal and ease of cleaning is important. Additives such as mildew resistant properties can also be key in certain parts of the home, especially in high humidity areas such as outdoors or in bathrooms.

Water-Based vs. Oil-Based Paint

Interior paint can be divided into two categories: water-based and oil-based. Acrylic and latex are water-based paints. Water-based paints have lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and dry faster. Enamel paint is a type of oil-based paint. Oil-based paints have high levels of VOCs, but they are more durable and offer a smooth finish.

Paint Finishes

Paint sheen is how glossy the paint will be, which is based on how much light reflects off of the paint. As a rule of thumb, the glossier the paint finish, the easier it will be to clean. That's why gloss-finishes are commonly used for kitchens and bathrooms.

Matte paint is non-reflective, which means that it will have no sheen. Matte paint is good for hiding imperfections in walls and surfaces, as the finish won't reflect any light and so any imperfections will be less noticeable. However, matte paint can be harder to clean.

An alternative to a matte finish is eggshell paint. Eggshell has a subtle sheen to it. Satin paint is another popular choice for those who want a bit of sheen to their paint job. For those looking for a more glossy finish, semi-gloss paint is the most common type of gloss paint. Semi-gloss paint has a bit more shine to it than eggshell or satin, but not as much as high-gloss.

High-gloss paint gives a glass-like finish, similar to enamel oil-based paints. It's also very durable, making it a good choice for areas that see a lot of wear and tear.

Interior vs. Exterior Paints

Exterior paint is formulated to withstand the elements, such as temperature changes, moisture, and sunlight. The additives needed to achieve this, which also includes mildew prevention, results in exterior paint having high VOC levels. This makes exterior paint unsafe to use indoors.

While you can use interior paint for outdoor applications, interior paint will crack and fade when exposed to sunlight and other harsh weather conditions. Exterior paint is specifically designed to withstand these elements, so it's a better choice for painting your home's exterior.

There are some paints that can be used both indoors and outdoors. For example, the BEHR Premium Plus Interior/Exterior Hi-Gloss Enamel paint sold by The Home Depot is both mildew-resistant for outdoor use while stain resistant for indoor use. However, at $49.97 for a 3.79L (one gallon) can, it does cost slightly more than ordinary interior paint.

Self-Priming Paint

Self-priming paint, sometimes called paint & primer in one, is a type of paint that does not require a separate primer coat. This makes it ideal for those who want to save time by not having to wait for coats of primer to dry. Depending on your use case, you may still need two coats of self-priming paint. There are also cases where self-priming paint isn’t recommended. This includes glossy surfaces where primer would be needed separately.

Financing a Paint Project

Whether you’re just looking to purchase a few cans of paint for a room or you’re planning on significant renovations to your home, it’s worth knowing the financing options available to you. This includes home renovation loans, store credit cards, and HELOCs.

Store Credit Cards

The major home improvement stores in Canada, including The Home Depot, Rona, and Lowe’s, all have store credit cards and project financing options. This can be a good option for smaller projects where you need temporary financing. All three store cards can only be used at their respective stores, however, a benefit is that they offer promotional financing on purchases.

The Home Depot’s Consumer Credit Card offers up to 6 months interest-free financing on purchases of $299 or more, while the Project Loan Card is offered for up to 60 months with no down payment at a rate of 6.99%. Lowe’s Consumer Credit Card also gives cardholders six months interest-free financing on purchases of $299 or more. Rona has a deferred payment plan where you can get 0% interest for up to 6 months on purchases of $299 or more, or 0% interest for 3 months on purchases of $99 or more.

Personal Credit Cards

Some credit cards may give extra cash back for home improvement projects. For example, the Tangerine World Mastercard gives 2% cash back on up to three categories that you can choose from. One of those categories include home improvements, which means that you can earn 2% cash back on your paint purchases.

In addition to looking for credit cards that offer extra cash back on home improvement projects, you can also use rewards points to pay for your supplies. For example, you can redeem your Aeroplan, RBC Rewards Points, or Air Miles for gift cards for home improvement retailers. While this might not be the most efficient use of your points, it does mean that you could potentially use your rewards points to pay for all or part of your paint purchases.

Personal Loans

A personal loan is a step above store credit cards for home renovation projects of a slightly larger scale. While personal loans may have a high interest rate, they will still be lower than the interest rate charged by a credit card after their promotional financing period expires. You'll also be able to choose to have a term spanning multiple years, making your loan payments affordable. A personal line of credit is an alternative to a personal loan.


A home equity line of credit (HELOC) allows homeowners to borrow money using their home equity. This gives you access to cash when you need it, which can be useful if you have multiple ongoing home improvement projects. HELOC rates are also low compared to personal loans and credit cards.

Paint Financing Tips

No matter which financing option you choose, there are a few things to keep in mind when planning your paint project.

First, make sure you have a clear idea of the scope of work and estimated cost. This will help you determine how much money you need to borrow and what type of loan is best for you. The paint calculator on this page can help you estimate the amount and cost of paint required for your project. If this won’t be a do-it-yourself project and you’ll be hiring the services of a professional, keep in mind that the cost of labour will add significantly to the total cost of the painting project.

Second, be aware of the interest rates and terms associated with each type of loan before borrowing. This will help you avoid any surprises down the road and ensure you can afford the monthly payments. For loans with a variable interest rate, you may want to take a look at current prime rates to give you an idea of the potential cost of a variable rate loan.

Third, If you have the cash available, paying for your project upfront is often the best option. This allows you to completely avoid interest charges and doesn’t involve any applications or credit checks.

Finally, remember that home improvement projects, like painting, can add value to your home. Home improvements can be a good use of money that might otherwise be sitting in a savings account. If you plan on selling in the future, the increase in your home’s value could offset the cost of the project and give you a return on your investment.

The calculators and content on this page are provided for general information purposes only. WOWA does not guarantee the accuracy of information shown and is not responsible for any consequences of the use of the calculator.