If you're embarking on a spot of home decorating one of the first questions you might ask is, 'how much paint am I going to need to buy'. Use this guide to answer just that.

How to work out how much paint you need

Work out how much paint you need before you buy any at all. It's better to overestimate than underestimate, so as to be sure that you can complete an entire room, or the outside of your house, with paint from the same batch.

Most paint tins indicate the average area of wall or other surface they will cover, but the table below offers a rough general guide for different types of paint. Porosity, texture and the base colour of the surface will affect the amount you actually need.

Highly porous surfaces, such as bare plaster, will absorb a considerable amount - especially when priming. Rough surfaces, such as woodchip or pebbledash, are also very thirsty.

Two or three undercoats may be necessary to cover a very strong base colour, and always allow for at least two topcoats for good protection against the weather on external surfaces.

Coverage per litre

Coating Coverage

Primer 8-12m2
Undercoat 16m2
Gloss 14m2
Non-drip gloss 12m2
Emulsion 10-13m2
Masonry paint 5-10m2
 

Other questions you might ask when decorating (click for answers)

What kind of primer do I need?

Should I use a paintbrush, roller, pad or spray gun?

How do I prepare textured surfaces such as tiles and bricks?

Do I really need to use primer undercoat and finish?

What order should I paint everything in?

How do I look after my equipment?

Are there any tips, tricks and techniques I should know about?

 

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