5 Essential Paint Calculators to Use Before Your Next Painting Project

Figure out how much paint you need, estimate costs, pick paint colors, and more, all without a single trip to the paint store.

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Tackling a major paint job may seem like the easiest, most affordable way to change the look and feel of a room (or an entire home), but interior house painting has its own costs and requires its own sort of planning, especially if it's going to be a DIY project. Home painting veterans may already have all the necessary tools on any good painting supplies list, but everyone from first-time painters to almost-pros will need to double-check a few things before they get started.

That's where these paint calculators, quizzes, and online tools come in. Painting isn't just a matter of figuring out the cost to paint a room with the help of pros, deciding whether to do that or make it a DIY project, and then slapping some paint on the walls. Paint colors need to be chosen, the appropriate amount (and type) of supplies need to be collected, and budgets (monetary and time) need to be made—and the internet has a slew of helpful online tools to make it all possible.

These paint calculators are for standard paint projects, without the dangerous add-ons of lead paint, faulty wiring, and other problems that can add time and money to any painting budget. Working around and resolving this issues is not impossible, but it will take a little extra man- and mind-power. For average projects, though, dig up a paint measure, take stock of the breadth of the painting that needs to be done, and turn to these helpful calculators to make painting as easy as possible.

An interior painting cost calculator

Sometimes, hiring a team of pros (or even a neighborhood teenager who's good with a paintbrush) to tackle the job is best. Like all home remodeling costs, painting estimates can vary by room size, location, and the company doing the work, but this cost calculator from home improvement site Thumbtack can help pinpoint how much it might cost near a particular zip code.

For DIY paint jobs, the cost of supplies—paint can be pricy—will determine the final cost. Include how much paint and primer will be needed, plus items like extra rollers, painter's tape, tarps, and more.

A “how long does painting take” calculator

For some people, budgeting time is just as important as budgeting money. If hiring pros isn't an option but a painting project has a deadline, use this formula to calculate how long the work will take. Factor in time for drying, too. First-timers will want to pad their estimates, just in case, and all amateur painters should be wary of moving too quickly (like not painting corners properly) to save time—doing so almost always ends with a spill, a bad paint job, or another accident.

A quiz for picking the right painter’s tape

Painter's tape is an essential, especially if trim, wainscoting, or another wall feature needs to remain the same color. (The alternative is going back over everything to remove smudges and stray brushstrokes.) Different kinds of painter's tape serve different paint projects, and picking a specialized option can make the project a little easier. This quiz will make sure painters are picking the best tape for the job.

A paint color quiz

Picking between a handful of paint colors can be difficult; picking from what feels like thousands can be impossible. Add in factors such as changing light levels and ceiling height, and any cautious person could spend hours perusing swatches. This paint color quiz keeps it short and sweet, with discerning questions that help narrow options down to a manageable number.

A paint quantity calculator

A gallon of paint might seem like a lot, but it almost definitely can't cover a whole room, especially if multiple coats are required. Use a paint calculator—like this one, which offers quick and more detailed calculators—that asks for room dimensions (you'll want a tape measure), the number of doors and windows, and more to calculate approximately how many gallons of paint will be needed to get the job done. If it comes down to it, it's better to round up than run out of paint mid-project. The surplus can be set aside for touch-ups or possibly even returned, if it hasn't been opened.

For exterior paint projects, look for a guide (like this one) that helps incorporate gutters, special exterior features, and more.

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