How Long Does It Take To Paint A Room? (Find Out Now!)
Painting a room is a simple way to customize your home and give it the refresh it may need. Applying interior paint is a much easier process when compared to exterior paint, which is why many homeowners elect to do the work themselves rather than hiring a professional.
In fact, it’s no secret that hiring professional painters for your home can be rather costly. By tackling your paint job as a DIY project, you can end up saving a ton of money.
With the necessary prep work and the proper tools, painting a room can be done by virtually anyone. But, how long does it actually take to paint a room? The answer to this question depends on a number of factors such as how big the room is, how many hands you have on deck, and whether your walls have any intricate details that will require special care.
When you factor in all of these considerations, painting a room could take anywhere from 45 minutes to over six hours. Between four and six hours is the more accepted range, especially when you consider preparation and cleanup.
Let’s explore this question in further detail, breaking down each step in the process and examining standard room sizes. We’ll also provide you with some helpful tips for fast painting, while still achieving the best results.
How Long Does It Take to Paint a Room?
While this is a very common question, it isn’t necessarily a question with a very straightforward answer. After all, not every room is the same and not every painter has the experience required to work quickly. For the majority of nonprofessional painters, it could take nearly an entire day to paint a full room from prep to cleanup. However, there are a number of factors that influence how long it takes to paint an entire room:
- Whether or not you’ve painted before. If this is your first paint job, you’ll probably have to factor in more time to get acquainted with things. You’ll also most likely need to rely more heavily on painter’s tape until you become more experienced with cutting in.
- The size of the room. Of course, the preparation and painting of a room will take much more time the larger the room is. The areas of the room that you are painting should be considered as well. For instance, if you’re only painting the walls and not the ceiling, this will cut down considerably on painting time.
- The type of paint. The amount of drying time between coats will depend on the type of paint you are using. For example, latex paint dries much faster and can be recoated earlier than other types.
- Necessary preparation. You need to factor in the time required for moving furniture, laying down drop cloths, taping off, etc. This step can take more time based on the size of the room and also the amount of furniture that needs to be moved.
- Beginning wall color. If the wall you are painting over is a dark or bright color, you can expect it to take you more time and more coats to fully cover it.
- Application method. You have three main application methods when it comes to painting a room: rolling, spraying, and brushing. Spraying is the fastest method but is generally best suited for industrial surfaces and exterior applications. The most efficient way to paint indoors is to use rollers to cover large expanses and brushes to cut in the edges.
- Decorative elements. If the room has any complicated molding or other elements that could require more attention, you should factor in more time for taping, cutting in, and painting.
- The number of coats. Unless you’re performing a simple touchup, painting an entire room requires more than one coat. In general, the first coat takes the longest to apply and the second coat will help to fully cover the surface and saturate the color.
With all of these factors in mind, let’s continue on by breaking down each step in the painting process. According to the National Home Builder Association, the average bedroom size is 432 square feet, or 13’ by 13’ with an 8’ ceiling. Using these measurements as our standard, we’ll determine how much time each step takes.
Step One: Painting Preparation
Total Average Time: 80 minutes
The first step in any paint job is preparation. Properly prepping a room is essential to ensuring that the final finish is both clean and smooth. Here are some things you should do prior to applying any paint:
- Spackling any holes, dents, or dings in the walls.
- Cleaning the trim first and then taping around window trim, door trim, and floor trim.
- Removing light switches, outlet covers, and any picture frames or artwork from the walls.
- Sanding the walls smooth with either a sanding pole or sanding sponge.
- Moving furniture away from the walls and covering them with drop cloths or plastic material.
- Laying out drop cloths to protect the floor.
Depending on the overall condition, a standard 432 square foot bedroom will take an average of 80 minutes to prepare.
Step Two: Cutting in the Ceiling and Trim
Total Average Time: 140 minutes
The next step in the painting process is to start cutting in the ceiling. This involves painting along the ceiling with a brush to create a sharp, clean line where the ceiling meets the walls. The time required to complete this step will largely depend on your level of skill and experience.
For the average painter, you can expect it to take between 40 and 60 minutes to cut in the first coat on the ceiling and 30-40 minutes for the second.
When it comes to cutting in the trim, the process is pretty much the same except with the trim already taped off, it should go much faster. In addition to painting along the trim, you’ll also brush around switches, outlets, corners, and any areas that aren’t easily accessible to a roller. Cutting in the trim should take the average painter 30 minutes per coat, with a total of 140 minutes to cut in both the trim and the ceiling.
Step Three: Painting the Walls
Total Average Time: 80 minutes
After you’ve completed cutting in, you can begin rolling out the walls. Thankfully, rolling is a task that doesn’t take very much skill to achieve great results. As long as you take breaks to examine your work and roll over any streaks, runs, light spots, or sags, you’ll have a smooth finish at the end.
For most, this is the easiest and quickest step to a paint job. You don’t have to be as precise and have a much larger area to work with. Rolling out the walls typically takes the average painter (in a standard 432 square foot bedroom) roughly 40 minutes per coat.
Step Four: Cleanup and Touch Up
Total Average Time: 30 minutes
The last step in any painting job is to put the room back together and touch up any mistakes or missed areas. This involves removing the painter’s tape, replacing the light switch and outlet plates, cleaning up any dust, folding up the drop cloths, and rehanging picture frames. Before you move any furniture back, thoroughly inspect your work for any light areas, missed spots, or undesirable paint on the ceiling or trim.
The time to complete this step will vary based on how thorough you were during the rest of the paint job. However, you should give yourself about 30 minutes to both clean up and touch up the room.
How to Calculate the Time to Paint a Room
Based on the numbers gathered above on the average time to complete each step in the painting process, we can come to the following conclusions:
Example Room: 432 sq ft
|Minutes Per sq ft|
|Cutting in||140 minutes||0.32|
|Total time||330 minutes or 5.5 hours||0.76|
When we add up the time it takes to complete each step in the process, it takes an average of 5.5 hours to paint a standard 432 square foot, 13′ by 13′ room. Drawing from these numbers, this table indicates the amount of time, per square foot, it takes to paint a room. To complete the entire painting process it takes a total of 0.76 minutes per square foot.
In order to apply this information to any sized room, you first need to determine the square footage of the room you are painting. You will then take that number and multiply it by 0.76 to yield the total minutes it will take to paint the room.
How Long It Takes to Paint Standard Room Sizes
Based on the above calculations, examine the table below for standard room sizes in the home and how long it takes, on average, to paint them. These standard room sizes are based on home construction averages in the United States.
|Room||Standard Size||Time to Paint|
|Living Room||319 square feet||242.4 minutes or 4 hours|
|Kitchen||175-200 square feet||133-152 minutes or 2-2.5 hours|
|Bedroom||432 square feet||330 minutes or 5.5 hours|
|Bathroom||60 square feet||45.6 minutes|
|Foyer||80 square feet||60.8 minutes or roughly 1 hour|
Although the time it takes to paint a room is determined by a number of factors, this gives you a rough estimate of how long it takes to paint standard-sized rooms in the home. Every home is different and your rooms may not be the same square footage as indicated above. To obtain the most accurate time, determine the square footage of your room and do the calculations yourself.
How to Paint a Room Fast
If you want to know how to paint like the pros and speed up the process, follow the tips outlined below. These suggestions can help even the most novice DIYers achieve a finish that looks like it was done by an experienced professional.
- Properly prepare the surface. A successful paint job goes hand in hand with how you prepare the surface initially. This means that you must sand, scrape, fill, and patch every crack, hole, dent, and surface impurity. While this step isn’t always fun, it is the most important. It is impossible for any type of paint to fully cover a cracked or pockmarked wall.
- Tinting the primer. Priming your walls before painting is a vital step to improve paint adhesion and block stains from bleeding through. One thing that professional painters do is to tint the primer using a small amount of topcoat. This trick helps to boost the ability of the topcoat to conceal the primer underneath.
- Having the right equipment. By far, the number one way to speed up your painting time is to use the proper tools. For maximum efficiency, you’ll need to acquire a 2-by-4-foot extension pole for your rollers, angled paintbrushes for cutting in, and an appropriately sized rolling tray. When you’re shopping for extension poles, grab one that has a rigid metal core with a comfortable, nonslip grip. You’ll also want the threaded end of the pole to be metal as well. Avoid plastic handles, as they are too flexible and can be difficult to control.
- Use canvas drop cloths. While plastic drop cloths are an affordable way to protect your furnishings and floors from paint, investing in canvas is the way to go. Canvas is resistant to ripping, very durable, and lays completely flat. As opposed to plastic, canvas absorbs paint and won’t be slippery when spattered. Canvas drop cloths are also much easier to manage and are not one-use materials; they will last you a lifetime.
- Store brushes in the refrigerator. If you’ve finished painting for the day but have more work to do tomorrow, you do not have to spend time cleaning your brushes and rollers. Instead, simply remove excess paint, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, seal out the air, and place them in the fridge. Storing your brushes and roller sleeves in the refrigerator will keep the paint fresh, and after removing them and letting them cool for 30 minutes they’ll be ready to use!
Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.
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