Interior Painting Prices

Interior Painting Prices

Builders/general contractors will communicate to commercial painters in square feet. Professional Residential Painters will also communicate with homeowners in square feet as well. However the 2 measurements are much different and will drastically effect interior painting prices. Lets see what happens to interior painting prices as we evaluate the differences between the 2 worlds.

Builders are usually talking about the floor space (square feet) because they are in charge of a budget for the entire project. Example: on Zillow you will see this house is $119 per square foot. This floor space square feet number comes in handy when dealing with multiple properties such as a home builder and works well to simplify interior painting prices within their industry. It would not make sense for the painting company to measure every square inch of every blueprint/model/option etc…

Commercial painters are often able to spray inside, do to the scheduling of the construction of the building. Spraying is much more efficient than using a brush and roller with the absence of flooring, cabinets, doors etc…

Interior Painting Prices

Interior Painting

On the flip side, Professional Residential Painters don’t have the luxury of spraying interiors. They must possess skills such as communicative, efficiency, cleanliness, professionalism and accuracy and will be dealing direct to consumer. This type of painting is more dangerous and time consuming than its counterpart (the commercial painter or production painter).

Major issues can occur if a homeowner accidentally hires a commercial painter (who typically sprays everything) to repaint by hand their personal home.

Knowing the difference between the very different skill sets will surely save you time, money, damage and agrivasion.

Again, the reason you can’t spray residential interiors is because it would not be efficient. It would take to long and cost more money to protect the contents of your home from overspray. Also it would deem your home unlivable for a few days with plastic everywhere.

Most residential repaints, when brushed and rolled, occur with homeowners going about there everyday business as usual with only slight inconveniences. Face it, it is much easier to paint a new construction home with the absence of flooring, kitchen cabinet, bath tubs, furniture etc….

Explaining Interior Painting Prices

Builders will hire a huge  commercial painting company for all its painting needs. The commercial painting company will command approximately $1.00 per square foot (of the floor).

Remember interior painting prices can fluctuate due to supply and demand. Other variances will depend on the location, client, track home, semi custom to custom. Today, we will keep it simple and use the round number.

The commercial painting company will now sub contract the work to sub contractors.  Lets say for  $0.50 a square foot, keep in mind this is for commercial production painting . The painting contractor will provide the materials on these types of projects but I know that they use the cheapest products that Sherwin Williams produces. On a 3,000 square foot home the builder pays out approximately $3,000. Commercial contractor gets $1,500 and the sub contractor gets $1,500.

Interior Painting Prices

Interior Painting

Professional Residential Painters will create a more personalized product to fit your specific needs. The interior painting prices will start at approximately $0.30 a square foot (not floor but wall space). This price would be including all labor and materials.

This would actually cover a much higher quality wall paint than in the commercial world but still be considered mid grade.  They will suggest much higher quality products not to charge more, but for performance. The brush and roll (more time consuming) process will only work with  premium paints. Premium paints with higher volume solids. Higher volume solids that will cover in 2 coats or less.

For trim work they will need self leveling, hard resin trim paints.  Self leveling paint won’t leave brush strokes (because they can’t spray your trim).

Lets use the example from the last paragraph to compare the 2 very different painters and  interior painting prices. On the same 3,000 square foot house instead of giving the homeowner a price of a $1.00 a square foot, the Professional Residential Painter will actually measure all the wall space. Lets say the 3,000 square foot (by the floor) home has 5,500 square feet of wall surface to be painted.

A:    5,500 sq ft (actual wall space)  x  $0.30 (per sq ft) = $1,650 (that is for 1 coat) just walls

B:    5,500 sq ft  x  $0.30 = $1,650  x  2  = $3,300 (for 2 coats) just walls

Keep in mind that these prices include mid grade paint (benjamin moore ultra spec or sherwin super paint).

If we add the baseboards in at $1.00 a linear foot and keeping in the spirit of round numbers (500 ln ft)

C:    5,500 sq ft  x  $0.30 = $1,650  x  2 = $3,300 + $500 for baseboards = $3,800

Lets add doors and jams at $50 a pop ( and we have 25 doors ) = $1250

D:   5,500 sq ft  x  $0.30 = $1,650 x 2 = $3,300 + $500 = $3,800 + $1,250 = $5,050

Now for the final comparison lets add the ceiling. *note rarely are ceilings completely repainted but for apples to apples we will add. ( 3,000 sq ft house has 3,000 sq ft of ceiling x $0.40 per sq ft ). = $1,200

E:  5,500 sq ft  x  $0.30 = $1,650 x 2 = $3,300 + $500 = $3,800 + $1,250 = $5,050 + $1,200 = $6,250

Smart Comparison by the Facts

Beware of a painter gives you a quote to repaint the entire interior of your home and uses the square feet of your homes floor. He probably doesn’t perform Professional Residential Repaints full time. Chances are he is a commercial production painter out of work. Unfortunately, he is looking to get in to residential repaints because he heard the money was good. If he quotes you a $1.00 a square foot to paint the entire interior of your home run for the hills.

1)   5,500 sq ft x 2 coats = 11,000 sq ft of paintable wall surface (super paint will go 350 sq ft per gallon). 11,000 divided by 350 = 32 gallons x $38 per gallon = $1,216.  Add 4 gallons of pro classic trim paint ($50 per gallon) $1,616,  add 10 gallons of high build ceiling paint ($30 per gallon) $1,916. If a painter quoted you $1 a square foot to hand paint your entire interior and buys mid grade paint he would be left with $3,000 – $1,916 ( in material cost ) = $1,084.

The guy who quoted you $1 a square foot is used to making $0.50 a square foot in labor hence the contractors supplied the materials. His job is showing up, turn on the sprayer and let it fly. His quote of a $1 per sq ft sounds like a lot of money.

Unfortunately he didn’t factor in the paint he will be using is 3x more expensive than the cheap builder paint. He didn’t factor in the amount of time that would have to be spent hand painting.

The sub also didn’t expect to go so long without a pay check. So now he has been working at your house for 3 weeks, your house is only half way finished. He is in a bad mood, its awkward, he has lost everything on this one job. He is asking for more money everyday and you just wanted your house painted.

Where did you go wrong? I believe as a homeowner (I’m talking to myself as well) we have a responsibility to do research on products, people and processes. Its your money and your responsibility to protect it.

Before hiring a painter  its important to know the different types. Also, we know paint can range in price from $10-$90 per gallon. Do some research and know quality/cost. Finally, don’t be greedy, if it sounds to good to be true it probably is.


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