Painting Cost Per Square Foot Commercial Building

A fresh coat of paint keeps your commercial property looking in tip-top condition and gives customers a fantastic first impression of your business. Additionally, your staff will be happier and more productive if they work in a well-maintained environment. But what is the painting cost per square foot of a commercial building?

If it’s time to paint your commercial exterior or interior then you’ll want a professional painting company that can stick to your budget and provides a high-quality finish that lasts. Not sure where to start? We’ve covered the basics involved in calculating the average painting cost per square foot for a commercial building.

How Much Paint is Needed?

Calculating the amount of paint required isn’t difficult. First, determine if you want just the walls painted or the ceiling and any trim as well. Multiply the length of each wall by its height and then add them together. Do the same for any doors and windows and subtract this figure from the wall space to get the total square footage of wall space.

If you want to paint the ceiling, then you’ll need to multiply the length of the room by the width to get the gross ceiling area. Add this onto the total square footage for the wall space.

Once you’ve determined the total square footage that needs painting you can calculate the amount of paint needed. Bear in mind that one gallon of paint typically covers 300 square feet of a smooth wall in a commercial application. Most professional painters prefer premium-quality paint, which costs between around $50 – $75 per gallon.

 

How Much Will I Pay for Labor?

While an onsite visit gives a contractor a more accurate labor cost estimate, there are guidelines that are used to help determine labor costs.

A professional painter should be able to paint the walls with a two-coat painting system in a regular office (14’ wide x 14’ length x 9’ high = 504 square feet) in about 3.5 hours of time. An average painter should be able to cover about 150 square feet an hour. If you divide 504 by 150 you get 3.36.

A painting contractor will charge between $65-$80 per hour with today’s rates, taxes, and insurance.

Keep in mind that the painter has to cut in clean paint lines along all the edges of the room (ceiling, baseboards or floor, doors and window frames, etc.) using a brush, and then roll the walls two separate times with a paint roller (in vacant or new facilities, sprayers may be used to go faster).

The cost of painting the walls with a typical brush-and-roll two-coat paint system should be around .45 cents per square foot.

Note: This pricing structure doesn’t include work that will increase labor costs including:

  • Extra masking or protection of furnishings and flooring
  • Priming major prep work (peeling paint, large cracks or holes)
  • Paint materials (quality and prices vary)
  • Major furniture moving
  • Logistics – parking/unloading/loading challenges,

These all need to be identified and will add to the labor cost. Sometimes, photos are enough to provide for an accurate proposal, but other times it’s best to schedule an onsite estimate for a visual inspection.

 

Estimating Exterior Commercial Painting Costs

Commercial Painting EstimateTo come up with an accurate cost estimate, you need to assess the scope of the project along with the technical implications. Below are a few things to consider when estimating the cost of a commercial painting job.

  • The size of the area: To calculate the area you need to paint, you must multiply the height by the length of each wall. Then, add the figures obtained to get the total square footage. You must also calculate the areas you don’t need to paint, such as windows and doors, and subtract their total square footage from the total square footage of outside walls. To give you an example, for a building with 4 exterior walls, each wall being 30 feet wide and 20 feet high, the total square footage is 2,400 (4x30x20). If the building has 8 windows (each 5 feet wide and 6 feet high) and 1 exterior door (6.5 feet wide and 8 feet high), the total square footage you need to subtract from the wall footage is 292 (windows: 8x5x6=240 square feet; door: 6.5×8=52 square feet). Therefore, the total square footage to be painted is 2,108 (2,400-292).
  • Determine the amount of paint needed: Usually, one gallon of paint covers about 400 square feet of smooth surface and 300 square feet of textured surface. If we consider the aforementioned example, you need about 5.5 gallons of paint to cover 2,108 square feet of smooth surface and 7.5 gallons of paint for textured surface. If two coats are needed, you will double the amount of project listed above.
  • Calculate the total cost for materials: Since good-quality exterior paint costs about $25 to $40 per gallon, you’ll have to pay between $140 (5.5x$25) and $300 (7.5x$40) only for the paint. You may also want to add brushes, rollers, paint trays, and drop cloths.
  • Determine labor cost: To calculate labor costs, it’s essential to establish how many hours a worker will need to complete the job. Make sure that you also include wall preparation tasks, such as washing, scraping, caulking, treating problem areas, and applying a primer. If a worker, for instance, can prepare 50 square feet and paint roughly 150 square feet per hour, the project will take about 57 hours (2,108÷50=42.16 hours to prepare the area; 2,108÷150=14.05 hours to paint the area). Then, you need to multiply the number of hours by what you pay your workers. If you pay $15 an hour, for example, the total labor cost is $855 (57×15).

 

Estimating How Much Paint to Buy

Before you begin painting your home’s interior walls, ceiling, woodwork, doors, or windows, you need to estimate the amount of paint you’ll use. Estimates require specific calculations for each surface you want to paint.

To estimate the amount of paint you need in order to cover the walls of a room, add together the length of all the walls and then multiply the number by the height of the room, from floor to ceiling. The number you get is the room’s square footage. Is that math class coming back to you now?

Examples

The following examples walk you through the calculations for determining how much paint you need for a 14-x-20-foot room that’s 8 feet tall and has two doors and two windows.

Ceiling paint estimator

Use the following formula to estimate the amount of ceiling paint you need. Double the result if the ceiling requires two coats.

  1. Multiply the length of the ceiling times its width to find its area. 14 × 20 = 280 square feet
  2. Divide that number by 350 (the estimated square feet covered per gallon) to figure out how many gallons of paint you need. 280 ÷ 350 = .8

For this example, you want to buy 1 gallon of ceiling paint for a single coat.

Wall paint estimator

Use the following formula to estimate the amount of wall paint you need. Double the result if the walls require two coats.

  1. Add together the length of each wall. 14 + 20 + 14 + 20 = 68 feet
  2. Multiply the sum by the wall height, to find the total wall area. 68 × 8 = 544 square feet
  3. Subtract 20 square feet for each door (20 × 2 = 40) and 15 square feet for each window (15 × 2 = 30) to find the actual amount of wall area you’re painting. 544 – 70 = 474 square feet
  4. Divide this figure by the paint coverage (350 square feet per gallon), and the result is the number of gallons to purchase.474 ÷ 350 = 1.4

For this example, you want to buy 1 gallon and 2 quarts of paint for a single coat.

 

Tips

  • In general, you can expect 1 gallon of paint to cover about 350 square feet. You need slightly more than a gallon if the walls are unpainted drywall, which absorbs more of the paint. You also need to consider whether to paint more than one coat. If you’re painting walls that are unfinished, heavily patched, or dark in color, plan on applying two coats of paint.
  • When painting a dark color, pros often add a color tint to the white primer. Tints for both latex or alkyd paints are available at most paint stores. For best results, choose a tint shade that’s closest to the top coat color.