How long to paint a room?

27 posts by 24 users

Uwe K.

from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Oct 20 '12, 05:50 AM

Just curious about those who do their own painting. How long does it take you to paint an avg. size room. Let's assume:

- a 10x12 room
- ceiling one color, with a simple piece of moulding in the same color
- walls a different color
- 2 windows, 2 doors, cutting in
- two coats needed
- not including painting baseboards and casing and prepping all done. No primer needed. Brush and roller, no spraying.

I am just finishing up a SFR that I couldn't spray. So I wanted to do a statistically irrelevant survey among BP DIYers.

Callum K.

Investor from Tulsa, Oklahoma

Oct 20 '12, 08:46 AM

I have knocked out a room of that size in under a day. Typically the most time consuming aspect of it all has been taping.

Scott Williams

Real Estate Investor from Vancouver, Washington

Oct 20 '12, 08:56 AM

How long it takes to paint a room depends on the person painting, The quality of paint jobwanted and time for paint to set between colors/coats. You should be able to do a good paint job in a day with touch up next morning with fresh eyes Good Luck

J Scott Verified Moderator Donor

Investor / Business Guy from Ellicott City, Maryland

Oct 20 '12, 09:53 AM

I've only tried it once (in my personal residence). Took about 2 days before I gave up and called my painter, who started over and got it done in about 4 hours.

Medium lishproplogoJ Scott, Lish Properties, LLC
E-Mail: [email protected]

Glenn Espinosa

Rehabber from Alexandria, Virginia

Oct 20 '12, 10:44 AM

Prep work completed? Throw down something to protect the floors and I could get it done in under 6 hours. Longest part would be drying in between coats, really.

Jon Holdman Moderator

Investor from Wheat Ridge, Colorado

Oct 20 '12, 10:53 AM

Prep can take as much time as painting. If the room is being used, moving everthing out and back in can be the most time consuming of all. But starting with an empty room, doing prep and painting, a day.

I recently painted a closet. That's just as much work as a real room! Well, not quite, becuase there was only one door. But just as much cutting in as a full sized room. And good luck keeping your butt out of the paint.

Jon Holdman, Flying Phoenix LLC

Jeff Smith

from Evans, Georgia

Oct 20 '12, 10:59 AM

When we say "you could get it done in a day", what is a
day"? Are we talking the average 8 hour work day? Are we talking the hours that there are daylight so you can accurately see the paint job and now be influenced by the shading of artifical light? Are we talking the 24 hours in a day?

Lynn M.

Investor from Chesapeake, Virginia

Oct 20 '12, 02:34 PM

Originally posted by Jon Holdman:

I recently painted a closet. That's just as much work as a real room! Well, not quite, becuase there was only one door. But just as much cutting in as a full sized room. And good luck keeping your butt out of the paint.

Painting half-baths are my nightmare. You have to be a contortionist to get paint around the plumbing without making a mess, and cutting in feels like you're doing a whole house instead of just one tiny room.

Robert Pangborn

Real Estate Investor from Maybrook, New York

Oct 20 '12, 08:21 PM

If you only have one day to complete this project, assuming the room is empty and walls are prepped and Figuring 4 hours between 1st and second coat of paint, I would cut the ceiling and walls (as far as I can reach from my small rolling scaffolding) at the same time. Roll the ceiling. Finish cutting walls, windows and doors, roll walls. Then cut and paint woodwork around doors and windows and baseboard. Eat a lunch. Then Re-roll ceiling and walls. Cleanup and eat dinner. Then touch up walls. (I always use spot light when painting to avoid the problem of shadows. When you use 300 watt bulbs to light a room while painting, It is very hard to find mistakes under normal light when finished.) I estimate starting at 7 am and finish cleanup by 7 pm.

Hope this helps.

Dave M.

Residential Landlord from Chicago, Illinois

Oct 20 '12, 08:42 PM
1 vote

Rental: 3 hours. Wouldn't do a 2nd coat on ceiling. If walls need it I will go back over them again. By the time I get back for the 2nd coat the wall is already dry.

Rob K.

Investor from Southeast, Michigan

Oct 21 '12, 03:14 PM
1 vote

@Dave M. is right. If the ceiling is already a light color, a good paint in flat white whould only take one coat. That should only take 30-45 minutes. When I've painted walls, I would do all the cutting on two walls and then roll them. Then the same thing on the other two walls. Should take about 1-2 two hours. I would put a fan on it and then paint it again soon.

As far as using tape, it's a waste of time. If you ever hire a painter and he shows up with tape, send him home. A pro will sneak right up to the edge and not waste time and money on tape. That blue tape is for people that don't know how to paint.

Last year, both of my daughters wanted their bedrooms to be pink. I dropped them off at my parents house and went ape bleep on their rooms. I had to remove their names in wooden letters from the walls which pulled off some of the drywall. I patched the bad spots with 5 minute mud and put a fan on it. I went back and forth between the bedrooms and did several coats of mud. I then sanded and primed those areas. I didn't paint the ceilings or trim, but was able to paint each bedroom with one coat and then put on a second coat the next morning. The hardest part was moving all of their small furniture out in the hall and then had to move beds and dressers back and forth.

They had no idea I was doing all of this and when they came home from spending the night at grandma and grandpa's, they were super excited. The whole project was worth it. I was pretty happy with how fast I got it all done, although it was a very late night.

Scott W.

from chicago, Illinois

Oct 21 '12, 06:24 PM

I told the last tenants, "I'm not painting it. Everything was in good condition from when we lived there for 9 years. When we rented out my wife's former residence, we didn't paint that either.

Too many LL's out there think they gotta paint the whole house upon turnover. If it's bad, of course. I've found a tan color really holds up good; I can spot paint over it & they don't know the difference.

Slap the paint on the roller as much as you can...laye it on thick.That's one thing. And always paint across from the sun.

Rob K is correct - if they need tape, they suck. Once, I was working on a rental between tenants. It was a somewhat shady area & some dude renting a room next door was making conversation w/ me. Turns out he said he was a former painter. "How much? $10/hr. I quized him (my white trash interview), tested him on some stuff in the rental & then said, "You're hired!"

He was an awesome painter. I had him paint everything, including the garage.

The last night, he started screwing up. I figured he was getting tired since he was working 12 hour days. Turns out it was an empty bottle of an 8 ball Colt 45.

Ed Lee

Residential Real Estate Agent from Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Oct 21 '12, 08:15 PM

Varies pretty wildly depending on who's doing it. I just had a 1000 sq ft 2br house painted. Took a couple days to prep. Day to trim paint, day to 1st coat and another day to 2nd coat.
I was shocked how fast he was able to roll the walls.

This was with a professional doing it. Would have taken me 2-3 weeks and would still look like garbage.

Account Closed

Oct 21 '12, 09:19 PM

Wow. I worked with an apartment painter for about 6 months in the early eighties. He happened to be my father-in-law at the time. He typically had to complete 2 to 3 apartment units in one day. These were generally 2 and 3-bedroom units. The apartments were empty but were usually move-in ready and only needed to be painted.

The apartments each used the same paint and paint color between move-ins and it was necessary to do a full repaint (one coat). The managers liked his work because they rarely found paint skips, drips or other paint issues.

I was spoiled after working with him. I worked for several painting contractors later doing accounting work and writing up paint and drywall estimates. It didn't take me long at all to find out that most painters didn't work nearly as fast as my father-in-law.

Aaron McGinnis

Contractor/Flipper from Atlanta, Georgia

Oct 21 '12, 09:30 PM
2 votes

The key to painting is.... tools and prep work AND good paint.

Good paint cannot be stressed enough! If you're working with a roller and brush, then having good paint makes such a difference in completion time it's hard to believe. Painting with cheap paint is like trying to roll on food coloring... it's messy and very hard to get right.

A good roller is important. You'll want a 4' extension for walls and ceilings. You'll want a 3.5" or 4" cut-brush.

As has been noted - don't use tape. Tape takes a really long time to lay out and costs a ton of money. Learn to cut with your cut-brush instead.

Also, using the standard sized roller is like trying to paint the world with a tooth pick. Consider buying a large roller - it will make the job go a LOT faster and you'll wonder why you ever messed around with a small roller.

A pro painter will use stilts to cut a ceiling/crown trim. I don't want to buy stilts because I don't paint or run enough mud or trim, so I use two 6' step ladders with a 10x2 run between them. Yes, it takes a bit longer to set this up... but it BEATS THE STINK out of having to cut in 3'... move ladder... cut 3' feet... move ladder. This will cut your paint time down so much you'll be amazed.

Get a paint cup for your trim brush. I like the purdy one from Home Depot... put in a liner, pour in your paint, and go to town.

Another thing that will help cut down your time is to put your brushes in the refrigerator if you want to take a break. It will keep the brushes wet up to a day ro two... might ruin the brush though. Rollers go in a ziplock bag and then go in the fridge as well. That way you don't have to clean brushes between coats so much.

To more directly answer your question... you sound like the trim is already done (except for some crown maybe), so you're really just cutting and painting field.

A 10x12 room with that kind of set up - you should be able to lay down a full coat of paint in about an hour, maybe two at the max.

Uwe K.

from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Oct 23 '12, 06:16 AM

Interesting answers. We're all over the board with the times. Nobody has tried the "hand grenade in a paint bucket" method yet? :)

To finally add my two cents:
Looking back at the last project, I haven't timed myself, but from gauging the times between looking at the clock, I think it took me about one hour for the ceiling, incl. brushing the simple moulding. I mostly did one coat here as well, since it's a rental.

Then I painted the trim around doors and windows plus baseboard (if applicable), 2 coats at maybe 1 hour each. No cutting in around the walls, and then if the windows have glass panes I just brush like there is no tomorrow and scrape it off with a razor blade once dry. I found this to be way faster than going at about 1 inch per minute and trying be neat.

Then cutting in plus corners. I think under half an hour per coat. I don't use tape anymore either, but here I actually successfully used that pad thingy with the two rollers that keep the pad from touching the other side. Works quite well once you get the hang of it. Get's a little tricky with a thin or rounded of baseboard, for example.

Then rolling the walls, about an hour to 1.5 hours for the first coat, little quicker for the second coat.

And no, closet not included, that goes extra. Like others said, almost as much time as the whole room.

The most frustrating in this house was actually the living room: It had a swirly texture to it. Looks quite nice, old fashioned, but with up to 1/4 inch thick swirls. Even the 1-1/4 nap roller wouldn't come into all the crevices. And that room had so my little corners and details, and the fireplace with stone inserts that you had to cut in. Freaking nightmare. One coat for just the walls took me at least 8 hours. Needless to say I found there was no second coat needed for this room...

Rob K.

Investor from Southeast, Michigan

Oct 23 '12, 10:38 AM

Just to throw it out there, if you're doing any exterior painting, I would highly recommend investing in a sprayer. I've painted the entire exterior of a house with two coats in less than a day. I once painted an aluminum house with a brush and it took four days. Once I bought the sprayer, I felt like an idiot for ever using a brush. Some people will tape the outside, but it's not necessary. You can use a small piece of wood (luan is good) and use it as an edger. You can then touch up with a brush after.

Bill Gulley

Investor, Entrepreneur, Educator from Springfield, Missouri

Oct 23 '12, 01:05 PM

Originally posted by Uwe K.:
Just curious about those who do their own painting. How long does it take you to paint an avg. size room. Let's assume:

- a 10x12 room
- ceiling one color, with a simple piece of moulding in the same color
- walls a different color
- 2 windows, 2 doors, cutting in
- two coats needed
- not including painting baseboards and casing and prepping all done. No primer needed. Brush and roller, no spraying.

I am just finishing up a SFR that I couldn't spray. So I wanted to do a statistically irrelevant survey among BP DIYers.

How high is the ceiling and what style of ceiling is it?

How many people will be doing the help even if it's just you doing the application?

What are you using to paint, what size of brush would you use, rolling it on is faster. It goes quicker if you throw the paint on from 16 oz cups...LOL

Uwe, are you drinking beer while you work? HB is fine and should spped the process up. By now, it should be finished.

I'd plan on a couple hours Uwe, no breaks, phone calls, kids, dogs, mishaps or the police telling you to hold down the noise. The trim will take likely longer. :)

Bill Gulley, General Real Estate Academy (GREA) Training is GREAT Generalrealestateacademy.Com

Adelina Rough

from Norfolk, Virginia

Nov 06 '12, 12:51 AM

Actually based on experience, it depends on the painter and the motivation :) Sometimes, if inspired, it will only take hours. Paints composition and chemical are now advanced that it has to dry fast. Another thing is that it also depends in the number of painters. If you are doing it alone then typically, it would take long and vice versa.

Mark Tamondong

Virtual Assistant from Austin, Texas

Nov 06 '12, 02:16 AM

When it was my first time painting an average sized room, I finished it in three days. That was my first time and I even needed my friend to help me out finish it. It was a mess.

But then the next time I did I really asked and had to be taught by my friend how to do it right and fortunately the next time I painted the room I finished it in one day.

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