Person holding a paint roller on a wall

If you’ve made the decision to hire professionals to paint anywhere in your home, getting started can be a scary process, especially where your wallet is concerned. You want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck, meaning that accuracy is key. However, getting the proper measurements around your house can be a little intimidating.

Measuring for accuracy for a painting quote is actually easier than you might think. Whether you’re looking to paint your bathroom, your kitchen, or your basement, this article will teach you the tips and tricks that will help you get those measurements:

Before we get into how to measure different parts of your home, let’s review the things you’ll have to measure in every room!

 

Things you will need to measure by room: walls & beyond

When looking to measure for a paint quote, it’s important to remember that each individual surface that you want to paint will need its own set of measurements. Here is a breakdown of the different things you’ll need to measure.

Areas In Home Measuring Considerations
Walls
  • Each wall in the room should be measured on its own in case there happen to be differences
  • If the wall happens to have a door, window, etc., you’ll want to subtract their square footage from that of the wall
Baseboards & Trim
  • Will need to be measured separately from the walls
  • Make sure to measure all types of trim found along the floor, windows, doors, etc.
Doors
  • Measured the same way as you would a wall
  • If your door(s) are not flat (i.e. Raised-panel doors, French doors) extra measurements will need to be taken to get the full square footage
Floors
  • Easy to calculate as it’s done by measuring the size and length of the room
Ceilings
  • You will need to know the length of the wall, the height of the wall (where the wall meets the ceiling), and the highest point of the ceiling to properly calculate this
  • Remember to be safe when attempting to measure high ceilings
  • Make sure to note if you have a textured/popcorn ceiling, as more paint may be required
Cabinets & Cupboards
  • Each side’s square footage can be measured the same way you measure walls
  • Make sure to measure their doors separately from the rest of the cupboard or cabinet
Bathrooms
  • Walls, trim, floors, and ceilings will be measured the same way
  • If you wish to repaint surfaces specific to the bathroom (i.e. shower, sink, cupboards) they will need their own measurements
Kitchen
  • Like the bathroom, many surfaces can be measured as explained above
  • Every appliance or cupboard you wish to paint will require their own measurements as well (For example, if you have an island or pantry, these will need to be considered)
Basement
  • Can easily be measured using the same tips as above
  • If your basement has a complicated shape to it, break the floor/ceiling into sections and add their measurements together

 

Tools to help accurately measure a room for painting

Focus on tape measure sitting along a table

Now that you have an idea of what you’ll be measuring, you’ll need to figure out how best to measure each surface. Here’s some options when measuring for accuracy.

Tape measure

A tape measure is a flexible metal strip used to help you accurately measure surfaces of various sizes. The tape is held within a plastic holder, which allows you to easily pull out the amount of tape needed and have it easily retract back in for storage. Tape measures also have the ability to lock in place and most have a metal hook on the end, allowing for more precise measurements.

Tape measures are really helpful when measuring for a paint job, as they’re easy to manipulate and easy to use with your hands. They also provide an easy way to get exact measurements of all the surfaces you wish to paint.

Laser tape measure

A laser tape measure is an electronic device that allows for accurate measurements using a laser pointer. To use, simply place the device where the surface begins and allow the laser to bounce off an object (ie. wall, door, physical target) on the other side. The device will then display the length on a screen.

Laser tape measures are great to use for measuring because they aren’t as physically strenuous and have shown to give very accurate readings. They’re also great for measuring on your own and in a hurry. If you’d like to opt to use this method, there are many great devices to choose from.

Apps that help measure

Are you someone that likes to use your phone for everything? Believe it or not, when it comes to measuring for a paint quote, there’s actually an app for that. If you want to try using your phone to get the job done, there are several apps to choose from. Here is a list of the top 6 apps for measuring.

  1. Apple’s Measure app – This preinstalled app on your iPhone uses AR technology to provide you with an easy way to measure distances using your screen.
  2. AirMeasure – Like the Measure app, AirMeasure uses AR technology to help you accurately measure, but it allows for 3 different measuring methods and is available for both Apple and Android devices.
  3. Moasure – This app utilizes a motion sensor to help you find the dimensions of an item (volume, height, angle, etc.) with high rates of accuracy.
  4. EasyMeasure – This app syncs with your phone’s camera to allow you to measure an object’s dimensions as well as measure the distance from you to your object of choice.
  5. GPS Fields Area Measure – This app uses your phone’s GPS to help you measure the square footage of large areas.
  6. Ruler – Exactly what it sounds like. This app will act as a virtual ruler, allowing you to use your device as a substitute to measure your desired surfaces.

Calculation and data storage

After all your hard work measuring, the last thing you want to do is lose or mix up all of your measurements. Making a habit of recording all of your measurements will make sure you don’t have to do everything twice, and it will allow for easier calculations later on. Pencil and paper is an easy way to go if you just want a quick record of your measurements, but you might want to consider going the digital route instead.

Using programs such as Google Sheets or Microsoft Office Excel will help you make sure that your measurements are never lost, and that your measurements are all attributed to the correct surfaces. Plus, their quick and easy calculation features will help you do your math faster and more accurately, so your contractors will have the proper numbers to work with. An added bonus is that you’ll be able to store your documents on your phone, allowing you to pull up your measurements while on the go.

Hands typing on a laptop with a spreadsheet on the screen

 

How to measure a wall for painting

When measuring surfaces inside your home, walls are the easiest. With nothing more than a measuring tool and a calculator, you’ll easily be able to provide accurate measurements for a paint quote. Here are the steps for measuring your walls.

  1. Use your measuring tool of choice to measure the width of a wall (from corner to corner) in feet. Record that number.
  2. Use your measuring tool of choice to measure the length of the wall (from floor to ceiling) in feet. Record that number.
  3. Multiply both numbers together to get the square footage of the wall. This is the number you’ll need to provide for your quote.
  4. Repeat these steps for every wall you wish to paint.

PRO TIP: Don’t forget to measure the doors and windows

If any of your walls have windows, doors, or other irremovable surfaces that won’t be painted, you’ll want to subtract their square footage from that of the wall they’re on in order to give your contractors the most accurate numbers. Simply multiply the length and width of your windows, doors, or anything on the wall that will not be painted to calculate these numbers.

 

How to measure cabinets for painting

Like walls, cabinets and cupboards are fairly easy to measure for accuracy. However, there will be a few extra steps when measuring them. Here are the steps to take when measuring cabinets for a paint quote.

  1. Select a side to begin with.
  2. Measure the height of the cabinet (from top edge to bottom edge) with your preferred measuring tool. Record the number.
  3. Measure the width of the cabinet (from left edge to right edge) with your preferred measuring tool. Record the number.
  4. Multiply the height by the width to get the square footage.
  5. Repeat steps for the remaining accessible sides.
  6. Add all the numbers together to get the total square footage for the cabinet. This is the number you’ll need to provide for your quote.
  7. Repeat all steps for additional cabinets and cupboards you wish to have painted. Make sure each one has their own square footage (in other words, don’t add the final measurements together).

PRO TIP: Measure in inches

Given the smaller size of cabinets, you might want to consider measuring them in inches first, then converting each measurement to square feet by dividing them by 12.

 

How to measure floors for painting

When it comes to measuring your floors, the process is very similar to measuring your walls. The only difference is that you happen to be walking on this surface while doing it. Here are the steps for measuring your floor for a paint quote.

  1. Measure the length of the floor (top wall to bottom wall) using your preferred measuring tool. Record the number.
  2. Measure the width of the floor (left wall to right wall) using your preferred measuring tool. Record the number.
  3. Multiple the two numbers together to get your square footage of the floor. This is the number you’ll need to provide for your quote.
  4. Repeat these steps for any additional floors you wish to have painted.

PRO TIP: Divide the floor into sections

If you happen to be measuring the floor of a complex area, such as your basement, try dividing the floor into multiple rectangular (and potentially triangular) sections, then add all of your numbers together to get the total square footage of the floor.

 

How to measure ceilings for painting

If you’re wanting a quote for your ceiling, you’ll also have an easy time obtaining accurate measurements. Here are the steps for measuring your ceiling for a paint quote.

  1. Determine if you need to use a ladder to reach the ceiling (it’s recommended that you have someone assist you or invest in safety equipment to avoid falling and hurting yourself).
  2. Measure the length of the ceiling (top corner to bottom corner) with your preferred measuring tool. Record the number.
  3. Measure the width of the ceiling (left corner to right corner) with your preferred measuring tool. Record the number.
  4. Multiply the two numbers together to get the total square footage. This is the number you’ll need for the quote (make sure to note if you have/want a textured ceiling, as this could add to the cost).
  5. If you have a cathedral ceiling (ceiling that forms an upside down V), make sure to do two separate sets of measurements for each side.
  6. Repeat steps for all ceilings you wish to have painted.

PRO TIP: 2-for-1 measurements

Is your ceiling the same shape as your floor? If yes, save yourself time and stay safe by measuring the floor.

 

How to measure trim, baseboards, and doors

Whether you’re looking to subtract these things from your measurements or are looking to have them painted, trim, baseboards, and doors are relatively easy to measure. Here are the steps for measuring these additional items for a paint quote.

A red door with white trim next to a set of stairs

Steps for measuring trim and baseboards

  1. Measure the length of the baseboard (from left to right) with your preferred measuring tool. Record the number.
  2. Measure the width of the baseboard (from top to bottom) with your preferred measuring tool. Record the number.
  3. Multiply the two measurements together to get the square footage of the baseboard. This is the number you’ll need for your quote.
  4. Repeat steps for all other baseboards you wish to have painted.

Steps for measuring doors

  1. Measure the length of the door (from top edge to bottom edge) with your preferred measuring tool. Record the number.
  2. Measure the width of the door (from left edge to right edge) with your preferred measuring tool. Record the number.
  3. Multiply the two measurements together to get the square footage of the door. This is the number you’ll need for your quote.
  4. Repeat steps for all other doors you wish to have painted.

PRO TIP: Keeps things separate

If you’re wanting to have a door and its trim painted, make sure to keep their measurements separate. Trim and doors will often be painted separately, and your quote should reflect this.

 

5 tips for measuring for painting to get the job done faster

If you’re preparing to hire professional painters to paint your home, chances are that you want the job done as fast as possible. One of the things that really slows a job down is when the measurements are off, causing your painters to need more paint and spend more time finishing up. This is why accuracy is key!

Here are some tips to help you accurately measure.

1. Have a helping hand

Whether it’s your spouse, your parent, or a friend of yours, asking someone to lend a hand with collecting measurements will definitely speed up the process. Some areas of the house can either be really tricky or really large. Having someone available to help you will make the measuring process ten times easier and help you ensure your surfaces have been properly measured.

2. Double-check your measurements

This might seem a tad annoying, but it will save you money and time down the line. Measuring each surface twice will help ensure that the measurements you’ve collected are accurate. It’s also a good idea to double check your math to make sure that all the right numbers have been added up and that your total square footage for everything is correct.

A person using a calculator and writing information down in a notebook

3. Spreadsheets are your friend

As mentioned earlier in this article, spreadsheets can really help you keep track of your measurements. Not only is it easier to label everything, but programs like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets can do all the math for you, so you’re less likely to have errors.

4. Pay attention to details

While collecting measurements, this is also an important time to make a note of any special features your surfaces have. Whether it’s a textured ceiling, paneled door, or unique ceiling, your painters need to know about it. This will help them to more accurately assess the amount of time and paint that will be required for the job.

A room with multi-leveled ceiling

5. Test your measuring tools before you begin

We’ve shared some great options when it comes to measuring around your home. However, if you decide to go the electronic or digital route (i.e. laser pointer, phone app) make sure to test them out with easy to measure surfaces first. There’s nothing worse than measuring everything only to realize down the line that all of your numbers were wrong.

 

Getting a painting quote

Now that you know how to measure around your home, it’s time to get started. If you’re looking for a quote for your next project, the City Painters is here for you. Contact us here or give us a call to get a quote for your project!

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