How many liters of paint per m2 do you need to paint? Calculate it like this

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 10, 2022
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When you start painting, it is useful to know how many pots of paint you need.

How many liters of paint you need per square meter depends on several factors.

It’s about what kind of room you’re going to paint, whether a wall is absorbent, rough, smooth or previously treated, and the brand of paint you use also plays a role in this.


I will explain how to calculate exactly how much paint you need based on the surface to be painted.

How many liters of paint per m2 calculations

To calculate how many paint pots you will need for a painting project, you need a few things.

Of course you can also use your smartphone to take notes and also as a calculator.

  • Tape measure
  • drawing paper
  • Pencil
  • Calculator

How many liters of paint for walls and ceiling

In this table I show the amount of paint you need per square meter for different surfaces and different types of paint.

Type of paint & substrateAmount of paint per m2
Latex paint on (already painted) wall or ceiling1 liter per 5 tot 8 m2
Latex paint on new (untreated) wall or ceilingFirst layer: 1 liter per 6.5 m2 Second layer: 1 liter per 8 m2
Smooth walls1 liter per 8 m2
Walls with grain structure1 liter per 5 m2
Spack ceilings1 liter per 6 m2
Primer1 liter per 10 m2
Lacquer paint1 liter per 12 m2 (depending on paint type)

So, for example, if you are going to paint a ceiling with latex paint, multiply the length and width of the ceiling to get the total surface.

Calculate surface: length 5 meters x width 10 meters = 50 m2

Since you can paint between 5 to 8 m2 with a liter of latex paint, you need 6 to 10 liters of paint for the ceiling.

This is for one layer. If you are going to apply multiple layers, keep this in mind and double the amount of paint per layer.

Calculate paint consumption for walls and ceilings

As you can see, the consumption of latex is between 5 and 8 m2 per liter.

This means that if you have a super smooth wall, for example, you can do 8 m2 with 1 liter of latex. If it concerns a new wall, you will need more latex.

You must also apply a primer latex in advance to eliminate the suction effect.

After that, you need to apply two more layers of latex. The first layer will consume more than the second layer of latex.

Rough is a consumption of 1 liter per 5 m2, this is the minimum.

Do you want to save on the cost of paint? This is what I think of the cheap paint from the Action

Calculating paint consumption for window and door frames

If you are going to paint the door or window frames, you calculate the paint consumption slightly differently.

First you will measure the length of the frames. Do not forget to measure the front and back of windows. You should also include this in your calculation.

Then you measure the depth of the frames. With door frames, this is the depth at which the door is hung (or with rebated doors where the door falls)

With window frames, this is the side of the frame to the glass.

Then you measure the width.

When you have this data together, you will add up all the widths and depths.

You will multiply the result by the lengths. This gives you a total surface area of ​​the frames.

If you also have doors that you want to paint, measure the height x the length of both sides and add that to the surface of the door and window frames. Now you have a total area.

If it concerns a primer, you must divide this by 10. With primer you can paint 10 m2 per liter.

If it concerns an already painted layer, you must divide this by 12. Here you do 12 m2 per liter.

Depending on the type of paint, there will be variations. The consumption is indicated on the paint can.


It is useful to get just a little too much paint, then too little. Especially if you are going to mix your own color, then you just want to have enough.

You can always keep the leftover paint. Paint has an average shelf life of one year.

You can also save brushes for a next painting project, provided you store them in the right way (that is)

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.

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