I wish I had a buck for every time that I was asked what the going rate was when pricing paint projects but the question that takes the cake is…”What does a paint job cost per square foot of floor area?”

Most times, I just shake my head, trying not to believe what’s happening when I see or hear this question and I’ll tell you why.

The reason why I usually shake my head over the above question is because there is NO relationship between floor areas and paint prices…none, nada…read on…

Let’s assume that we already know that our square foot unit price for 1 prime and 2 coats of finish comes to .592 per sf. (just an example)

Ok, so we have a 12 x 15 room that has 180 sf of ceiling and 432 sf of wall at 8′ high. You’ll do this for an average of $362.50. Divide the $362.50 by total wall and ceiling area of 612 sf and we get .592 per sf of sheetrock. Floor area price is $362.50 divided by 180 sf = $2.01 per sf floor area.

You want to use sf floor area prices though, right?

Change the room size to 14 x 18

We now have a 14 x 18 room that has 252 sf of ceiling area and 512 sf of wall at 8′ high. Taking your price of .592 per sf of sheetrock and multiplying it by 764 sf (wall and ceiling area), we come up with a total of $452.29. If we divide $452.29 by 252 sf floor area, we come up with $1.79 per sf floor area.

Change the room size to 8 x 6

We now have a 8 x 6 room that has 48 sf of ceiling area and 224 sf of wall at 8′ high. Taking your price of .592 per sf of sheetrock and multiplying it by 272 sf (wall and ceiling area), we come up with a total of $161.02. If we divide $161.02 by 48 sf floor area, we come up with $3.35 per sf floor area.

Now take a good look at our rooms…

12 x 15 room = $2.01 psf floor area.14 x 18 room = $1.79 psf floor area.8 x 6 room = $3.35 psf floor area.

It is clear that we cannot price projects based on sf floor area prices…