How to calculate the consumption of oil paint?


Consumption of oil paint per ft2 or 1m2 is a relative concept, as the figure can fluctuate depending on several factors.

Calculate the right amount quickly and accurately under force only to a professional in the field of finishing works. Simple layman should first familiarize themselves with the features of the painting process and the properties of the paint material and then proceed to the calculations.

Conditions affecting material consumption

The most used type of oil paint – is enamel paint Rust-Oleum. Let’s use this example to look at consumption per square meter / 10.77 ft2, taking into account all the possible factors that affect it.

If you need to convert 1m2 to ft2, use this formula or just multiply by 10.

Square Meters to Square Feet formula:

ft² =m²*10.764


The first thing to consider is the difference between the original tone of the surface and the color of the paint material. For example, the base has a dark shade, in which case the lighter color will most likely have to be applied in 2 layers to get an even coating.


Consumption of oil paint per 1 m2 also depends on the tools used. Walls, ceilings or floorboards are usually painted with a broad brush or paint roller.

Brushwork involves the highest consumption of material. Oil-based paint is applied with a natural bristle brush, which absorbs a lot of product. In addition, it is necessary to consider the costs in the form of drips and splashes, and their use of a brush can be quite a lot.

Painting roller made of silicone allows you to save both time and paint material. With it, you can quickly paint quite a large surface, avoiding the formation of runs. The layer is even and there are almost no streaks on the wall.

If you have a paint sprayer, with the skill of working with it you can reduce the consumption of paint per m2 to a minimum. Ideally with a sprayer the material is applied very thinly and evenly, and when covered in two coats the surface is even and saturated in tone.

The spray gun is the most suitable tool for finishing work on smooth metal, because it avoids the formation of sweat and does not leave traces, like a brush.

Quality of painted surface

Oil paint, the average consumption of which is from 110 to 130 g per square meter, is considered a universal material, suitable for painting almost any surface. It is applied to concrete, plaster, brick, wood and metal.

The figures given above are usually indicated by the manufacturer on the label, and these data are relevant for covering an even plastered surface with a single coat of dye.

Whatever substrate you intend to apply oil paint to, keep in mind that porous and rough, as well as textured or embossed planes, will require more material:

when painting a brick wall, the figure indicated on the package can safely be multiplied by two; consider also that such a surface will likely have to be covered with two coats of composition;
a smooth metal surface will not take too much, but a corroded substrate usually “eats up” the paint by about a third;
concrete wall, untreated primer, is characterized by high absorption properties, and therefore the consumption can increase by 20-40%.

Exterior conditions

Consumption of oil paint per 1 m2 is easier to calculate if the material is needed for interior finishing. In this case, it is enough to assess the quality of surfaces, take into account the color, area and choose a tool.

If you have to work outdoors, you will have to pay attention to the weather conditions:

  • If there is a strong wind, it is better to refuse to use the paint sprayer, otherwise, half of the material will simply be carried past the target, and the consumption will be enormous;
  • On a hot day, in direct sunlight, the paint will dry faster, making it impossible to apply a thin, even coat and to get a good overcoat, the consumption will almost double, and the resulting coating will be rough after drying and is likely to flake and bubble
  • Rain and fog will also increase paint consumption.

Oil-based paint is presented as weather-resistant in its technical specifications, but it is important to understand that it is a fully dried coating, which forms a solid film that is impervious to water and air. For this reason, it is better to choose a quiet and cloudy day to carry out facade finishing work.

Also, it is not unreasonable to read the weather forecast for the next day and make sure that it will not go bad. So you can be sure that the applied layer will dry under optimal conditions, and the repair will be of high quality.

How to reduce paint consumption?

The use of a priming compound significantly reduces material consumption when painting any surface: smooth, textured, or embossed. Primer also, on the one hand, provides – a strong adhesion of oil paint with the base, and on the other hand – facilitates the removal of the coating if necessary in the future.

This is especially true for walls or ceilings made of concrete (it is a big problem to clean them from the oil-based coating) and for wooden surfaces. If you paint untreated wood, the compound will penetrate so deeply into the porous structure that it will be virtually impossible to remove it (before restoration, for example) without damaging the natural material.

Do not buy very cheap oil paints. Often they have too low hiding power, which not only leads to additional costs but also to an unsatisfactory finish and an increase in the time spent on the job.

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