How to Estimate Trim Painting by the Foot

Painted trim can accent aspects of your home including exterior siding, floors, windows, doors and cabinets. When you are painting trim, it is important to determine exactly how much trim, by the foot, you will be painting so you can estimate how much paint you need to complete the job.

Measure your pace so that you can accurately estimate the amount of trim you are painting. Place a piece of tape at a starting point and measure exactly five feet from that point and then place another piece of tape. Start at the starting point and walk a normal pace until you reach the end point, counting your steps as you walk. This is your pace for five feet.

Walk out the distance of all the horizontal trim that is being painted, using your pace as your guide. Add up the distance in five foot increments until you reach the end point. This is your total estimated footage of trim.

Use common sense indicators to measure vertical trim. For smaller trim areas, such as window sills, use a measuring tape to estimate the distance. For doors, simply get the dimensions of the door and add it to the total. For exterior trim, estimate the amount of trim according to the stories of the house. Each story of a home is approximately 10 feet. If you have a split level home, each half story is approximately five feet.

Add up the total amount of feet that will be painted by adding all of your calculations together. To estimate the amount of paint you need, you will need to know the square footage. For trim, the horizontal height can be rounded up to six inches, or one-half foot. Take the total number of feet measured and multiple by 0.5 to find the total square footage. Most cans of paint cover approximately 250 square feet of area. Purchase paint according to your estimates.


  • Painting Do-It-Yourself For Dummies; For Dummies; 2007