Clients are often surprised at the cost of faux finishing. Here is how I explain it to my clients. When you have a room “straight” painted, the painter uses what are called in the trade “production” tools. Examples of production tools are brushes, rollers or spray rigs. The production tools cover a large area quickly, usually an average of 300 square feet per hour. The painter can usually get by with one or two coats of paint. It is a relatively fast process.
Faux finishing on the other hand is NOT a “production” process. Faux finishes often require at least one, but usually two, “base coats” before the decorative painting process can begin. This initial process is fairly quick. However, there the similarities cease. In faux finishing, the artist uses small tools like rags, cheesecloth, sponges, and trowels. They cover only a small area at a time. The decorative artist usually works 45 to 60 square feet per hour. In general, faux finishes are “layered”, meaning that the artist does the faux finish painting more than two times around the room. For a plaster technique it may require six times around the room!
As you can see, faux finishing requires more time and energy than painting. Therefore, the cost is substantially more. A good rule of thumb is that faux finishing a room will cost four to six times more than painting the same room a solid color.