How Much Does It Cost to Paint a House?
A fresh coat of paint can go a long way to improve the overall appearance of a home. The typical cost to paint a house is between $1,811 and $4,435, with the national average at $3,087.
- The typical cost to paint a house ranges from $1,811 to $4,435, with a national average cost of $3,087.
- The main factors in calculating the cost to paint a house are the size and age of the home, the number of stories, the type of siding, any required prep work, the amount of trim required, and the cost of labor.
- Homeowners will want to consider having their home painted if the exterior is damaged or faded, the paint has started to peel, or the siding has mold or water damage.
- While an experienced homeowner may be able to take on some or all of a house painting project, a professional painter will likely do the job more efficiently and produce a higher-quality result.
Painting the exterior of a home will improve the appearance and add to the marketability and resale value. So how much does it cost to paint a house? According to HomeAdvisor and Angi, the typical cost ranges from $1,811 to $4,435, with the national average around $3,087 or from $0.50 to $4 per square foot. Prices for house painting can vary due to geographic location, the type and condition of the exterior material, and the ease of access. Labor can run from $25 to $100 per hour. The best house painters will quote a total price that includes all hours worked. The type of exterior paint that is used also affects the price. Price per gallon of paint ranges from $20 to $80, and professionals usually get a discount of 25 to 50 percent. The cost to paint a house with quality materials and experienced professionals is worth it when it results in an updated exterior that will last 10 to 15 years.
How to Calculate the Cost to Paint a House
Calculating how much it costs to paint a house will be a good indication of what to expect from a professional estimate and stay on budget. To find out the approximate cost to paint a house, homeowners can divide the paintable area by the coverage of a gallon of paint. To find the paintable area:
- Find the finished area. Measure the perimeter of the house and multiply it by the height of the house.
- Find the paintable area. Subtract the area of doors (a standard door is 21 square feet) and windows (the standard window is 12 square feet) from the finished area total. If there are balconies, gables, or complex and ornate architectural designs, a professional will provide an accurate estimate.
A gallon of paint typically covers between 250 and 400 square feet, or 350 square feet on average, depending on the material. Homeowners will want to keep in mind that two coats of paint will likely be needed to paint the exterior of a home. For example, an average 2,500-square-foot home has around 2,100 square feet of paintable area. The formula for calculating the cost to paint a house is:
Square feet of paintable area/square feet of paint coverage = gallons of paint x 2 = total gallons of paint needed.
- For example: 2,100/350 = 6 x 2 = 12.
2,100 square feet of paintable area divided by 350 square feet of coverage equals 6 gallons of paint. Double that number since two coats are needed. This comes out to 12 gallons of paint.
Factors in Calculating Cost to Paint a House
The factors that go into calculating the cost to paint a house include the paintable area, labor, type of paint, the type and condition of the home exterior, geographic location, climate, the age of the house, prep work, paint quality, and permit costs. The typical cost to paint a house ranges from $1,811 to $4,435, with the national average around $3,087, or from $0.50 to $4 per square foot. This average can vary depending on the geographic location of the house. Being aware of the different factors typically helps homeowners to select the paint and materials suitable for their homes.
House Size, Age, and Condition
The cost to paint the exterior of a house will largely be determined by the size of the home as this will affect how much paint is needed as well as labor costs. In general, house painting costs $0.50 to $4 per square foot. A home exterior that is in excellent condition will require less paint than an exterior that is damaged. If the exterior of the home is in disrepair, it will need to be improved before priming and painting can even begin.
Number of Stories
The more paintable the area, the more expensive the project will be. A single-story house may cost as little as $1,500 to paint. It costs more to paint a 2- or 3-story house because of the amount of paint and the extra equipment needed for hard-to-reach areas. It also involves more setup and cleanup time and requires the use of scaffolding. A 2-story home can cost up to 50 percent more than a 1-story home.
|Number of Stories||Average Cost|
|One||$1,500 to $3,500|
|Two||$3,000 to $6,200|
|Three||$4,500 to $10,000|
The exterior material type is a significant factor in calculating the cost to paint a house. Wood and vinyl siding can cost around $2 per square foot to paint. This is less than most other materials because it is much less porous. The price to paint stucco, concrete, and brick varies due to how much paint and primer are needed to cover the material and how much labor is required. Different materials like metal may require specific types of paint. Brick and stone are the most expensive siding types to paint because they have rough and porous surfaces that don’t take well to paint. Each siding type and its average painting cost is discussed in more detail in a section below.
If the exterior of the home is in bad shape, it will need to be repaired before it can be painted. Prep work might include siding repair, filling holes and cracks, power washing, and sanding. If experienced professionals do the prep work, they can guarantee the project is done right. Some average costs are $0.50 to $1.50 per square foot for patching; $0.50 to $2.50 per square foot for sanding, scraping, and stripping; $100 to $650 for pressure washing; and $0.50 to $1 per square foot for caulking and masking. On average, the costs for house prep can range from $25 to $50 per hour, depending on the exterior material and the extent of the repairs.
Paint and Primer Type, Quality, and Finish
The type and quality of the paint will affect the overall cost of painting a house. Lower-priced paints may need more coats to sufficiently cover a home’s exterior, and more expensive paints may be thicker and provide more coverage. While it may cost more up front, going with a higher quality paint will extend the paint job’s life.
The material of the home will determine the type of paint. Water-based latex paint costs between $20 and $50 per gallon. Acrylic latex works well for painting vinyl siding, and it cleans up easily. The cost of oil-based paint ranges from $20 to $60 per gallon. Oil-based paint takes longer to dry and requires mineral spirits for cleanup. It offers better coverage, but it can crack and yellow.
The type of paint finish can also affect the total project cost. The most common types of paint finish include eggshell, flat, high-gloss, satin, and semi-gloss. The following table lists the average cost per gallon of paint in each of these finish types.
|Finish Type||Cost per Gallon|
|Eggshell||$20 to $105|
|Flat||$15 to $100|
|High-gloss||$25 to $100|
|Satin||$25 to $115|
|Semi-gloss||$25 to $115|
Unpainted surfaces and surfaces that are being painted a drastically different color need a primer. Primer helps the paint adhere to the surface of the house and makes it last longer. Primer is also required if there is a change of paint type, such as switching from latex to oil-based paint. The price of primers can range from $15 to $80, depending on the kind of primer. Latex-based primers can cost between $15 to $60 per gallon, oil-based primers go for $25 to $70 per gallon, adhesive primers cost $35 to $80 per gallon, and shellac primers can run between $30 and $80 per gallon.
To extend the life of the paint job, choose the highest quality paint and primer that’s approved for the home’s exterior surface.
The brand of paint being used is another important factor in how much it costs to paint a house. Anyone who has calculated the cost to paint a room in their house knows that choosing a paint brand can feel daunting because of the wide variety of options available. Narrowing down any qualities that will need to be prioritized, such as mold resistance or low volatile organic compounds (VOCs), can make it easier for a homeowner to pick the best fit. Below are average cost ranges for some of the most popular paint brands.
|Paint Brand||Cost per Gallon|
|Behr||$30 to $60|
|Benjamin Moore||$41 to $100|
|Glidden||$18 to $55|
|PPG||$20 to $100|
|Sherwin Williams||$42 to $115|
|Valspar||$15 to $100|
Amount of Trim
The cost of painting trim is charged by the linear foot, and it usually runs between $1 and $6 per linear foot. If the trim is painted at the same time as the rest of the house, it’s usually calculated with the overall cost of the quote and would not appear as a separate charge.
The majority of the cost to paint a house exterior comes from labor. Most professionals will charge between $25 and $100 per hour to paint a house, and that price is usually folded into the quote. An experienced house painting contractor will know how long it will take to complete the project and how many painters to use to get the job done right. Regional house painting prices will differ due to the overall cost of living in that area.
Geographic Location and Climate
Weather and climate impact the type of paint needed, and it also determines how often a house will need to be painted. If the home is located in a hot and sunny climate, direct sunlight may cause the exterior paint to fade. Homes in areas that experience harsh winters or high humidity will need paint that can withstand the elements. While the national average cost to paint a house is $3,087, prices can also depend on the region of the country where the home is located due to labor prices and cost of living. For example, in the Southwest it costs an average of $2,400 to paint a 1,500-square-foot house. In New England, the same job might cost $4,800.
Additional Costs and Considerations
When budgeting for the cost to paint a house, there are additional price factors and considerations for homeowners to take into account. Some additional costs are paint stripping, equipment and travel fees, and landscaping.
Spray vs. Roller Application
Some professionals use paint sprayers to cover a lot of surface area at once. Not only does spraying have a lower per-hour cost of $30 to $50, but it also takes less time to complete. A job that would last as long as 6 days with rollers can be finished in half that time with a sprayer, which makes a huge difference when costs are calculated by the hour. Some smaller parts of the exterior will typically still need to be painted with a brush or roller, which costs about $40 to $60 per hour.
Repairs or Upgrades
Some common repairs and upgrades needed before painting a house are repairing or replacing siding, caulking around doors and windows, mold removal, and lead paint inspections and removal (if the home was built before 1978). Lead paint inspections can cost between $220 and $420.
Painting the exterior of a house does not require a permit, but a permit may be necessary if siding replacement is needed. Permit costs usually range between $200 and $300. After the replacement is completed, it will need to be inspected, and those costs can range from $100 to $200 depending on the local city regulations.
If there is peeling or chipped paint, the house may need to have its paint stripped. While it’s not usually necessary to strip the entire house, sections can be stripped using a sander, heat gun, or scraper. It costs $0.50 to $2 per square foot to strip paint.
Equipment and Travel Fees
If the house has multiple stories or intricate, hard-to-reach features, extra equipment may be needed. If the ground outside the home is sloped or uneven, painters will need additional ladders and scaffolding. The more lifts, ladders, scaffolds, and planks required, the higher the price for the equipment. Eye protection, masks, tarps, tape, spray equipment, brushes, and rollers are all part of the cost to paint a house. Depending on how far away the home is located from the contractor, a travel fee may be included. This could be $50 or more.
Additional Paint Work
More often than not, siding is not the only part of a home that will need a fresh coat of paint. Trim, shutters, gutters, doors, and porches are some of the additional features that will need to be accounted for in the budget. Homeowners will want to plan to spend $2 per linear foot on trim painting, around $500 for gutters, $300 for each door, and $1,200 for the porch.
In order for the home’s paint job to last as long as possible, it’s a good idea for the homeowner to do some occasional maintenance. This can usually be accomplished by pressure washing the siding when visible dirt or moss starts to show up. A pressure washer costs between $100 and $1,000, though homeowners may prefer to leave this job to a professional since the cost to pressure wash a house is relatively low. This is also a good opportunity to inspect for termite damage, rotting wood, or mold problems so they can be tackled before they have a chance to get out of hand.
Cost to Paint a House by Type of Siding
The cost to paint a house can vary due to the type of exterior that needs to be painted. Each type has different levels of prep work, potential repairs, coverage needs, and categories of paint. To help guide homeowners’ decisions, the following are some of the most common siding types and the average painting cost for each.
|Type of Siding||Average Painting Cost per Square Foot|
|Brick||$2.40 to $4.20|
|Concrete||$1.20 to $2.70|
|Engineered wood||$1 to $2|
|Fiber cement||$1.20 to $3.20|
|Metal or aluminum||$1.50 to $2.50|
|Steel||$1.50 to $2.50|
|Stone||$2.40 to $5|
|Stucco or plaster||$1.50 to $4|
|Vinyl||$1 to $3|
|Wood||$1 to $3|
Painting a brick home can run between $3,500 to $4,200 per 1,000 square feet, or $2.40 to $4.20 per square foot. Brick is a porous material and requires more paint for proper coverage. A primer is also needed to help the paint adhere to the surface.
Homeowners can expect to spend between $1.20 to $2.70 per square foot to paint a concrete exterior. Porous concrete typically needs a primer to help the paint adhere, so $2 to $7 per square foot may be a more accurate estimate. If the concrete needs to be stripped, the price per square foot may double. If the concrete needs to be repaired or resurfaced, the price is usually around $3,000 to $5,000 per 1,000 square feet.
One advantage of painting engineered wood siding is that often, it has already been primed. This means that the overall cost stays on the low end, about $1 to $2 per square foot, because of the labor and materials saved.
Like engineered wood, fiber cement siding also tends to come primed, which keeps costs relatively low. Fiber cement is also not porous like other materials, which means it requires fewer coats of paint. The average price to paint a house with fiber cement siding is around $1.20 to $3.20 per square foot.
Metal or Aluminum
The cost to paint metal or aluminum siding averages between $400 and $3,500, or $1.50 to $2.50 per square foot. It’s recommended that homeowners or contractors clean the siding before painting with specialized metal paint. Still, occasionally the old covering will need to be removed, and the material will need to be acid etched. If the siding is damaged, it will need to be repaired or replaced.
In many cases, homeowners can get away with leaving steel siding unpainted because it is not prone to rotting or mold. However, if the siding is being painted for aesthetic purposes, it’s usually possible to skip priming. Painting steel siding can cost $1.50 to $2.50 per square foot.
Painting stone siding is somewhat uncommon; however, some homeowners prefer this to removing the siding and replacing it with another material when the home’s exterior could use an upgrade. Stone absorbs paint because it is porous, and it often takes several coats to achieve the desired look. For this reason, homeowners can expect to pay $2.40 to $5 per square foot for this job.
Stucco or Plaster
The cost to paint stucco or plaster averages $1,500 to $4,000, or $1.50 to $4 per square foot. Stucco requires substantial prep work such as cleaning and caulking, and it requires more paint to cover the textured surface adequately. The labor costs may be more expensive because of the extended time needed to do the job right.
Painting vinyl siding can range from $500 to $2,500, or $1 to $3 per square foot. Vinyl is one of the most affordable exteriors to repaint, and changing the siding finish isn’t recommended unless it’s necessary. Vinyl siding needs to be cleaned and repaired before painting.
It costs between $700 to $3,000, or $1 to $3 per square foot, to paint wood siding. While it’s less expensive to paint wood siding, it requires more maintenance since it’s vulnerable to the elements. It’s recommended to paint wood siding every 5 to 10 years or when the paint is visibly in need of a refresh.
Do I Need to Paint My House?
Dull, faded, and chipped paint can make a house look run down. Not only that, but it can be a sign that mold or water damage has infiltrated the siding material. The following are a few reasons a homeowner may need to paint the exterior of their house.
Weathered or Damaged Exterior
If the siding material is faded or damaged, it’s time for new paint. Damaged paint can also cause the siding to be vulnerable to rot or mold. In a climate that is hot or experiences harsh winters, the elements can damage house paint and make it look worn and faded.
Old or Faded Paint
Old paint can look discolored or faded, or it can begin to chip and peel. Parts of the home that are shaded will also fade less quickly, resulting in unsightly uneven discoloration. For homes that receive a lot of direct sunlight, it’s recommended to choose a lighter color that won’t fade as noticeably. The exterior of the home can be protected with a fresh coat of paint. If the home was built before 1978, the exterior might contain lead paint, and this is something that will need to be handled by an expert.
Bubbling, Cracking, or Peeling Paint
In addition to being an eyesore, paint that is bubbling or flaking away leaves parts of the home’s exterior exposed. Since the siding material is no longer sealed, water, sun, and pests will have easy access. Sanding off flaking or bubbling paint and applying a fresh coat will protect the home from mold or rotting.
Mold or Moisture Stains
Visible mold or moisture stains can either be a slight blemish or the first sign of a serious problem. In some cases small sections with mold growth can be power washed and repainted, but a severe problem will need to be dealt with by a professional.
Benefits of Painting a House
Painting a home’s exterior doesn’t just improve its appearance and curb appeal, although that is a huge benefit. Applying fresh paint can increase home value, provide a layer of protection against weather, and even extend the life of the siding.
Protection From the Elements
Depending on the climate in a given area, there are a number of weather conditions that can take a toll on a home’s exterior. Frequent rain or snow can wear away paint and cause rotting or mold, and harsh sun exposure will age materials beyond their years. Paint can provide a surprisingly protective outer layer that will significantly lessen these effects.
Protection From Pests
Especially for homes with wood sidings, pests like termites and carpenter ants are a real concern. House painting is the perfect opportunity to inspect every inch of the home for potential damage before it’s too advanced. Applying paint will shield the home from insects, and some types of paints are even formulated to be insect-resistant.
Increased Siding Lifespan
While house painting costs are not trivial, they are much lower than the cost to replace siding completely. If siding is showing some small signs of age, making minimal repairs and adding a fresh coat of paint can prolong the siding’s life for a few more years. Additionally, painting siding essentially seals the material, protecting it from water, sun, and other elements. Maintaining this protective barrier can help the siding last for the entirety of its intended lifespan.
Painting the exterior is a tried-and-true way to refresh a home’s overall look. Looking through exterior house paint ideas can be also an exciting and enjoyable process. For homeowners who are looking for a way to create a new look for their home without the expense of a significant remodel, choosing a modern paint color scheme is the way to go.
Increased Home Value
The exterior of the home is one of the most important places to paint before putting a house on the market. Painting the exterior of a home is a relatively budget-friendly way to increase the overall value of the home since a new paint job doesn’t cost as much as new landscaping or a new roof. Picking the right exterior house paint color can instantly make the house appear more fresh and inviting. This is why it’s often recommended for homeowners to paint a house before selling it if the exterior is looking worse for wear.
Painting a House: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
If a homeowner has a 1-story home, a few weeks to set aside, and already knows how to paint a house, this could be a viable DIY project. Homeowners can expect to pay between $500 to $1,000 to paint a house and an extra $200 to $300 on materials and equipment, depending on what is needed. They’ll want to keep in mind that professional exterior house painters can get paint and supplies at a discount.
Exterior house painting involves prep work, repairs, and possible material replacement. If mistakes are made, it may cost more to fix the errors than to hire a professional. If the home has multiple floors, irregular shapes, complex architectural features, or extensive damage, a professional may finish the job in less time. While homeowners may save money on labor costs by painting the house themselves, chances are that it will take more time and create more stress than hiring a professional to paint a house. Homeowners will want to remember that painting the exterior of a home differs significantly from painting a room and involves a unique skill set. Professional house painters have the skills to work around potential problems and even weigh in on design questions like,”What trim color do you recommend?” or “Should I paint my house black?” They know how to paint a room or a home exterior quickly and safely and in a way that lasts.
How to Save Money on the Cost to Paint a House
Painting a house can be expensive, and the additional costs associated with the project can quickly add up. One way to save money on the cost of painting a house is to do it yourself and buy the most inexpensive paint possible, but there are other ways to save money without compromising quality.
- Choose a new paint color similar to the existing one. This can save money on paint and primer.
- Avoid dark paint colors. Darker paint colors require more coats to achieve the correct color saturation. They also fade faster than lighter paint colors.
- Get multiple bids. Getting several competitive painting estimates will make it easier to find the best price for your budget.
- Do some of the work yourself. You can save some money by completing the prep work independently. Sanding, scraping, caulking, and repairing wherever possible will save on labor costs.
- Get a contract. Make sure to get the estimate and work agreement in writing from the contractor. This will provide some clarity on what prep they will do and how long it will take to finish the project.
Questions to Ask About Painting a House
Asking a house painting professional the right questions can help minimize miscommunication, save money, and get the desired results. The following are some questions for homeowners to ask about the price to paint a house.
- Do I have to pay for an estimate?
- How long will it take to paint the exterior of my house?
- What type of prep will be involved?
- What is the best paint type and finish for my home?
- Do you have references?
- Where can I find reviews of your work?
- Do you have the addresses of some houses you’ve painted in this area?
- Does insurance cover your workers?
- Does your work come with a warranty?
Deciding on paint and materials while keeping down the overall cost to paint a house can be a daunting process. The following are some frequently asked questions about the cost to paint a house to help guide these decisions.
Q. How often should I paint my house?
Unfortunately, there is no set timeline for how often a house needs to be painted. On average, wood siding should be painted every 3 to 7 years, metal siding and stucco typically needs a fresh coat every 5 to 6 years, and brick can go as long as every 20 years. New materials such as cement fiberboard should be painted every 10 to 15 years.
Q. What is the best color for painting my house?
It’s recommended for homeowners to choose lighter or more muted colors for longevity. Darker colors can fade quickly, and more paint is needed when applying the color. If a homeowner changes their mind and wants to change back to a lighter color, more paint is required to cover the dark color, resulting in higher labor costs. It’s helpful for homeowners to look at home improvement publications to find a color scheme that appeals to them or to find a home in the neighborhood that they admire.
Q. How much does it cost to paint a 2-story house?
A 2-story house can cost up to 50 percent more to paint than a 1-story building. On average, a 2-story home has roughly 1,500 to 2,500 square feet of paintable area. This can run from $3,000 to $6,200 for the cost to paint a 2-story house.
Sources: Angi, HomeAdvisor, Fixr