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 your home. The typical cost to paint a house is between $1,747 and $4,168, with the national average at $2,955.
- Typical Range: $1,747 to $4,168
- National Average: $2,957
Painting the exterior of your home will improve the appearance and add to the marketability and resale value. According to HomeAdvisor, the typical cost to paint a house ranges from $1,747 to $4,168, with the national average around $2,957, or from $.50 to $3.50 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 $75 per hour. Most professional house painters will quote a total price that includes all hours worked. The type of exterior paint you choose 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 let you know what to expect from a professional estimate and stay on budget. To find out the approximate cost to paint a house, 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 give you 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. Keep in mind that two coats of paint are 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 you’ll need two coats. 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 $1,747 to $4,168, with the national average around $2,957, or from $.50 to $3.50 per square foot. This average can vary depending on the geographic location of the house. Being aware of the different factors will help you select the paint and materials suitable for your home.
The majority of the cost to paint a house comes from labor. Most professionals will charge between $25 and $75 an 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 price differences are related to the overall cost of living in that area.
Area to Be Painted
The more paintable area, the more expensive the project will be. It costs more to paint a two- or three-story house because of the amount of paint and the extra equipment needed for hard-to-reach areas. This involves more setup and cleanup time. It usually costs from $.50 to $3.50 per square foot to paint a house, and the average cost is $.75 to $2 per square foot for the entire project. A two-story home can cost up to 50 percent more than a one-story home.
The exterior material type is a significant factor in calculating the cost to paint a house. Wood and vinyl siding can cost $1 to $2 less per square foot to paint than other materials because it is 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.
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 you live 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.
Size, Age, and Condition of Your House
The size of your home will determine how much paint is needed and affect the cost of labor. A home exterior that is in excellent condition will require less paint than an exterior that is damaged. If the exterior of your home is in disrepair, it will need to be improved before priming and painting can even begin.
If the exterior of your 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 $.50 to $1.50 per square foot for patching; $.50 to $2.50 per square foot for sanding, scraping, and stripping; $220 to $380 for power washing; and $.50 to $1 per square foot for caulking and masking. On average, the costs for house prep can range from $25 to $50 an hour, depending on the exterior material and the extent of the repairs.
Type and Quality of Paint and Primer
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 you may spend more money on upfront costs, 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 $70 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.
Eggshell is the most common paint finish for home exteriors. It has a slight sheen, and it runs from $30 to $50 per gallon. Flat paint costs from $15 to $40 per gallon, satin paint averages between $30 to $50 per gallon, semi-gloss paint goes for $40 to $60 per gallon, and high-gloss paint can cost from $50 to $70 per gallon.
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 $20 to $80 per gallon, oil-based primers go for $20 to $50 per gallon, and shellac primers can run between $20 and $60 per gallon.
To extend the life of the paint job, choose the highest quality paint and primer that’s approved for your home’s exterior surface.
The cost of painting trim is charged by the linear foot, and it usually runs between $1 and $3 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.
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 start close to $255. 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.
Additional Costs and Considerations
When budgeting for the cost to paint a house, there are usually additional price factors and considerations. Labor costs to paint a house can run from $25 to $75 per hour and can vary due to the size of the house and needed repairs. Some other additional costs are paint stripping, equipment and travel fees, and landscaping.
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 your home was built before 1978). Lead paint inspections can cost between $200 and $400, and do-it-yourself tests are available for less than $40.
If there is peeling or chipped paint, the house may need to have the paint stripped. While it’s not usually necessary to strip the entire house, sections can be stripped using a sander, heat gun, or scraper.
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 you live from the contractor, a travel fee may be included. This could be $50 or more.
If there is extensive landscaping, large trees, or sloping terrain that blocks access to the house, house painters will need to use additional specialized equipment. Drop cloths and tarps are also used to protect landscaping from paint splatters and chips.
Cost to Paint a House: Types of Exteriors
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 category of paint. To help guide your decision, here are some of the recommended ways to update different types of exteriors.
Cost to Paint Metal or Aluminum Siding
The cost to paint metal or aluminum siding averages between $400 and $3,500. It’s recommended to 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. New metal siding can cost between $4,000 and $13,500.
Cost to Paint Brick
Painting a brick home can run between $3,500 to $10,500, or $1.50 to $4.50 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.
Cost to Paint Wood Siding
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.
Cost to Paint Vinyl Siding
Painting vinyl siding can range from $600 to $3,500, or $1.25 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.
Cost to Paint Stucco or Plaster Siding
The cost to paint stucco or plaster averages $1,400 to $6,000, or $1.50 to $3.50 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.
Cost to Paint Concrete
Expect to spend between $500 to $3,000, or $1 to $3.50 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 $300 to $500 per 100 square feet.
Cost To Paint a House: Do I Need to Paint My House?
A fresh coat of paint can update and improve the curb appeal of your home. Dull, faded, and chipped paint can make a house look run down. Here are a few reasons to paint the exterior of your house.
Painting the Exterior Refreshes Your Home’s Look
Painting the exterior is a tried-and-true way to refresh your home’s overall look. If you’d like to create a new look for your home without the expense of a significant remodel, choosing a modern paint color scheme is the way to go.
Painting the Exterior Raises Your Home’s Value
Painting the exterior of your home is a relatively budget-friendly way to increase the overall value of your home since a new paint job doesn’t cost as much as new landscaping or a new roof. When you pick the right paint color for your house, it becomes fresh and inviting.
Your Home’s Exterior Is Weathered and Damaged
If the siding material is faded or damaged, it’s time for new paint. Damaged paint can also be a sign of rot or mold. If you live in a hot climate or experience harsh winters, the elements can damage house paint and make it look worn and faded.
The Paint Is Old
Old paint can look discolored, faded, or begin to chip and peel. You can protect the exterior of your home with a fresh coat of paint. If your home was built before 1978, the exterior might contain lead paint.
Cost to Paint a House: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
If you have a one-story home, experience painting houses, and a few weeks to set aside, this could be a viable DIY project. 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. Keep in mind that professional house painters can get paint and supplies at a discount.
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 your home has multiple floors, irregular shapes, complex architectural features, or extensive damage, a professional may finish the job in less time. While you may save money on labor costs by painting the house yourself, the chances are that it will take more time and create more stress than hiring a professional to complete the project for you. Remember that painting the exterior of your home differs significantly from painting a room and involves a unique skill set.
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. By getting several competitive painting estimates, you can find the best price for your budget.
- Do some of the work yourself. You can save some money by completing the prep work on your own. By sanding, scraping, caulking, and repairing what you can, you will save on labor costs.
- Get a contract. Make sure to get the estimate and work agreement in writing from the contractor. This way, you’ll know what prep they will do and how long it will take to finish the project.
Questions to Ask About Cost to Paint a House
Asking a house painting professional the right questions can help minimize miscommunication, save money, and get the desired results. Here are some questions to ask about the cost 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. Here are some frequently asked questions about the cost to paint a house to help guide you in your 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 to choose lighter or more muted colors for longevity. Darker colors can fade quickly, and more paint is needed when applying the color. If you change your mind and want to change back to a lighter color, more paint is required to cover the dark color, resulting in higher labor costs. It’s helpful to look at home improvement publications to find a color scheme that appeals to you or to find a home in your neighborhood that you admire.
Q. How much does it cost to paint a 2-story house?
A two-story house can cost up to 50 percent more to paint than a one-story building. On average, a two-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 two-story house.