Facebook

Average House Painting Costs (And Other Helpful Tips)

Updated
Is your home’s interior or exterior looking dull and outdated? It might be time to consider the costs of a new paint job.

Is painting the house something you dread because of the potential costs? So, how much does it cost to paint a house? It’s an important question because it can be a significant expense. But, like most home improvements, it depends on the amount of work involved.

The cost to paint the exterior of a house differs from the interior. And it also depends if you have a 1000 sq ft home or a 2000 sq ft two-story home and so on.

We’ll break down all the obvious costs and the costs you may not yet be aware of for a project like this. You’ll soon be ready to wield those paintbrushes with an accurate budget in mind.

How Much Does It Cost to Paint a House?

Exterior painting costs an average of $2 to $3 per square foot for a single story, and $1.20 to $2 per square foot for a 2-story home. Interior painting costs an average of $1.50 to $3 per square foot.


Average Cost to Paint a House

A homeowner in the United States will typically pay a professional between $2,191 and $4,505 to paint an average-sized house. If your home is small and you buy inexpensive paint and primer, it might cost as little as $829, even with professional labor.

But expect to pay more than $8,000 for a home with multiple stories if you use high-quality materials.

Painting a 2-story house of about 1,500 sq. ft. to 2,500 sq. ft. can cost up to 50 percent more than one with a single story.

How Much Does It Cost to Paint a House Interior?

When it comes to interior painting, a professional will typically charge between $2 and $6 per square foot. So, if your dwelling is 1,000 square feet, it will cost between $2,000 and $6,000 to paint it. The price can also vary depending on the paint you choose or the professional you hire.

How Much Does It Cost to Paint a House Exterior?

The cost to paint the exterior of the house can range from $1,747 to $4,168. But the national average costs around $2,957, or between $0.50 and $3.50 per square foot.

Important To Remember

The average house painting costs vary significantly based on local labor rates, size of the house, paint and primer used, potential repairs, etc.

How to Calculate Painting Costs

The first step is to calculate the square footage of the area that needs to be painted. The finished area is the perimeter of your house multiplied by its height. To calculate the paintable area, subtract the windows and doors from the finished area total.

Then divide the paintable area by the amount of coverage provided by a gallon of paint. That gives you a rough figure of how much you’ll need.

Easy Hack

You can also use a paint cost calculator to figure out how much paint you need.

Paint

If you’re painting the whole house by yourself, you can roughly calculate how much paint you’ll need for the project. The label on the paint can will specify the square footage one gallon can cover.

Take the square footage of the paintable area and divide it by the square footage per gallon to determine how many gallons of paint you need. Then multiply the price per gallon by the amount needed to paint the walls.

Typically, a gallon of paint can cover between 250 and 400 square feet. You’ll need two coats of paint, so keep that in mind.

The formula you want to remember is:

Sq. ft. of paintable area/sq. ft. of paint coverage = gallons of paint needed. Multiply this by two to allow for two coats of paint.

Materials

You’ll need various painting materials depending on whether it’s an inside or an outside paint job. These include:

The exact materials needed depend on the amount of prep work that needs to be done. For instance, you might even need spackling paste to cover up holes and cracks.

Labor

Estimating labor costs can be tricky because the prices vary based on location. But, on average, you’ll pay around $20/per hour per professional hired.

Factors Affecting House Painting Costs

When calculating the costs of how much it is to paint a house, keep in mind several factors will determine the end price.

Cost of Labor

Most of the expense of painting a house is incurred by the labor involved. Most specialists will charge between $20 and $75 per hour/per professional to paint a house. And this cost is usually included in the quote.

Size of House

The size of the house determines how much paint you need and how much work you have to put into it. That, of course, leads to increased labor costs. A 3-bedroom house will always cost more than a 1-bedroom house.

Painting a house can range from $0.50 to $3.50 per square foot. But an average cost is $0.75 to $2 per square foot for the full process.

Permits

You don’t need a permit to paint the house, but you might be required to get one if you’re doing any siding replacement. The starting cost for a license is typically around $255. Inspection after replacement can also cost between $100 and $200.

Material of Walls or Siding

The cost for painting a house also depends on what the walls are made from. You can expect to pay one or two dollars less per square foot for vinyl and wood surfaces because the surface is smoother.

A more porous wall, like one made from brick, stucco, or concrete, will usually cost more because it also needs more paint and primer.

Location and Climate

In addition to influencing the sort of paint required, the weather also influences how frequently a property will need to be painted. Direct sunlight can cause the exterior paint to fade.

Homes in climates with harsh winters or high humidity will require paint resistant to the elements, such as latex or acrylic. This could also increase the costs, especially if painters worked in harsh weather conditions.

Condition of House

If your home is in decent condition, it won’t need that much prep work and likely won’t require too many coats of paint. This helps save money in terms of materials and labor.

Type of Paint and Primer

The type and grade of paint used will impact the overall cost of painting a home or building. Cheaper paints may require more coats to adequately cover a home’s exterior, whereas more expensive paints may be thicker and give greater coverage than less expensive paints.

  • Water-based latex paint usually costs from $20 to $50 per gallon.
  • Oil-based paint costs between $20 and $70 per gallon.

As for primers, expect the following prices:

  • Latex-based primers – $20 to $80/gallon.
  • Oil-based primers – $20 to $50/gallon.
  • Shellac primers – $20 – $60/gallon.

Paint Finish

This is yet another factor that contributes to the cost of painting a house:

  • Eggshell paint costs between $30 to $50 per gallon.
  • Flat paint varies from $15 to $40 per gallon.
  • Semi-gloss paint is around $40 to $60 per gallon.
  • High-gloss paint costs between $50 and $70 per gallon.

Painting Trim

For those wishing to paint their trims, costs vary from $1 to $3 per linear foot. Things like taping and extra tools can drive up the cost of this. It’s a good idea to paint the trim the same color as the house to avoid extra costs.

Painting Ceilings

If you want to paint your ceilings yourself, you need to budget approximately $100 for the project. If hiring a painting contractor, you can anticipate paying $350 to $750 for a ceiling measuring 500 square feet. That translates to $0.50 to $1.50 per square foot.

You Might Also Like
Painting walls and ceilings. Painter paints using rollerHow Much to Paint a Ceiling (Including Top Tips to Save Money)

Additional Costs to Paint a House

Oh, yes. There’s more to consider with a project like this.

Repairs

In general, there are always minor repairs required before painting the house. This includes mold removal, caulking around windows and doors, or filling cracks and holes.

Paint Stripping

You always need to get rid of chipped paint to add a new layer. You don’t have to strip the entire house, but sections that do require stripping will require a scraper, heat gun, or sander. Needless to say, this is time-consuming and increases the labor cost.

Landscaping

Professionals might need some extra gear to paint a house obstructed by landscaping. This will add to the cost of the paint job.

Painting Closets or Garages

When people paint the interior of their house, they often fail to consider that cabinets and closets also need a fresh coat of paint. Also, consider painting the garage or the tool shed if you’re painting the home’s exterior.

Deck Staining

It usually costs between $540 and $1,050 to stain a deck, with an average cost of slightly over $700. The cost for labor, square footage that needs covering, and supplies is between $2 and $4. Higher-quality stains, as well as pre-staining cleaning or sealing, will raise the cost.

Lead Inspections

If your home was built before the eighties, you might require a lead paint inspection. This can cost between $200 and $400, but DIY lead paint tests are available that cost around $20.

Safety First

If removing the paint yourself, never use sanding as a method. It releases lead particles into the air. Instead, use a chemical paint stripper and scrap it off. Or, if you’re uncertain, you can always hire a professional.

How Much Does It Cost to Paint a House Yourself?

Smiling woman with roll paint brush sitting on boyfriends shoulders while painting wall at new home

For people that have a single-story house, some painting skills, and a few weeks to spare, this could be a do-it-yourself project that works out well.

To paint a house, you should budget $500 to $1,000 for paints and primers, plus an additional $200 to $300 for supplies and equipment. Paint and supplies are cheaper for professionals, so keep this in mind.

To paint a house, you must do a lot of prep-work beforehand. You may have to fix things or buy new paint. In the event of errors, it may be more expensive to rectify the faults than to engage an expert.

You can save money by painting the house yourself. But the project will likely take longer and cause you more stress than if you hired a professional. Having a professional handle the process can save you time if your house has numerous stories, unusual shapes, intricate architectural details, or significant damage.

Tips For Saving Money When Painting a House

Painting a house can be quite expensive, so let’s see some tips that could help you save money.

Compare Quotes

Don’t hire a painter before getting estimates from different companies. If you’re from the USA, inquire about licensed painters. Painting and Decorating Contractors of America is a good place to start.

Before hiring a painter, ask them about the number of hours spent on prep and painting. You can also ask what products they’ll use, the number of paint coats they will apply and if you’re expected to pay more for additional coats of paint.

Sign a Contract

Always avoid hiring a painter without a professional contract. Otherwise, there aren’t legal ways to solve any potential problems and conflicts.

This written agreement is legally binding and will ensure you get what you pay for. The contract should stipulate what the painter will do throughout the project.

DIY, If You Can

Painters may charge a lot of money for even the simplest of tasks because they are time-consuming. Some of the things you can do yourself to save money include:

  • Moving or covering the furniture to protect it.
  • Sanding surfaces and patching cracks and holes.
  • Removing the hardware from doors and windows.
  • Removing or covering light switches and power outlets.

Repaint in Time

One of the mistakes people make (which costs them more than it should) is waiting too long to repaint the house.

As time passes, the paint will peel and crack. That means extra prep work for the new coat of paint. That also means more money.

Is it Worth it to Paint a House?

Some of you might be wondering if it’s worth spending that much money to paint the entire house. Here are some things I think are good to keep in mind.

Increased Home Value

Painting the home will increase its value. When potential buyers visit houses, they will be more drawn to those with a fresh coat of paint.

It’s possible for a professional interior paint job to last up to seven years. It is an investment in your home that will truly pay off in the long run.

Boosting Mood at Home

A fresh coat of paint or new color can instantly change the appearance of your house. A fresh paint job can make your house feel like a newer and happier place. It is also cheaper to redecorate by painting than other means (such as buying new furniture).

Preventing House Damage

Painting protects your home and helps prevent future damage from occurring both inside and outside. The majority of interior walls are constructed from materials that naturally absorb moisture.

Over time, excessive absorption can result in weakened walls, which can be hazardous to the structural integrity of your home’s foundation. Moisture trapped within walls also catalyzes mold growth, which can be hazardous to one’s health.

FAQs

What is the Best Color to Paint a House?

This largely depends on personal preference. But it is important to remember that darker colors tend to fade quicker, while lighter and muted colors last longer. I recommend anything in the greige family for a neutral option. But dark red and cape cod blue are pretty popular, too.

Similar Articles
Colorful houses on the streetPopular Exterior Paint Colors (30 Ideas!)

How Long Does a Paint Job Last?

The simple answer is that interior paint lasts about 10 years, while exterior paint has a lifespan of about five to seven years.

While this is generally true, the longevity of your new paint job is dependent on several variables. This includes your choice of paint, its location, and the level of care taken in its application.

How Long Does It Take to Paint a 2500 Sq. Ft House?

Most professionals take anywhere from two to four days to paint an entire home this size. This includes prep, prime, and paint. If you’re doing it yourself, expect it to take a little longer.

Should You Pay Painters Per Day or a Flat Fee?

There are pros and cons to both options, but it really depends on your needs and budget and the condition of the home. In general, it’s best to pay a flat fee to avoid contractors taking advantage of a daily rate by taking longer to get the job done.

But if there’s a ton of prep-work involved, painters may insist on a per hour or per day fee. Discuss the options with them and ask for a quote for both.


Bottom Line

The question of how much does it cost to paint a house is perfectly normal when you’re considering tackling a project like this.

Even without hiring professionals, this can be an expensive undertaking, so you must be aware of the potential costs upfront.

Headshot of Candace Osmond

About the Author

Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author and Award-Winning Interior Designer. Using her years of hands-on experience, she now writes about design and DIY. She currently resides on the rocky East Coast of Canada with her family and slobbery bulldog.