A fresh coat of paint can be a game-changer when it comes to curb appeal. A new paint job also increases the value of your home.
Regardless if you are listing the house or not, painting your home is part of property maintenance and should be addressed about every 8-10 years of homeownership.
In this article, we will discuss all aspects of painting your home, including materials, hiring professionals, DIY, and even how to save some money!
Plenty of factors will determine your specific costs. For starters, what type of material or surface are you planning to paint? Are you painting the interior and exterior? How many square feet do you plan to paint?
Next, determine if hiring a professional is in the cards or if you can take on the challenge of painting your entire house on your own. While professionals are efficient, they are also expensive.
Anyone who has a proper amount of time can paint their own house. The skillset will not take very long to pick up, and from what you will come to learn throughout this article, preparation is the most important and time-consuming step.
If you plan to paint the exterior, factor in things like how many stories in the air you may have to be on a ladder. Will you have to reach some sections by standing on or hanging over the roof?
What aspects of the exterior may require special attention? Interior painting is a bit easier in this category; all you will need to decide is where you will store all of your furniture so that it does not get ruined with any splatters or spills.
The size of the house
For both interior and exterior paint jobs, the size of the area you are painting will be one of the most significant factors in cost. The time it will take, and the amount of help you may need will also be affected by the paintable area.
Decorative & unique features
Your home's unique qualities give it character and differentiate it from every other house on the block. These also raise the difficulty level and potentially the price when it comes to painting.
If your home has either internal or external features that require extra or different color paint, or even just extra time to prep for the paint job, you will want to address those and account for them when determining both cost and attention required to approach the job.
Something that may have prompted the initial ideas to repaint your house may have come from color selection. Changing a home’s color could drastically change the amount of paint and primer required to perform the job correctly.
If you plan on changing the color, you will have to account for extra coats of both primer and colored paint. Choosing to repaint your home in the current color will be one way of trimming expenses when it comes time to crunch the numbers, so keep that in mind throughout.
The build quality
What if your house is not only in need of a paint job, but some structural or cosmetic issues will need to be addressed as well? You will want to take care of these before even beginning to think about paint.
If your home is made of wood, you will need to factor in the costs of replacing rotten or cracked boards before painting to give yourself the best possible result once the painting has been completed. If the house is concrete or any other type of structural material, the same applies.
The preparation involved
Preparation goes well beyond making sure that you have all the supplies needed. You may have to repair trim or window moldings before starting the paintwork.
On the exterior, preparation is the most labor-intensive step. With siding, you at least have to pressure wash and repair imperfections. If you are painting over wood, you will need to scrape the existing paint to remove peeling or chipping paint, sand the surface so that you can pressure wash, and then begin to paint.
Where you live & immediate surroundings
The other factor may be the climate you plan to paint in. In extreme climates, higher volumes and quality of materials are necessary due to factors of high or low temperatures and exposure to sun or wind. The more moderate climates allow you to use less paint and primer because it will be less weathered over its lifetime.
Main Expenses of Painting a House (How to Reduce These Costs)
The paint cost will be readily estimated based on whether you use interior vs exterior paint, the color you choose, and whether or not you will be using a primer or not.
On average, a gallon of interior latex paint costs roughly $80, covering approximately 400 square feet of the wall surface. Now, this price varies based on the quality and color of paint, but usually, a middle-grade quality interior latex paint will be within about $10 of this price, give or take.
If we are looking into exterior paint, you will look to spend around $50 per gallon for a middle of the spectrum quality of paint. Saving money in this area could be accomplished by choosing a color similar to the paint you are covering. This will require fewer coats, which translates to less cost.
Another simple way to save on paint quantity is to not wait so long before repainting. Especially in the case of the exterior of your home, painting before the existing coat is peeling, or bubbling will allow you to prep less and cover with fewer coats.
Whether you are painting inside or out, you will need brushes, trays, rollers, covers, Scrapers to clean chipping paint from hard surfaces. Maybe you plan on renting or purchasing a paint sprayer to save some time. All of the associated costs begin to add up quite rapidly. Even materials such as drop cloths and painter's tape, which may not seem like they should be expensive, will surprise you.
Exterior projects will even require wrapping shrubs and landscaping to keep from getting paint on them. You will also want to cover decking and outdoor furniture.
Paying a professional could save you a large amount of time when it comes to painting either the interior or especially the exterior of your home. Time is money, after all, and what your availability looks like will more often make your decision for you when it comes to deciding whether or not hiring a professional will be the best route for you.
Getting quotes will be your best method of saving costs if you plan to hire a painter or painting company. Gathering different cost quotes from a range of professionals will help you weed out unprofessional contractors, or even worse, contractors that may not have painting experience or knowledge.
If you plan on hiring a professional, make sure that they have proof of insurance and workers' compensation. You will not want to be liable for mistakes or potential injuries that could happen on your property. It may cost a bit more upfront but will be way less expensive in the end if something goes wrong.
How to Estimate the Cost of Painting Your House
How Much Does It Cost to Paint A House (by Square Footage)
Pricing your paint job by square footage will be the easiest way to calculate. You can take measurements of either the interior or exterior or study the house blueprints if they are available.
Be sure to note what materials each section is, along with the color you plan to paint with. This will help you to account for extra paint in some areas over others.
For example, If you plan to paint the interior rooms of the house white but decide that a bedroom will be painted a color, you will have to adjust your estimate for the greater cost and amount of colored paint in that specific room.
How long will it take to paint a house? (Interior & Exterior)
Painting the exterior of a house will take roughly a week, as long as the weather cooperates. The paint needs a dry surface to adhere to as well as an ample amount of drying time.
You will want to try and schedule a painting project in the mid-summer or dry season when there's little to no rain in the forecast.
The time it takes will ultimately vary based on the complexity and amount of laborers. The size of the house is a factor, but with ample labor, the job should go quickly.
Keep in mind the time it takes prepping the home will be at least the same, if not more than the time it will take to apply paint.
The interior of a home will take much less time to paint than the exterior. With less prep necessary and weather not being as much or a factor, you will expect to have the interior of a home completely painted within 3-4 days.
Painting an interior goes quickly when using rollers or sprayers. Moving furniture and taping off areas where the paint is not wanted usually takes up the bulk of an interior paint job's time.
Interior Vs Exterior Cost
Painting an exterior will typically be costlier than an interior paint job since interior paint can't be used outside. The outside of a home will tend to be more labor and paint. The painter will have more steps and intricacies, therefore, costing more money.
Even if you decide to paint the interior and exterior by yourself, the exterior will cost you more. To better understand costs based on the size of your home, we have included a table and price calculator below.
Cost of Painting
To break this down a little further, if you plan on painting a 1600 square foot house, you could expect to pay roughly $3,000 to paint the exterior. For an interior paint job on the same size home, depending on how many rooms there are, you would have to spend between $1,200 and $2,000.
If the house were roughly 2000 square feet, the cost for painting the exterior would be in the mid-size bracket, and you could expect to spend around the $4,000 amount. The interior paint job on a home that size would, again, fall into the mid-size range, costing you about $2,500 to complete.
How Much Does It Cost to Paint A House (By Room)
To estimate costs based on the number of rooms in a house, you will want to refer to our “How Much Does it Cost to Paint a Room” article for a more specific answer.
For the sake of a quick overview, if you were to estimate based on a 2 bedroom home, you will first want to measure the square footage of the rooms.
A 2-bedroom house would average out to about 2,000 square feet, and you would need to budget approximately $4,000 for the exterior and $2,500 for the interior.
Frequently Asked House Painting Questions
How much does it cost to paint a brick house?
Per square foot cost to paint a brick home is rough $1.40-$4.20. If you plan to paint a roughly 2,500 square foot home, you can expect to pay about $7,000.
Costs will vary depending on whether you do the work yourself, pay a professional, and the condition of the brick surface itself. The low cost would be about $3,500, and the high price for a similar size home could be up to $10,000.
When painting a house, where do you start?
To paint a house, you first need to start by measuring the space you plan to paint. If that is the exterior, note the materials you are painting over. You then need to begin researching the preparation process for whatever surface you are working with.
For example, if you are painting over wood, you're going to need to research stripping, peeling, or sanding away the old paint to create a good, clean surface for the new paint to stick.
How often does a home’s exterior need repainting?
The exterior paint on a home will generally last for about 5-10 years. The variables that affect how long the paint will last are exposure to extreme wind or cold, exposure to sun or salt-air, the quality of the paint, and the quality of the paint job itself. If the paint was applied to a damp surface, mold will eat through the paint much sooner.
If you live in a moderate climate, plan to paint your home with a high grade of paint, and prep the surface accordingly, you can expect your paint job to last the full 10 years. More than likely, however, you will end up painting the house sooner to change the color.
How many sq. ft does a 5-gallon bucket of paint cover?
You can expect a 5-gallon bucket of paint to cover approximately 1600 square feet of primed surface. Painting directly onto bare wood or other materials may lessen the amount of coverage per 5-gallons. This is because different materials absorb more paint than others and will need more coats to cover properly.
Do I need to prime before painting a house?
You should always plan to prime before you paint, especially with an exterior paint job. Primer not only preps the painting surface by filling small holes or imperfections, but it also gives the paint a uniform surface to adhere to.
Primer is also less expensive than paint, so you will end up saving money by applying a coat of primer and a finish coat of paint rather than multiple coats of the paint itself.
Is it better to brush or spray paint a house?
Painting with a brush or roller will be physically taxing, and you may end up using more paint in certain areas than others, thus giving you a patchy finished product. Paint sprayers are very efficient with paint and leave a uniform coat over all surfaces. You will have to deal with overspray when using a sprayer, though.
A professional contractor using a sprayer on the exterior of your home will cover bushes and landscaping with drop cloths to keep overspray from covering them. If you are attempting a DIY exterior paint job, I would advise that you do the same.
Do you need to wash the walls before painting?
Yes! You will want to wash the walls before painting in any scenario. Interior walls can accumulate small dust particles that will keep paint from adhering, so you will want to make sure they are washed.
Exterior walls could have dirt, or dust, even sticky pollen on them. All of these will keep paint from adhering properly and ruin your hard work.
Deciding to paint your house may sound like a daunting task by this point. Think of it more as an adventure into rejuvenating your home.
Once you decide on the color and map out the costs, it is fun to see the progress and very satisfying if you decide to take on the task as a DIY project. You will develop a greater respect for the home and feel good about your investment looking its best.