How Much Does it Actually Cost to Paint Your Home?
Painting your house's exterior is one of the biggest renovations you can undertake in terms of curb appeal and, unfortunately, cost. A fresh exterior paint color can make you fall in love with your home again, but it's not a project most people can afford to do whenever they need a little pick-me-up: The cost to paint a house exterior is so high, you probably want to do it as infrequently as possible. Unlike painting an interior room, which you could do by yourself in a weekend, painting your home's exterior is a much larger (and more permanent) undertaking that takes seasoned pros several weeks to finish. If they prep your house well and use high-quality paint, it can last for a decade or longer and boost your property value to boot.
Of course, all that time, labor, and paint is going to cost you. Exactly how much? Read on to get house exterior paint cost estimates based on size, condition, location, and more.
Average Exterior Painting Costs
The cost of painting your house's exterior largely depends on its size and your location. However, we know an average price range can be helpful to hear. Home Advisor puts the cost to paint the exterior of a single-story, 2,000-square-foot home between $2,000 and $8,000, including labor. (It does not factor in materials including paint, which is pretty darn integral to the job. But paint is a cost you can control; we'll discuss that more below.) The cost to paint a house exterior is much higher—closer to $15,000 or more—in the Northeast and on the West Coast where the cost of living is higher.
Because of the safety risks and additional difficulty involved with painting a multistory home, you can expect to pay twice as much or more for labor even if your material costs are the same. The low-end price range to paint a single-story house is $1,800 to $6,000 compared with $5,000 to $12,000 for a three-story house.
The pitch and complexity of your home's architecture factor in as well. Victorian-style houses with turrets and intricate trim, for example, cost more to paint.
Exterior Painting Cost Breakdown
When you hire a pro, their estimate will break down into materials and labor. You can save on materials by using a less expensive paint formula, but it might not last as long as a higher-quality one. You can save on labor by hiring a less expensive crew—or doing it yourself. Just be aware that exterior painting is a job that requires skill and patience. The more of both that go into it, the longer the paint will last. If budget is a concern, try to avoid the least expensive paint formula and painters and go with options in the middle.
Depending on the brand and formula, exterior paint costs $30 to $80 per gallon on average. (Professional painters will get a contractor discount to bring this down.) These prices are accurate for standard acrylic or latex-based exterior paint. If you're interested in a mineral-based paint, such as limewash, for brick, know that those cost more, running between $100 and $150 per gallon.
While a gallon of exterior paint can cover between 250 and 400 square feet in one coat, it's always best to overestimate the amount of paint you'll need and make sure if you hire a pro that they do same. You don't want to have to go back for more paint or pay more for materials than you expected to.
For a 2,000-square-foot home, you can expect to need between 10 and 16 gallons of paint for a total cost of $300 to $1,300. We know this is a wide range, but it can still be helpful for budgeting. If you can, choose a higher-end exterior paint formula. Better paint will not only look nicer but also last longer and require fewer touchups. Double-check any estimates you receive to confirm that they include the exact paint formula you want to use and not a cheaper one.
According to Home Guide, the labor cost of painting your home's exterior should amount to 70 to 80 percent of the total cost of the project or $0.80 to $2.80 per square foot. The average cost of professional painters is around $200 to $500 per day, plus the cost of materials. Be sure that labor is included in any estimate you receive along with all the materials.
Unexpected Exterior Painting Costs
As with any home repair project, you can't anticipate everything that will crop up while you're repainting the exterior. Damage from the sun, wind, and rain can mean your home needs repairs that you weren't aware of. Exterior painting is a good opportunity to check on the condition of the windows, screens, and storm windows as well as the roof and gutters.
This step is more important—and time intensive—than the actual painting. You might be surprised by how long your painters go before they actually take out brushes; prep work can easily take a week or more depending on your home's size and condition. But because paint adheres better to a smooth and well-prepared surface, getting the exterior walls and all the trim in good shape is worth it. First, your home has to be deep cleaned. That means power-washing the entire exterior ($50 to $80 per hour) and letting it dry completely. Next, any peeling paint needs to be scraped off. That's when unforeseen repairs (and expenses) can start to surface as you or your painters get up close and personal with areas of your home's facade that have gotten damaged, worn down, or started rotting. Finally, everything needs to be covered with a fresh coat of primer. If you're making a big color change, say from dark blue to crisp white, you might need a second primer coat. All of this prep for painting can cost between $0.58 and $0.93 per square foot, according to Improovy.
Historic Property Protections
If you live in an older home, certain protections may need to be put in place while you're prepping and painting its exterior. Lead paint was used prior to 1978. If your home predates that, your lawn and the surrounding area will need to be protected from toxic lead paint chips and dust during the washing, sanding, and stripping steps. This usually requires a $300 professional shop vac, plastic sheeting, and duct tape to prevent lead paint from getting into the bushes, grass, or air. You'll also want to consult an EPA-certified contractor who knows how to properly remove and dispose of the residue.
Time of Year and Climate
This might sound obvious, but you can't paint your house if it's raining, snowing, or even too windy. The peak time for house painting is after the April showers have passed but before high summer's heat and storms. However, weather is unpredictable, so it's important to budget for rain delays or any rework you may need to do.
Exterior Painting Cost By Material
What your home is made of impacts how much it costs to prep and paint it. Did you know that you can even paint metal house siding? It just takes a little extra TLC.
Siding (Vinyl, Wood, and Aluminum)
Painting vinyl siding is common and cost-effective. The cost of painting vinyl siding ranges from $5,259 and $8,388 for a two-story home—about 10 percent less than the cost of painting wooden siding. Painting metal siding costs about the same as vinyl, but it requires more maintenance and needs to be done more frequently, every five years or so.
Because of its texture and need for more detail work, stucco painting costs more, between $6,428 to $10,253. Stucco also requires special expertise to prep its surface and gentle wash it (as opposed to power-washing) to maintain its structural integrity.
The cost to paint brick homes is by far the highest, with a price range of $7,889 to $12,583. That's because brick requires special (and more expensive) masonry primer and brushes. Brick also takes much longer to paint than traditional siding.
Does Painting Your House Increase Its Value?
The short answer is yes, painting your home's exterior does increase its value. However, by how much largely depends on the color. Neutrals like white, black, and navy are the most popular exterior paint colors and add more value than avant-garde shades like pink or light green. According to the National Association of Realtors and its 2022 Remodeling Impact Report, a fresh coat of exterior paint can be worth a 55 percent return on investment for homeowners looking to sell. Painting your home's exterior also had the highest "joy score" of all the exterior renovations, with a 9.8 out of 10.
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