A fresh coat of paint can increase your curb appeal, make your home look newer, and potentially lead to higher offers when you sell. But you’ll need to estimate the cost and make sure it fits into your budget. Several factors, like square footage and the cost of supplies and labor, will impact the final total.
Here’s how much you can expect a freshly painted house to cost:
How much does it cost to paint a house?How to calculate the cost to paint a houseCost to paint house exteriorsFactors that affect the cost to paint a house
How much does it cost to paint a house?
Homeowners spend $1,901 on average painting a home’s interior and $3,045 on the exterior, according to HomeAdvisor. But several factors — including the quality of the paint, whether you hire professionals, and the home’s square footage — affect that estimate.
Here’s a breakdown of what the painting costs might look like for a 2,300-square-foot home, the median size of a new house sold in 2020:
InteriorExteriorAverage cost to paint$1,901$3,045Average range for a 2,300-square-foot home$1,900 to $7,800$1,100 to $7,700Average price per square foot$2 to $6$0.50 to $3.5Sources: HomeAdvisor’s Paint a Home Interior guide and Paint a Home Exterior guide
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How to calculate the cost to paint a house
You can always get a quote from a professional, or you can take the following steps to figure out how much it costs to paint a house yourself:
Find the finished area. For interior jobs, measure the height of each room you want to paint and multiply by the width. Do the same for exterior walls if you’re painting the outside, as they measure differently. You might be able to find the exterior perimeter on your mortgage closing papers.Find the paintable area. Measure the total square footage of the windows and doors, and subtract that area from the total finished area. A standard door measures 21 square feet, while a standard window measures 12 square feet.Find the coverage area of the paint. A gallon of paint covers about 400 square feet on average, though you may need more for rough exterior siding. Exteriors usually need two coats of paint, and interiors may need two or three coats if you’re making a dramatic color change. Choose your paint. The cost of a gallon of paint depends on the brand, color, sheen, regional pricing, and whether you’re using interior or exterior paint. Do the math. Divide the paintable area by the coverage of a gallon of paint to find out how many gallons of paint you need. Then, multiply the number of gallons by the price of the gallon to complete your estimate. Use this formula. To find the number of gallons you need, use this formula: square feet of paintable area / square feet of paint coverage area = gallons of paint x 2 = total gallons of paint needed (rounded up to the nearest gallon)
Let’s say you’re painting three rooms — two bedrooms and a living room:
The main bedroom is 200 square feetThe second bedroom is 150 square feetThe living room is 300 square feet
This comes out to a total finished area of 650 square feet. There are also three doors and five windows within those three rooms, for a total area of 123 square feet, giving you a paintable area of 527 square feet. You decide to use paint that costs $50 per gallon.
Here’s how the calculations would break down:
The paintable area: 650 square feet – 123 square feet = 527 square feetThe number of gallons you need: 527 square feet / 400 square feet (the average area a gallon of paint covers) = 1.31 gallons of paint x 2 = 2.62 total gallons of paint neededThe cost of the paint: 3 gallons x $50 = $150
If you’re going the DIY route, then you’ll also need to calculate the cost of basic supplies. For an interior paint job, this might include paint rollers, paint trays, painter’s tape, a paint bucket, sandpaper, caulk, drop cloths, and a ladder.
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Cost to paint house exteriors
The material of your home’s exterior will affect the type and amount of paint you use. You’ll also need to adjust the estimate if your exterior is made of more than one material, such as vinyl and brick.
On a home that measures 1,500 to 2,000 square feet, here’s how much it might cost to paint the exterior, based on what it’s made of:
MaterialAverage cost to paint the exteriorBrick$3,500 to $10,500Vinyl$600 to $3,500Stucco$1,400 to $6,500Concrete$500 to $2,000Metal/aluminum$400 to $3,500Wood$700 to $3,000Trim$1 to $3 per linear footSource: HomeAdvisor’s Paint a Home Exterior guide
Factors that affect the cost to paint a house
Every paint job is different, depending on factors like labor costs, materials and supplies, square footage, and the condition and location of your home.
When you’re painting a house, labor might represent as much as 75% to 85% of the entire bill, and many charge by area instead of hourly. Professionals that do charge hourly charge about $25 to $75 per hour to paint the exterior and $20 to $50 per hour for the interior.
Painters spend a lot of time preparing the surface, so this might be an area where you can negotiate with the painter to save money. First consider whether you have the time and energy to clean, sand, patch, and caulk the walls.
You also might need to agree to the painter’s terms. For instance, some professionals won’t guarantee the finished product if they’re not doing the prep work. When you’re gathering quotes, make sure the final estimate reflects the arrangement you’ve negotiated.
Tip: Depending on the price of labor and your experience level, you might even decide to skip hiring professionals altogether. Homeowners typically need about two to three weeks to paint an entire home, plus the cost of materials and supplies.
Paint is the next-biggest cost, at anywhere from $20 to $80 or more per gallon. Professionals often get a contractor discount that they may pass on to you. The cost of the paint depends on the brand, color, sheen, and regional pricing.
Good to know: Interior and exterior paints are not interchangeable, so make sure you don’t mix the two. Exterior paint is made to handle mildew and fading, while interior paint is stain-resistant and allows for cleaning.
While you might want to cut corners here, it’s a good idea to use the highest-quality paint that your budget allows. Using good paint could save you money by offering long-term durability and better coverage, which translates to fewer coats and fewer work hours.
With the exterior, you’ll also need to consider the texture of the siding. Some rough textures, like stucco and wood, require more paint because there’s more surface to cover compared to smooth siding. So stucco and brick might cost $1 to $2 more per square foot compared to wood and vinyl.
Professionals will often include supplies in their quote, but you’ll need to budget for them if you plan to DIY. Final costs will depend on the brand, quality, quantity, and whether you rent or buy the item.
SuppliesAverage costBrushes$5 to $90Caulk$2 to $8 per tubeDrop cloths$10 to $30 eachLadder$100 to $300Paint pans and buckets $2 to $10Painter’s tape$2 to $5 per rollPower washerVariesRollers and roller handles$15 to $30Sandpaper$3 to $15Scraper$5 to $30Sprayer and power rollers$100 to $2,000Source: HomeAdvisor’s Paint a Home Exterior guide
Location and climate
When you’re painting the exterior, the weather and climate affect the materials you can use, how often you’ll need to paint, and when you can paint.
Homes in areas that experience harsh winters will need paint that’s made to withstand the elements. On the flip side, homes in year-round sunny climates may need paint more regularly because direct sunlight causes paint to fade quicker.
Additionally, high humidity and extremely high or low temperatures can affect how the paint dries and may lead to cracking and peeling.
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You or a professional will need to assess your home’s condition before preparing an estimate:
For the exterior: You may need to repair the siding materials, fill cracks and holes, and power wash the sides. You might also need to trim the landscaping and remove vines to prepare the space. For the interior: Walls will need to be cleaned, patched, and sanded. A professional can guarantee this is done quickly and correctly, but you can save costs by doing some of it yourself.
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