Adding a fresh coat of paint can make your home appear new, and it can create a whole new feel for your space. Paint can easily highlight architectural details, transform an exterior, or brighten up a tired-looking home, and this leads many people to wondering what the cost to paint a house is. Since you can paint any material or siding from vinyl or wood to fiber cement, it’s usually a cost-effective way to make a big change to your home in a few days.
There are several different cost factors that go into trying to figure out the cost to paint a house, and this includes the amount of trim and siding you have, your home’s size, the material you clad your home in, the architectural style, and the type of paint you want to use.
You can expect to spend between $3,500 and $7,000 to paint your home’s exterior. The average cost to paint a house is just over $5,000 to paint a home’s exterior that has trim, 1,500-square feet of siding, and prep work. For a smaller home, the lower cost to paint a house ranges around $1,100 for a 1,100-square foot home, and a three-story house with 2,500 to 3,000-square feet with intricate trim will cost upwards of $10,000 from start to finish.
Per square foot, you could find yourself paying between $.050 and $3.50, but this depends heavily on your location, accessibility, and the condition of your home’s exterior. If you have stucco or brick, this will cost around $1.00 more per square foot than wood or vinyl do. If you’d like a more precise estimate on the cost to paint a house, this guide will break down the biggest factors for you. This way, you can apply them to your situation and see where your price points lie.
It’s a good idea to have a general quote for the cost to paint a house before you begin so you don’t blow your budget right out of the gate. Painting the House by Mererid Noyle / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Finding Out the Cost to Paint a House by Square Footage
It’s essential to know that the amount of exterior siding you have to put paint on doesn’t always equal the square footage of your interior when you start to calculate out the square footage. You should carefully calculate every wall of siding by themselves, and you want to then multiply the width and height to find the wall’s square footage. Do this for every wall before adding your totals together.
You want to add dormers, gables and other features separately. The siding material can also change your cost per square foot, as can the job’s complexity. Per square foot, the cost to paint a house will range between $2 and $5. It also includes:
- Finished Area Total – Measure your home’s perimeter and multiply by the height.
- Finished Paintable Total – Take the total finished area and subtract the windows and door areas. A standard window is 12 feet square, and a standard door is 21 feet square.
This will give you how many square feet you have to paint. You can then take this estimate and start calling around to different companies to see what they’ll quote you. If you plan to do it yourself, you can take this estimate and start shopping for paint.
- 800 Square Feet – $1,300 to $3,200
- 1,000 Square Feet – $2,600 to $4,000
- 1,200 Square Feet – $1,990 to $4,800
- 1,500 Square Feet – $2,500 to $6,000
- 1,600 Square Feet – $2,600 to $6,400
- 2,000 Square Feet – $3,300 to $8,000
- 2,500 Square Feet – $4,100 to $10,000
How to Estimate the Cost to Paint a House by Stories
The cost to paint a house that is two or three stories is more expensive than a single story home, and this makes sense. Climbing up and down a ladder, slowly repositioning the ladder as you paint, and refilling the paint sprayer can add several hours onto the project. Additionally, it increases the risks of spilling your paint or falling and getting injured.
On average, the cost to paint a house with one story is around $2,500. If you have a ranch-style home that comes with a low-pitch roofline, this makes the painting process easier. You could expect to pay around $1,500 to paint a home like this. If you have a two-story home, you get to enjoy more space. However, larger homes that go higher come with a higher cost to paint a house price tag. To paint the exterior on a two-story house, you’ll pay around $4,500. A nice three-story home may give you ample space to welcome family and friends, but it can make the price to paint it go up to $10,000 or higher. Since the height adds cost to your final total, make sure you add:
- 30% above 8 feet
- 60% above 13 feet
- 90% above 17 feet
- 120% above 19 feet
Pricing Exterior Primer by Type
If you plan on making a significant color change or if you’re painting your home for the first time, you’ll have to apply a coat of primer before you can actually paint. Primer will help the paint stick to your home’s surface much better, and this allows it to last longer. Primer may also be able to help you prevent paint discoloration like you see when you try to paint cedar and the sap bleeds through. This is known as cedar bleed, and it’s very common. Priming stops the sap from bleeding through, and it takes care of the discoloration. If you’re going from dark to light paint, a nice primer can help make the transition process much smoother. It also reduces the number of coats of paint you have to put on.
Maybe you’re going to switch paint types like going from an oil-based to a latex paint. If so, primer is necessary. You want to use the same type of primer as the paint you’re going to use. So, if you have an oil-based paint, get an oil-based primer and apply it first to give yourself a clean slate to work with.
Picking out the correct primer type can dramatically reduce your cost to paint a house because you won’t have to apply so many coats to get an even and neat appearance. The paint won’t soak in as much, and it’ll adhere to the house better. House painting by Ste Elmore / CC BY 2.0
This is a latex-based primer. It works very well when your current home’s surface makes it difficult for the paint to stick, and it can lower the cost to paint a house because you’ll have fewer layers. You can easily use it on glossy materials like glazed brick, metal, or vinyl without a problem. It’s also very popular on yard decor due to the adhering ability. You can apply it with a sprayer to make cleanup easy, and you should expect to pay between $15 and $60 per gallon.
Latex Primer (Exterior)
Next up is exterior latex primer, and you may hear it referred to as acrylic primer. This is a latex-based primer that has a water reduction. In turn, this gives in a very fast drying time, and it’s easy to clean. Additionally, it has fewer VOCs (volatile organic compounds) than other types, and this makes it better for the environment. You can apply it to masonry surfaces, fiber cement, metal, and wood. However, this type of primer will chip much easier than others, and it has a lower effective rate for breaking down UV lighting. You’ll pay between $20 and $80 per gallon with latex primer.
This is a very messy option, and you have to have mineral spirits on hand to clean it up when you finish. This is a very effective type of primer that will effortlessly block odors and stains, cover dark colors, and give your paint excellent adhesion capabilities to make it last longer. It works very well as a sealant for wood too, but it does show brush marks very easily. The cost range for this type of primer starts at $20 and goes up to $50 for a gallon.
Finally, we have shellac primer. This is a very versatile product that has the fastest drying time out of the group to help reduce your cost to paint a house, and it adheres better to your home that any other primer. It’ll permanently cover any odors and stains on your house, but it has a very sticky consistency. It also has a very strong smell associated with it. Cleanup will involve a lengthy process with denatured alcohol. Acetone nail polish also works, but this also means that you can’t use a sprayer to apply it. You’ll easily pay between $20 and $60 a gallon.
Pricing Exterior Paint by Type
Now that you’ve picked out your primer, it’s time to see how pricing exterior paint by type can increase your cost to paint a house. There are several different types of exterior paint to choose from, and your contractor may have a preference as to which they use. The type of siding on your home may also play into the type of paint you’re able to use to complete this project.
Acrylic Latex Exterior Paint
This is an excellent type of paint if you have glossy surfaces or vinyl to cover. It’s very easy to clean, and you can use soap and water. There are also low or no VOCs when you use it, and this makes it healthier overall. However, this type of paint can’t last as long as others, and this means that there is a very big possibility that it’ll chip. It doesn’t have a very smooth texture, and it’s not recommended for wet climates. The pricing for this type of exterior paint ranges from $20 to $40 per gallon.
Latex Exterior Paint
Latex exterior paint is just like the primer in the fact that it’s water-based, so this can equal a very easy cleanup process once you finish with your project. The paint will dry very quickly without yellowing with age, and you can choose from many colors. It is also good for the environment. The biggest disadvantage with this type of exterior paint is that an oil-based paint is better suited for trim or wood siding. You’ll pay between $20 and $50 per gallon.
Oil-Based Exterior Paint
You’ll get a smoother application process with oil-based exterior paint, but it takes a significantly longer time to dry. This can be helpful if you make a mistake because you have time to go back and correct it. You get a more thorough coverage, but it’s a more expensive option than the other two. It also comes packed with VOCs, and you have to break out the turpentine or mineral spirits to clean it up. It’s also prone to yellowing, fading, and cracking with age. You’ll pay between $20 to $70 per gallon.
Some types of paint don’t adhere to different types of siding well, and you can end up wasting a lot if you don’t take the time to match the paint type to your siding materials. Housepainting 045 by sarahplynch / CC BY-NC 2.0
Pricing Exterior Paint by Gallon for Your Home Size
The color, location, and brand of paint are three big factors that will dictate how far one gallon of paint goes when you’re pricing out the cost to paint a house. The siding’s condition, the type of material, and project size also all factor into your cost to paint a house. Non-porous materials will require less paint than porous ones, and materials that are in good shape will need less paint than ones you didn’t upkeep. Generally speaking, the average number of gallons you need for the amount of siding on your home are:
- 800 Square Feet – $200 for 4 Gallons
- 1,000 Square Feet – $300 for 6 Gallons
- 1,200 Square Feet – $400 for 8 Gallons
- 1,500 Square Feet – $500 for 10 Gallons
- 2,000 Square Feet – $600 for 12 Gallons
- 2,500 Square Feet – $750 for 15 Gallons
How the Paint’s Finish Type Factors into the Cost
Your paint can have different finishes to it, and this will impact your cost to paint a house because it can drive your costs up. It ranges from matte or flat up to a very high gloss finish. Since not all finishes work well for the exterior of your home, the most popular one you see is eggshell because it has a very light sheen to it instead of a high gloss or flat look.
Eggshell has barely any gloss with a very light luster to it. The finish looks like the shell of an egg, and this is where it gets the name. It’s a little easier to clean, and it has a low reflectivity level that allows you to hide imperfections and dents nicely. It’s also more forgiving to mistakes and brush marks, and a gallon can cost between $30 and $50.
You’ll get a completely matte finish with no sheer. There is also a chalky feel when you touch it like you’d get with chalk paint. It works very well if you’re trying to hide flaws or blemishes on your home’s exterior, but it’s also much harder to clean as it’s prone to chipping and it tends to hold onto dirt. You’ll spend between $15 and $40 for a single gallon.
You get a very reflective, glossy finish with this paint. It works well on types of trim and on doors because it’s extremely durable and resistant to chipping and scratching. You shouldn’t use it for larger exterior areas unless you want to spotlight it. This is a more expensive option at $50 to $70 per gallon.
This type of paint can help you keep your cost to paint a house slightly lower, and it has a deeper sheen than you get with Eggshell. This makes it easier to clean while giving you a velvet-looking finish that is durable and appealing. It resists scuffing, scratches, and stains. Darker colors appear much richer when they have a satin finish, and you can pay between $30 and $50 per gallon.
This paint has a much higher gloss that makes it easier to clean, but it’ll also reflect a lot of light. You usually use it on your trim because it lets you see every flaw and bump. If you live in a desert landscape or an area that is very muddy, semi-gloss makes it easier to clean your home. You’ll pay between $40 and $60 per gallon.
You don’t necessarily want a bright and reflective paint finish on your home, so most people choose semi-gloss or eggshell to get a nice look that is easy to clean. Musselburgh House Painting by Eddie Truman / CC BY-NC 2.0
Siding Type Can Impact Your Price Points
The siding is the home’s exterior that you paint. Just to paint the siding on a 1,500 square foot house, you’ll pay between $2,000 and $3,000. The siding will dictate how many coats of paint you have to put on, so it can quickly inflate your cost to paint a house budget.
- Aluminum Siding – Aluminum will look chalky and fade over time, and it has a cost range of $500 to $3,500 for a 1,500 square foot house to repaint. It’ll cost more to do the trim or doors. However, aluminum is easy to paint, and it’s non-porous.
- Brick – Brick requires less paint and less time to paint than a lot of other materials, and this can lower your cost to paint a house price. If you have a home that is entirely brick, you’ll pay between $4,000 and $10,000 to paint it, and it can be more if you only have partial brick mixed with other mediums.
- Cement – Cement siding gets painted when it gets installed, and you can buy it pre-primed to have a custom paint job. You’ll repaint it every 10 years or so, but it’s quicker and easier than wood because it’s non-porous. It uses less paint and takes paint easily, so you’ll spend between $3,000 and $6,000 to paint a 1,500 square foot cement house.
- Concrete – While it’s rare to have a concrete house, some homes do utilize it. Some choose to not apply any paint while others like the look of painted concrete. You will have to put a primer on since it’s a porous surface, and the primer will stop the paint from peeling. For a 1,500 square foot house, you’ll spend between $3,000 and $4,000 to paint it.
- Engineered Wood – This type of siding usually comes pre-primed, and you shouldn’t have to use as much paint as you would for bare wood siding. This can lower your costs in both material and time. The average cost to paint this type of siding ranges from $1,500 to $2,000.
- Steel – You will work with steel just like you’d work with aluminium. Some require special primers and some come done and don’t need paint ever again. For 1,500 square feet, you’ll usually spend between $2,000 and $3,000 to paint it.
- Stone Veneer – If you have engineered stone, you can paint it to blend in with the rest of the exterior. IT’s usually a type of cement instead of true stone, and it holds paint very similar to cement. You’ll have to prime and paint it at a cost of $4,500 to $6,000 for a 1,500 square foot house.
- Stucco – Stucco requires a special process that usually means you have to make small repairs before you can paint, and this can drive your cost to paint a house up. To paint a 1,500 square foot stucco house, you’ll spend between $4,800 and $6,500.
- Vinyl – Vinyl is usually very low-maintenance, and you can paint it to freshen up the look. You should clean and give it a coat of primer before you apply the paint, and you’ll need at least two coats of acrylic latex paint. For a 1,500 square foot house, the cost is slightly higher at $3,000 to $4,000 to complete it.
- Wood – If you have bare wood siding, you’ll need primer. If your wood isn’t in the best shape, you’ll need at least two coats of paint. The average cost to paint wood siding on a 1,500 square foot house is between $3,000 and $4,000. However, repainting the siding drops to between $2,000 and $3,000.
Applying the incorrect type of paint to your siding or not priming your siding before you start painting is a quick way to waste a lot of money buying extra paint. Housepainting 040 by sarahplynch / CC BY-NC 2.0
The cost to paint a house heavily depends on the labor costs because it can be a time-consuming project. A professional painter will tape off the area to protect them, clean the exterior before they paint, and know how much paint they need for the job. They’ll also know when it’s appropriate to use a primer and when they don’t need one.
Most painters will charge by hour, and the average rate is $50 per hour. This is per painter, so if you have two painters working at once, it’s $100 an hour. The more painters you have working at once, the fewer hours they’ll need. To prime and paint a 1,500 square-foot house, the average time is between 16 and 32 hours for two painters. This includes trim and siding. The labor costs for this project will range between $1,600 to $3,200. If they don’t have to prime, you can reduce the labor costs by 50%.
Cost to Paint Miscellaneous Exterior Items
Along with the siding, there are other miscellaneous items you can have the painters tackle while they’re there. However, you do want to keep an eye on the costs because they can stack up quickly. The biggest items to consider are:
- Exterior Doors – You can have your exterior doors painted to match your house or painted a complementary color. The cost runs between $125 to $150 per exterior door.
- Garage – If you have an 18 by 20-foot garage, you’ll pay between $600 and $3,000 to paint it. The door can cost between $200 and $500. A detached garage averages out at $1,500.
- Trim – A lot of homes feature trim around siding runs, doors, and windows. Trim costs vary between $1 and $6 per linear foot to paint. The window trim alone can cost between $80 to $120 per window.
- Eaves, Soffit, or Fascia – The cost to paint soffits or fascia runs between $2.50 to $5.50 per square foot. If you have to replace them, it’ll add anywhere from $600 to $6,000 to your cost to paint a house.
- Gutters – Your cutter painting cost will vary depending on the material, and the cost range starts at $1.00 per linear foot and goes up to $4.00 per linear foot.
- Shutters – Shutters will cost between $50 and $150 each to paint while they paint your home.
- Deck or Patio – Staining a deck can cost you between $540 and $1,000, or about $1.00 to $3.00 per linear foot. To paint a patio or covered porch, you could pay up to $2,000.
Where to Find House Painters
If you are looking for a professional near you to help you with the paint job, here is a good resource:
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much does it cost to repaint a house?
It can cost between $1,000 to $10,000 total to repaint a house, or $1.00 to $5.000 per square foot. The home’s configuration and size factor in, as does how many stories the home as and any prep work. Prep work can double the cost.
2. What is the cost difference between spraying or rolling the paint on?
Generally speaking, painters will charge between $40 to $60 to use a roller to apply your paint and $30 and $50 to use a sprayer. A sprayer goes on more evenly and is usually quicker than a roller, but you can’t use a sprayer with oil-based paint.
3. Do you need a permit to paint your home?
You could, so it’s a good idea to check with your local city or town office before you start. Permits can start at around $250 and go up.
The cost to paint a house will depend on several key factors, and no two houses will get the exact same quote for the job. If you’re wondering what the cost to paint a house is for you, shop around. Call local companies and ask for quotes. If you’re ambitious, you could do it yourself and cut your cost to paint a house by a significant amount. Take your time, choose your paint colors, and get a professional-grade finish that looks nice for years to come.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.