Painting has been and will remain the easiest, quickest and oftentimes, cheapest way to add real value to your home. A new coat of paint will not only change the look and feel of your home, but greatly influence its interest should you ever decide to sell.
Whether you’re paining the interior or exterior of your home yourself, or hiring a pro, it always comes down to cost. Continue reading to see the average costs of the major painting projects around the country, how to limit those costs and how to get started on your own painting project.
If you need help along the way, don’t be shy about connecting with local painters who have worked close to you!
Exterior Painting Cost
Like many projects, location and size will have the biggest cost impact on your exterior painting project. Taking into account average paint materials and supplies, the average price to paint a home’s exterior is $2,394. As we noted in our exterior painting cost estimator, this average includes professional labor, supplies and the paint itself. While it would most likely take longer to do yourself, know that you could save thousands. The only costs would be the paint itself and your time.
Of course, painting smaller objects outdoors, such as stairs, gates or fences, should cost less.
Factors Affecting Exterior Painting Costs
Hiring A Pro, Location & Size
There are many factors that can increase or decrease the overall cost of your exterior painting project. To no surprise, the biggest factors are hiring a pro, location and size of the home. Hiring a pro is more expensive then painting yourself and hiring a local pro will be cheaper than hiring one hundreds of miles away.
Similarly, painting a large house is more expensive than painting a smaller house. Additionally, taller homes are more expensive to paint. A four-story home that is 2,500 square feet may be twice as expensive to paint as a two-story home that is the same square footage. Painting from a ladder is much more difficult and time-consuming than painting on flat ground and therefore, drive your total cost up.
Prep work is another big factor in exterior painting costs. All exterior paint jobs must be prepped and cleaned before any work can begin. Oftentimes, professional painters will power wash a home exterior with hot water or pressure wash it with cold water. Removing dirt and buildup from the exterior surfaces will significantly improve the quality of your painting job. On average, prep work ranges between $474 and $690. As always, this part of the project can be done without a pro, but you must ensure you have the right equipment.
There are other influences that go into this overall price. While they do not affect the total cost as much as some of the previously stated factors, they do have an effect. These factors include:
- Type of paint
- Quality of paint
- Amount of paint
- Desired space
- Complexity of design
Paint Quality & Types
Unlike the interior of the home, paint outside the home has to stand up against the harshest of elements, such as rain, snow, heavy wind or even, a hurricane. Stronger paints, while more expensive, can hold up against these elements and require fewer coats.
As is the case with interior painting, paint type will come down to water-based or oil-based. Water-based paints are preferred, but oil-based paints may perform better under certain conditions. The pros of water-based paints include:
- Can expand and contract with the siding on a house
- Will not trap moisture
- Will not crack or peel
- Dry significantly faster than oil-based paints
Oil-based paints were very common years ago, but scientists found that oil-based paints contain volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. When some people are exposed to VOCs, they can experience dizziness, nausea, eye irritation, respiratory discomfort or asthma attacks. Given these health concerns, more DIYers and professional painters are going with the healthier, more eco-friendly alternative. Additionally, oil-based paints take as much as four times longer to dry than water-based.
Interior Painting Costs
Most painting projects occur inside the home. We all get tired of the same old look year after year and therefore, many active homeowners change their home’s feel with new paint. Whether you’re undertaking a small painting job or painting an entire room, many factors go into the overall price.
The average price to paint an interior room is $1,655. Much like exterior painting, this project can be done without a pro, but just know, a professional painter can most likely finish the job at a faster pace than the average DIYer.
Factors that Influence Total Painting Costs
Hiring A Pro, Location, Size & Quality of Paint
Hiring a pro, size, location and quality of paint will play the biggest roles in affecting the average price of painting an interior room. The bulk of the expense will be labor, accessibility and size of the space. Labor, accessibility and location only account for non-DIY projects, but size of the room and quality of paint will always be in play.
A single gallon of paint generally covers between 300 and 350 square feet. Just know, it’s rare that the cost of materials exceeds even 10% of the project.
Other factors that can decrease or increase the overall price are:
- Type of paint
- Amount of paint
- Desired space
- Complexity of design
Paint quality not only has a large effect on the overall price, but the look as well. As such, with most DIY painters painting walls or cabinets, you should go with a flat paint. While they are more expensive, flat paints contain minerals that roughen the surface, creating an even coat that hides flaws. Glossier paints, on the other hand, have fewer minerals and form a smoother, more durable finish. They do show imperfections that may or may not be good for your chosen design.
Note that low-sheen, eggshell, semi-gloss and gloss (enamels) paints are often used to paint kitchen and bathroom cabinets. All will affect the total price.
Ceiling Painting Costs
While many homeowners only paint their walls, some are taking their DIY skills up a notch and going after the ceiling. This job is not easy, but one homeowners can do. Nonetheless, if you do hire a professional painter, expect to pay between $242 and $412 for a 500-square-foot ceiling. A quality contractor should finish the job within five to six hours.
If you’re taking on your own painting project, there are certain tools all should have in their toolbox:
- Roller frame
- Roller cover with a one-half inch to one-inch nap
- Two-gallon bucket
- Rolling pole (especially if you’re painting the ceiling)
- Roller tray
- Extra foam brushes and rollers
- Safety goggles (regular swimming goggles will work just fine)
With all the right tools, it should take about an hour to put a single coat of paint on the walls of an average-sized bedroom. It will take another two to three hours for a coat of paint to dry in order to re-coat. Most rooms require two coats of paint, so it may take up to six hours to finish the average job.
To view the entire process, please see 13 Quick and Easy Interior Painting Tips.
With all the cost data you could want and more, you should be well prepared to take on or hire a professional painter for your painting project. If you prefer the latter, please head to our painting portal to find the right painter for your specific project.