How Much Does it Cost to Paint the Exterior of a House?
$2,800 – $4,800, for 1,600 SF House
Estimated Cost To Paint the Outside of a House
$950 – $1,860
Average Cost Estimate
$3,100 – $4,900
$4,850 – $6,950
|Home Size||1400 – 1800||1400 – 1800||1400 – 1800|
|Cost Per Square Foot||.95 cents /sqft||$2.10 / sqft||$3.25 / sqft|
|Exterior Condition||Good / Average||Average / Fair||Average / Poor|
|Primer / Surface Prep||Minimal||Average||Average / Extensive|
|Coats of Paint Applied||1 – 2||2 – 3||2 – 3|
|Number of Floors / Stories||1||1 – 2||1 – 2|
|Paint Quality||Good / Average||Average / Better||Average / High|
|DIY or Pro||DIY||Pro||Pro|
|Additional Tools / Supplies||$0 – $550||None / Provided||None / Provided|
|Permit & Inspection||$0||$0||$0|
Overview of Exterior House Painting
Painting a home’s exterior is a fast, affordable way to dramatically change its appearance. Paint can be applied to almost any siding, so it’s a versatile option too. On wood and fiber cement siding, paint is more than just aesthetic. It also protects the siding from moisture damage. The downside of painting is that it must be repeated every three to ten years depending on climatic conditions where you live and the type of siding beneath. The upside is that it really freshens up a home and gives you the opportunity to change its look more frequently than with other exterior options.
This page of Costimates brings together the total cost to paint a house including materials and the labor required to prep it and apply exterior house paint. Important factors that affect exterior painting cost are listed to help you determine where on our spectrum your price will fall. To improve the accuracy of your exterior house painting estimate, we check and compare costs from other online estimating services. We also include submissions from homeowners around the country on their total cost, for you to compare.
Note on homes built before 1978: Lead paint application was outlawed in 1978. If your home was built before 1978 and needs significant scraping prior to repainting, lead abatement might be required. A widely quoted cost from the US EPA is $8-$15 per square foot for lead abatement which shows just how expensive this can be. Those costs are not included in this estimate of exterior painting costs.
Exterior Paint Cost Details
Paint Cost Factors
The size of your home and its condition are the two key factors in exterior painting costs. Others on the list have less impact:
- Size of Home – The more square feet of exterior wall your home has, including high gables beneath steeply pitched roofs, the more paint and labor will be required, so costs will be higher.
- Condition of Exterior – Siding in excellent condition just needs washing before painting. When the siding isn’t perfect, issues must be addressed first. Loose paint must be scraped off, wood repaired or replaced, caulking of all seams, stucco patched or mortar between bricks replaced. Pre-painting repairs can drive up project cost by 25% to 100% or more in some extreme cases.
- Primer and Prep – A Connecticut painting contractor sums up priming: “Not all surfaces need to be primed, but stucco and bare wood typically should be. Whether or not priming is needed depends upon the type of product your topcoat is. This is the type of question best answered by a professional.” Getting this step right can be the difference between a paint job that lasts 12+ years and one that begins to fail in just a few years.
- Paint Quality and Number of Coats – The best practice is to use high-quality paint to reduce the number of coats and the labor required. However, when painting over a dark color with a lighter tone, a second coat (In addition to a primer cost) might be needed even when applying premium house paint.
- Accessibility – A single-story home is easier, and therefore more affordable, to paint than a multi-story home.
Cost of Supplies
Here are costs for DIY jobs. You might not use all supplies and tools listed. The list also gives you an idea of the paint and supply costs that form part of any house painting quotes you get from pros.
- $85 – $165 | 8′-10’ aluminum or fiberglass step ladder for first-story painting.
- $160 – $270 | 24’ aluminum or fiberglass extension ladder for second-story and above access.
- $125-$300 | Power washing the siding (not recommended for soft wood, because the jet of water might etch the wood or force water behind the planks where it will cause rot and mold).
- $25-$40 | Supplies including trisodium phosphate (TSP), a stiff brush and bucket for hand-washing wood siding instead of power washing it.
- $40-$100 | Average cost of miscellaneous supplies including wood scraper, wood filler, sand paper, caulk and caulk gun pre-paint preparation of the siding and window/door frames.
- $30-$75 | Brushes, rollers, roller covers and pans for painting by hand.
- $60-$175 | Homeowner-grade exterior primer and paint sprayer.
- $100 per day to $450 per week | Rental of pro-quality paint sprayer
- $25 per gallon average (If priming first) | Primer cost – Count on about 325 square feet of coverage per gallon. That’s about $0.08 (8 cents) per square foot. Primer and paint cost less per gallon when purchased in 5-gallon containers.
- $30 per gallon average | Exterior paint cost (325 square feet per gallon coverage, or about 9.5 cents per square foot). If priming the entire home, using a product that includes primer and paint in one step can reduce your total supplies cost.
- Totals: Expect your total supplies and tools budget to be $0.40-$0.60 (40-60 cents) per square foot of painted surface.
Note: These costs cover average repairs and preparation plus painting the house. Significant house repairs such as replacing siding boards or panels before painting are a separate expense.
Permits, Inspection, Related Costs and Installation Time
Permits and Inspection Cost
- $0 | Since painting a home is a non-structural alteration, no permit is needed
While you don’t need a permit from your city or county, do you need permission from your homeowner’s association? If you’re in an HOA, check its bylaws about paint colors and schemes. Some can be quite particular, and neglecting the bylaws can lead to legal trouble or the need to repaint part or all your home.
Related Costs and Installation Time
So far, our exterior painting costs have covered supplies and tools. Let’s consider estimated labor costs for those that plan to hire a paint contractor for the work.
- $1.15-$2.25 per square foot | Labor cost to paint home exterior siding
Cost will be on the lower end of the range when less preparation and repair is needed. They’ll be on the higher end for small homes and when more prep and repair is needed.
Exterior House Painting Time Schedule
If the siding needs a lot of scraping, wood filling, cleaning and caulk replacement, the prep time might be as long as the paint time. Here’s an idea of the timeframe you can expect for a crew of 2 or 3 people.
- ½-day to two days: Scraping, filling, patching, caulking, if needed
- ½-day: House washing, if needed, possibly followed by a day or two to allow the siding to dry
- 1-2 days: Priming, if done separately, plus dry time overnight
- 1-2 days per coat: Painting
DIY or Hire a Pro to Paint Your Home?
Painting is a project that many homeowners may be able to do on their own. Aside from basic skills, the hardest thing about painting your own house is the prepwork, standing on ladders, and getting the tools to do the job right. If you’re a handy homeowner who owns a single story home, this is not a hard project. That stated, there are some downsides to DIY exterior painting .
- It’s not a quick job – expect to take several full days to complete.
- Prep work and painting is a messy job from beginning to end.
- Requires a lot of time on a ladder. If you are weary about heights, this is not for you.
I have painted my own home once. Our current home has wooden shake siding and I will never do it again. 🙂 I’ll hire a painting contractor every time due to the speed they get it done, the advice on colors and durability, as well as the quality of the finished product.
Compare Costs from Around the Web
In order to give you a fair comparison of costs, we found these other places around the web who share estimates as well.
|Costimates||$2 / sqft||$2,800 – $3,600 (1600sf)|
|HomeAdvisor||$2 / sqft||$1,700 – $3,900|
|PaintersChoice||$1.50 – $2.10 / sqft||$1,800 – $2,500|
|FixR||$1.60 – $2.30||$2,500 to $3,500 (1500sf)|
|Suggest a Cost Comparison from Another Website|