How much does it Cost to Paint a House?

It’s that time of year again when nice weather stimulates the urge to work outdoors and make home improvements. Among the most popular summertime projects that homeowners complete, house painting provides numerous benefits. Painting the exterior of the house provides protection from weather damage while increasing the value and curb appeal of the home.

National Average Cost of Painting a House Exterior

Whatever reason the homeowners have for painting their houses, they will need to know how much it costs to complete the project. According to various home improvement cost estimator websites, the 2013 national average cost ranges from $2,000 to $8,700, if hiring a professional housepainter. The average amount spent is $2,893. The size and height of the home, as well as the type of its building materials, will greatly affect the total price. The amount of prep work, ornate details, trim work, doors and window sashes will also affect the cost. Additionally, using multiple colors will raise the prices.

However, homeowners can save quite a bit of money by investing their own time and doing the labor themselves. This is because 75%-80% of the cost of hiring a professional housepainter is for covering labor. The average homeowner spends around a thousand dollars when doing the exterior house painting as a DIY project. Yet, the homeowner should be aware that some house painting projects might take several weeks to complete. The homeowner must also consider the amount and type of labor the project entails. It may require hours of standing on scaffolding, reaching above one’s head, as well as repetitive motions. It will also entail breathing in paint fumes. The DIY homeowner will also have to have certain skills, tools and supplies. Nonetheless, it may be worth the investment to acquire these tools, skills and equipment since most houses need a new paint job every four to seven years.

Breakdown of Typical Costs for DIYers

DIYers can expect to pay $10-$15 per gallon of primer. They can also expect to pay $20-$50 per gallon for regular exterior paint and $50-$100 per gallon for premium paint. It typically takes one gallon of each to cover a 400-sq.ft area. Thus, the average house will require 6-12 gallons each of primer and paint, unless the paint has primer as one of its components. The majority of homes typically need two coats of latex paint.


The homeowner will also need:

  • Pressure Washer – This is used to remove dirt, mold, mildew, and lose paint. It can be purchased for under $300 or rented by the day for $50-$70.
  • Paint Sprayer – Speeds up the painting process and saves wear and tear on arms and hands. This can be rented for around $70 per day. It’s a good idea to have all the prep work and taping/coverage of non-painted areas done prior to renting the sprayer.
  • Scaffolding – Makes it easier to reach high places and a base set can be rented for $15-$50 per day.

Other equipment and supplies that might be needed include drop cloths, a sander, various sizes of masking tape, and a putty knife. A heat gun, a metal brush, various sizes of paintbrushes, a safety mask, paint thinner and clean up cloths may also be required. It may also be necessary to make some repairs prior to painting the exterior, such as replacing damaged wood. Some special safety precautions may have to be taken if the home’s current coat of paint has been applied prior to 1980, since the old paint could contain lead.

Money-saving Tips

Whether doing the project as a DIYer or hiring a contractor, you can save money by comparison shopping. Get at least three or more estimates from professional housepainters. If using a contractor, make sure to check out all the references and reputations. Also, verify the contractors’ licenses and insurance coverage. If possible, do the house painting projects during the contractors’ off-season, which is usually early spring. This makes the contractors more willing to negotiate prices. Moreover, the tools and supplies are usually being sold or rented at reduced prices.
Another way to save money is to borrow equipment and supplies rather than purchasing or renting them as much as possible. Most of the items, such as paintbrushes, paint scrapers, putty knives, and sanders are commonly found in the garages of friends, neighbors and relatives. Moreover, avail yourself of the expertise of others by visiting home improvement websites and/or your local home improvement stores. Getting expert advice can help you determine exactly what tools and supplies will be needed for your specific project. This knowledge can ensure you do not buy too little, too much, or the wrong type of equipment and supplies.



Penny Vincent

Author: Penny Vincent

Penny Vincent has been a professional writer for 3 years. She joined TheHousingForum Team in January, 2009. Penny enjoys spending time with family and friends, managing two small, home-based businesses, and sharing her vast knowledge with others.

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