The cost of owning a home involves more than your monthly mortgage payments and the premiums of your homeowners insurance policy. You’ll also need to think about the necessary expenses to keep your home looking good. Painting is a key part of that, which leads to a logical question: How much does it cost to paint a house?
The national average for an interior house painting job is just over $1,900 (between $2 to $6 per square foot), according to HomeAdvisor, while the national average for an exterior painting job is just over $3,000 (between $0.50 and $3.50 per square foot). However, painting expenses can be as wide-ranging as the walls they cover.
“The cost per square foot and the type of paint that should be used varies greatly depending on the size of the job, condition, surface being painted and location,” explains Alison Bruce, senior marketing manager at PPG, a leading international paint and stain manufacturer.
What affects the cost to paint a house?
To understand how much it will cost to paint your house, start with the materials. According to HomeAdvisor, one gallon of paint can cost between $25 and $50, with some high-end brands costing $100 or more. One gallon will cover approximately 350 square feet.
Then, there’s the person painting. Labor costs make up the bulk of a paint job: Expect to pay between 70% to 85% of your total cost for their services.
Finally, as with most home improvement jobs, there’s your geographic location, and the differences in what goods and services cost there. For example, Homewyse estimates the total price tag (supplies, labor, and other costs) for painting the exterior of a 1,500-square-foot home in New York City as high as $7,410 ($4.94 per square foot) versus a maximum $5,419 ($3.61 per square foot) for one in Indianapolis.
James Michelli, a Louisiana-based sales representative for Sherwin-Williams, adds that the type of home and detail involved in the job also affect the cost. “For a basic spec home, price per square foot is around $2.75-$3 in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, area,” he says. However, “large custom homes with lots of crown and detail can range from $5-$7 per square foot.”
Calculating the cost to paint a house
In general, exterior paint jobs cost more than interior paint jobs. Part of that is the paint itself: Paints recommended for the outside of the house can cost up to 25% more per gallon than paints for the inside.
Cost to paint a house exterior
The average cost to paint a house exterior ranges from $1,900 to $6,900, according to HomeGuide dataThe square footage of the paintable area is one of the determining factors.
For instance, a 1,500 square feet house with a paintable size of 1,200 square feet could cost between $1,200 and $4,800. But a 3,000 square foot home with 2,500 square feet of paintable area could be between $2,500 and $10,000. A 5,000 square foot home with a paintable area of 4,200 could run you as much as $16,000.
Different types of siding can also have a sizable impact on your final bill. Here’s a breakdown on the price ranges of a property between 1,500 and 2,000 square feet:
Cost to paint a house interior
The cost to paint a house interior varies by square footage, number of rooms, room type, room size and if ceilings, trim and texture are included. The average cost to paint the house interior, according to HomeGuide, is $1,200 to $3,900.
Adding texture will tack on $0.50 to $1 per square foot while ceilings will add on $1 to $2 per square foot. If you want the trim painted, expect to pay an additional $1 to $4 per linear foot.
Here’s a simple rule for budgeting for your interior painting supplies: The glossier you go, the more you’ll spend on the product. The brand will also impact how much you pay. For example, a gallon of Valspar flat will run between $15 to $55 while Benjamin Moore will cost anywhere from $43 to $80. Glidden satin paint will cost between $23 and $29 per gallon, but that same gallon from Behr will be $31 to $45.
Bear in mind that professional painters can save you as much as 50% off the sticker price, if you buy through them.
How often should you repaint your house?
You might lock in your mortgage term for 30 years, but you can expect your painting needs to pop up more often.
“Generally, a homeowner should expect to repaint their home every seven years on the exterior. The interior of the home may be able to go 10-plus years if a high-quality paint is used,” explains Tom Ashley, Jr., president of Louisiana-based home contractor Expand Inc. and 2020 chair of the National Association of Home Builders Remodelers Council.
The exterior material of your home, the type and quality of the paint you use and the weather all factor into how often you should repaint its exterior. The sun can cause paint to degrade faster, especially when you go with a cheaper quality paint. Flaking, peeling, bubbling, fading and color change are good indicators that it’s time to repaint your home.
How to save on house painting costs
- Invest upfront. While it may be tempting to cut costs with cheaper paint, springing for a better brand can save you money in the long run. “If a high-quality paint is used from the beginning, they are generally more washable and look better longer,” Ashley says. “Therefore, the homeowner should not have to paint as soon.”
- Keep it clean. Bruce says that it’s “important to properly care for and clean the walls in your space to keep the paint looking fresh.” However, she warns that some cleaning solutions can wind up creating bigger challenges. “Abrasive cleaners and sponges, like a Magic Eraser, remove paint and can leave a visible shiny spot behind,” she says.
- Shop around. You compared different mortgage lenders to find the best offer to finance your home. Apply that same competitive attitude when you’re ready to give it a new look. You’re not just looking for the lowest price, though; you’re looking for the crew that will do the best job.
- Do it yourself. If you don’t like any of the quotes you get, but do like spending time on a ladder, you can consider handling your painting needs on your own. HomeAdvisor estimates a DIY exterior painting job will run you between $400 and $1,800, plus under $300 worth of brushes, drop cloths and other supplies. For the interior, HomeAdvisor estimates you can pick up the paint and supplies you’ll need for one room for somewhere between $200 and $300.
- Do it all at once. If you have an especially large home that requires extra attention to detail, you may be able to save by engaging the same painter to do both interior and exterior at the same time. For example, using designer paints for the interior of a three-story, 3,000-square-foot home with tall ceilings, your bill could be $10,000. Painting the exterior at the same time could tack on as much as $10,000 more. Though $20,000 can seem high to pay for painting, remember that exterior jobs usually cost more, so you’re actually saving money (as well as time) here.
How to pay house painting costs
If the cost of painting your home is too expensive for you to stomach, you can consider taking out a personal loan. These can be used for a range of home improvement needs. While you will pay interest, you can avoid watching your savings account dry up while the paint dries.
You could also consider a home equity loan to help manage the costs of dressing up your property. Just be sure to understand if borrowing against your home is a smart move first. The type of loan, the interest rate you get and your capacity to repay can help you determine whether a home equity loan is the best way to finance a house painting job.