House​ ​Painting​ ​Costs

Homeowners paint their home for two reasons-to beautify and to protect it. Painting a home is a serious investment that costs serious money. Several factors contribute to house painting costs. Some homeowners spend substantially more than average while others spend much less, depending on these factors.

Budgeting Considerations



When a painting contractor encounters difficulty accessing the exterior surfaces of the home, the cost of the project increases. A smaller home with accessibility issues can cost more to paint than a larger home without exterior obstructions. If a home has a steep roof, a large tree blocking access to the house, or an awning that needs to be broken down and removed temporarily, costs increase. Simply put, when a home is difficult to access, house painting costs increase due to additional labor required to prep the surfaces by removing the obstructions.


Size affects house painting costs. Typically, a project bid is determined based on two factors; the time the project will take to complete and how much paint and other materials (supplies) the job will require. A larger home requires more labor hours, more paint and additional supplies. For instance, a multi-level home requires safety harnesses and ladders.


Materials are necessary to paint a home. Ladders, fall protection, scrape and sanding equipment, a 5-in-1 painter’s tool, sealants, caulking and bonding material and drop cloths (Just to name a few) and of course, paint. Top quality paint increases house painting costs, and for good reason. Unlike cheaper lines of paint, higher quality paints and coatings protect the home from climate conditions. Top quality paints last longer on high traffic areas and have higher abrasion resistance as well as better color retention. The best paint brands render a longer lasting paint job, which will ultimately save the customer money. College Works Painting exclusively uses only the top tier grades of the Sherwin Williams brand. These include the company’s proprietary hues of EmeraldRejuvenation,

 Superpaint and Cashmere. Unlike many competitors, College Works does not use construction grade paint.


Before painting, workers must mask windows and cover vegetation with drop cloths. Other types of prep work which are common include sanding, scraping and priming. Additionally, cracks are repaired and windows are caulked. When budgeting for house painting costs, it is important to consider longevity. Adequate prep work improves paint adhesion. Also, some paint manufacturers will only warranty the paint if the home was washed prior to painting. Adequate prep work takes time and adds to labor costs. However, sufficient prep work contributes to a longer lasting paint job.


Painters approach each project differently based on the scope of required work. A home may require one coat of paint or it may require two. In extreme conditions, a home may require that the first coat of paint be replaced with a primer for greater durability. Instead of a second coat of paint, your contractor might recommend a cross-hatching technique, which takes about 30% less time and 30% less paint than a true two-coat process. While economical, this approach can result in less coverage and protection than two complete coats of paint. Painting technique affects the cost of materials and labor, and therefore affects house painting costs. It is important to discuss techniques and prices with your contractor at the time of the bid.


Color selection has the all-important ability to modify and enhance a home’s appearance. The right color scheme can truly make a dramatic visual difference. However, changing a home’s color can affect house painting costs. Drastic changes in hue and tones can require extra coats of paint, which mean extra labor costs. A design consultation prior to painting is strongly recommended so that you can make the best color selection possible.

House Painting Costs



Some neighbors have their homes painted at the same time. On occasion, they may receive different bids, even from the same contractor.
Some homeowners receive multiple bids that differ drastically in price.
Why? Scope of work. Don’t assume that the scope of work outlined for each bid aligns with each other.
Various components alter house painting costs.

Factors to consider when comparing bids:

  • Are the bids being compared made up of the same factors? Review the scope of work for each bid. Ensure the techniques which are quoted are the same for each property. House painting costs for various techniques can differ greatly. Also, compare paint. Are both bids for the same quality paint? Or, is one bid for a top quality acrylic paint while the other bid factored in the cost for a lower line of paint?
  • Are the homes the bids are for the same identical models? Two homes may appear the same (similar size and shape) but may have drastically different house painting costs.
  • What are the two homes being compared constructed of? The surface material of the home’s exterior affects house painting costs. For example, metal homes, stucco homes, and wood homes require different preparation. A house’s exterior layer also affects the paint and supplies purchased since different materials absorb paint differently. Therefore, each type of building material requires a different set of products.
  • What are the ages of the homes being compared? Two homes with similar size and accessibility which are not the same age will have varying house painting costs. An older home requires more prep work. It needs more scraping and sanding to remove the old, peeling paint. It might even need wood replacement. An older home built before 1978 would also incur more costs for OSHA required lead testing.
  • What are the conditions of the homes? Two homes can be similar in size, shape, accessibility, and age, and still have different house painting costs due to the conditions of the building structures. Climate and upkeep determine a home’s condition. Climate affects exterior paint. The amount of wind, moisture, and sun exposure affect paint, and over time, can cause paint failure. A home that has been poorly maintained without regular paint upkeep will require more prep work to repair damages. Prep work is time consuming and increases labor costs considerably. Experts recommend painting your home every five to seven years to keep house painting costs to a minimum.
  • Are you concerned about being scammed? There are numerous readily available resources help avoid scams. The Better Business Bureau encourages consumers to report scams by filling out a scam report on their website. To protect yourself from scams, review the “best practices” sections in the resources above and only hire contractors you trust.
  • Never use cash to pay a contractor. Home renovations are expensive and some homeowners prefer to pay in cash for various reasons. Sometimes, a homeowner can feel pressured to pay in cash in order to not delay payment. A contractor might even convince a consumer to pay cash upfront in exchange for a discount. Regardless of any reason you may be presented, do not pay with cash under any circumstances — not even to keep house painting costs to a minimum.
  • Ask questions. Require contractors to define their terms and clarify their scope of work. Asking questions will enable you to identify a scam. Determine exactly what you are and aren’t paying for by going through each item on a bid with the contractor. Is the shed included in the bid? Is back-rolling included? Is trenching included? (These items are not typically included). Eliminate assumptions by asking questions and getting answers. If the contractor cannot or will not answer your questions, choose a different contractor.


Special circumstances also affect house painting costs. When embarking on any home improvement project, it is advisable to expect the unexpected. This is especially true when working with older homes.

Budget considerations:

    • Change Orders. — At times, especially with older and unmaintained homes, an unforeseen expense may arise during painting. Prep work, such as power-washing, can expose problem areas. Hidden problem areas include wood rot, termite damage, or mold and mildew caused by water damage. These unexpected issues increase house painting costs. At the onset of the project, it is advisable to walk the property with the paint contractor to spot hidden problem areas early in order to avoid unforeseen costs.
    • Lead Based Paint. — Homes built during or before 1978 may have lead contamination. If you fall under this category and your home tests positive for lead, the cost to paint your home will increase.
    • The RRR Rule — In April of 2010 the EPA enacted the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP Rule). This rule was enacted to help protect homeowners and contractors from lead poisoning. The RRP Rule requires that painters and renovators take special precautions including but not limited to: wet sanding, dry scraping, limited use of power tools, no power washing, use of a special primer and use of disposable one millimeter-thick plastic sheets to surround the disturbed area.
Abiding by EPA lead safety practices keeps employees and homeowners safe from lead poisoning. However, the extra measures taken when dealing with a home that has tested positive for lead increases house painting costs.

      Read below for more information provided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency about lead-based paint and the importance of having an EPA lead certified contractor work on your home.


    • Why was lead added to paint? — Lead was added to paint for the purpose of color and durability. Lead was also added to some other surface coatings, such as varnishes and stains.
  • Lead-based paint was banned from residential use in 1978
    That year, the Consumer Products Safety Commission b banned the sale of lead-based paint for residential use. In practice, this means that homes built in 1978 could still have used lead-based paint because existing supplies of paint containing lead would have still been available. This is why the year a house was built is such an important consideration.
  • Small amounts of lead-contaminated dust can poison children and adults. A tiny amount of lead can be extremely harmful. Lead dust particles are often so small that you cannot see them, yet you can breathe or swallow them. These smaller, inhaled or swallowed dust particles are more easily absorbed by the body than larger particles and can therefore easily cause lead poisoning.
  • Lead dust may be breathed or swallowed by children, residents and workers. When workers perform activities such as scraping and sanding by hand, or use a power-sander or grinding tool, dust is created. That dust disperses into the air which they then breathe. If workers eat, drink, smoke or put anything into their mouths without washing first, they may swallow lead dust particles which have accumulated on their hands from the job site.
  • Lead dust particles can be harmful, even in small amounts. Plus, they are practically invisible — and very difficult to detect. A floor that appears to be clean can easily have lead dust on it. Only a laboratory test can determine for sure if an area is contaminated with lead.
  • Lead dust is not easy to remove. Normal cleaning methods will not pick up all the dust in a work area,and sweeping is definitely not enough. Water, detergent and a HEPA vacuum must all be used in order to effectively remove lead dust.
  • Lead dust travels. Once dust is released, it is easily spread around by foot traffic — inside and outside the work area. Plus, an exterior painting job can contaminate the inside of a home as the dust, chips and lead-saturated soil are tracked inside.
  • If your home was built before 1978, house painting costs increase because a mandatory lead test must be applied. If your home tests positive for lead, the cost to paint your home will increase substantially. Hire an EPA lead certified contractor who is trained and certified to work with lead-based paint. Mishandling disturbed lead-based paint can cause serious health complications.
  • Lead causes adverse health effects and lead dust is the mechanism through which the danger spreads. Further, lead poisoning is difficult to spot and the effects can be permanent. Children and pregnant women are most at risk for lead poisoning. The good news? Lead poisoning is preventable. For homes built before 1978, budget for extra house painting costs in the event that your home tests positive for lead.
House Painting




As a budget-minded homeowner, you may be wondering if you should hire a professional or paint the house yourself. You can make a sound decision by first assessing the benefits of both before planning your project. Price and time are key factors in this decision.

Consider how long painting will take you versus how long it will take a professional service. If you do not have an abundance of free time, it is best to hire a professional.

Consider how much money you may spend painting your house versus how much a professional company might charge.

Longevity is another factor to take into account. If your painting skills and knowledge are lacking, chances are the paint job will not last as long. This could result in greater costs overall, as you may encounter frequent need for future repairs.


Paint selection varies based on paint coverage and paint quality. Certain types of paint are used in different situations based on the size of the job and the composition of the material being painted. Depending on the condition and geographic location of the home, application of basic coverage and quality standards may suffice. Sometimes, however, the job may call for a more enhanced coverage and quality protocol using paint with a stronger acrylic base.

  • Basic coverage paint and quality costs: The retail paint cost for a basic coverage and quality averages to approximately $42.00 per gallon.
  • Enhanced coverage paint and quality costs: The retail paint cost for a more enhanced coverage can cost a minimum of $70.00 per gallon.
  • Guarantees. Paint manufactures, such as Sherwin Williams will often include a manufacturer’s warranty. The warranties vary from a 15-year, 25-year, and lifetime manufacturer’s warranty. The manufacturer’s warranty will increase the cost of paint per gallon, respectively. For enhanced coverage paint with a manufacturer’s warranty, you can spend up to $120.00 per gallon.
  • Warnings with guarantees:
    • Terms: Most manufacturers will only guarantee the paint if proper prep work was performed before painting.
    • Manufacturer vs. contractor warranties: It is important to not confuse the manufacturer’s warranty with the contractor’s warranty. Paint purchased with a 15-year manufacturer’s warranty is for the paint product only. The work the contractor performs is not covered under the 15-year manufacturer’s warranty, even if the paint was purchased through the contractor. Typically, a contractor will offer a one- to five-year warranty on the work performed. The 15-year manufacturer warranty is for the paint product only.


The color and texture of the paint you choose can and will alter your home’s appearance. A professional with an objective viewpoint can help you decide which hues and colors to choose for optimal aesthetic results.


Next, you will need to determine how much paint to purchase. A professional painting contractor has the training and expertise to determine exactly how much paint a project will require. This level of precision helps keep paint costs to a minimum. Unused paint which is left over is essentially a waste of money. Obtaining the precise amount of paint also avoids the time expenditure of having to make multiple trips to the store for extra paint.

On average, one gallon of paint should cover 200 square feet for a one-coat application. For two coats of paint, one gallon should cover 100 square feet. For DIY projects, use a paint calculator to ensure you purchase the correct amount of paint. By taking basic measurements, you can determine how much paint to purchase.


Siding is based on square footage which is calculated by multiplying an area’s length times its height. If you are estimating, five steps equal 15 feet because one pace equals three feet (approximately). Five paces times three feet per pace equals 15 feet. For a one story house, each story is ten feet. A two story house, then, would be 20 feet high. Fifteen feet long times 10 feet high equals 150 square feet.

To avoid over-purchasing, only purchase half the amount of paint needed initially. Then, when you’re nearly out of paint, measure the unpainted square footage to determine how many more gallons are needed.


Professional painting contractors purchase paint and supplies in bulk, and they do so on a regular basis. Frequency of purchases is determined by the size of the company. Additionally, various supplies such as power washers and ladders can be used for multiple jobs. For these reasons, paint and supply purchases cost less for a professional painting contractor.

To keep DIY supply costs to a minimum, compare prices before purchasing. Compare the prices at your local hardware store to those at a bix box home improvement store. Also, shipping costs should be taken into consideration. Retail stores such as The Home Depot and Lowes often ship for free or allow you to order online and pick up at the company’s nearest store.


Do you have helpers?

  • How many reliable people will help you?
  • How efficient are you and your team?
  • Will helpers with little to no experience slow you down?

How many daytime hours do you have available?

  • Can you work on the project without interruption?
  • Will you work on the project after your day job?
  • How many hours per day can you paint before the sun sets?

Will the weather be in your favor?

  • What time of year are you painting?
  • Will the weather cause painting delays and interrupt your painting schedule? This could be problematic for those who took time off of work to paint.


An increase in property value benefits all homeowners including future residents, sellers and neighbors. First impressions always correlate to the value of your home. The front of your home is the first thing people see, so don’t underestimate the importance of curb appeal. The appearance of your home is so critical, that even a poorly managed front yard can result in a decrease in value.

The condition of your home directly affects its value. When selling your home, real estate agents suggest improving the condition of the paint in order to get the largest return on your investment. Exterior improvements, such as painting and updating the front entry, have an average return at resale of 95.5%.

It is an irrefutable fact that an exterior paint job boosts curb appeal. An exterior paint job offers great results with little investment in comparison to the return. Whatever it costs to paint your home, in the end it’s always worth it.