How Much Does it Cost to Paint a House Exterior?

Dena Nejad 7/11/2019 Homeowners

It’s time to give your house exterior a fresh new look and paint color, but what exactly will that cost you?

There’s a short and long answer to that. Here’s the short one first. According to Home Advisor, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,700 to just under $4,000 to paint a house exterior. The average across the nation is about $2,500.

Now here’s the long answer: every house is different, so what you pay to paint your house exterior will depend on many different factors. To begin with, the cost of painting a home varies considerably across the country, as it does for all kinds of exterior home improvement projects. The average cost nationwide may not look anything like the actual cost in your area.

The best way to get a sense of pricing is to contact several painting companies for a quote. Because every home is unique, so is every paint job. A coastal home that sits on 15-foot stilts is very different from a Victorian home in a dense city neighborhood. Your home may have features that require extra care, or hard-to-reach spots that make it more challenging to paint. All of these things are factored into the final cost of painting a house.

Factors that go into the cost of painting a house

Here’s everything a painter will consider when calculating the cost to paint a house:

Cost of labor. Painting a house isn’t just about dipping the rollers into some paint. A quality job requires quality prep work. First, you or your painter will need to power wash the exterior to remove dirt, residue, and chipped paint. Next, any broken siding, trim, fascia, or soffit will need to be repaired, and any holes will need to be caulked. Loose paint will need to be stripped or scraped away, and siding may also need to be sanded. Because labor is really the biggest expense for an exterior paint job, you can save money by doing much of the prep work yourself. That can be as simple as trimming nearby shrubs or moving outdoor furniture out of the way.

Home size. You may pay as little as $1,000 to paint a 500-square-foot single story home, or as much as $6,000+ to cover a three story, 6,000-square-foot home, according to Home Advisor. The amount of coverage you’ll need—plus how high the painters will need to climb—will determine the final cost to paint your house exterior.

Type of siding. Some types of home siding need more care—or simply more paint!—than others. For example, concrete siding needs special treatment before painting, and metal siding may require anything from a light cleaning to a repair of rusty areas. If you have stucco siding, you will need to clean it and fill in any cracks. Its unique texture also means it’s more expensive to paint, and you’ll need to choose a quality paint that doesn’t peel or chip away. And yes, both stucco and wood have a rougher texture that will require more paint. Vinyl, on the other hand, is one of the quickest and easiest types of siding to paint. The type of siding you have will influence the final cost to paint your house.

Quantity of paint. The cost of paint can add up. As a rule of thumb, you’ll need about a gallon of paint to cover 350 square feet. Here’s how to figure out exactly how much paint you’ll need for the project.

  • Measure the area you’ll need to paint. Let’s say it’s 1,000 square feet.
  • Account for extra paint needs. Add 10-20% to that number if you have siding that requires more paint, like wood and stucco. That bumps the square footage up to 1,200.
  • Calculate how many gallons you’ll need. Because a gallon of paint will cover 350 square feet, divide 1,200 by 350 to get 3.4 gallons.
  • Don’t forget a second coat. You’ll need to apply a second coat, so double that number. 3.4 gallons x 2 = 6.8. Rounding up, you can see that this project calls for 7 gallons of paint.

Type of paint. The quality and color of the paint will influence the final cost to paint a house. For example, a higher-quality paint will cost more up front, but because it provides great coverage and lasts so much longer you won’t need to repaint it as soon. Color also matters. For example, you may be able to get away with just one coat of paint if you’re freshening up an existing color. But if you’re trying a bold shade, you may need an extra two or three coats to get good coverage!

Additional features. The cost of painting your home increases based on the number of extra features you’d also like painted: things like doors, gutters, porches, and shutters. Some painters will roll these things into the overall package, while others will add them to the project fee. Thinking about the exterior design of your home will be a factor.

So how much does it cost to paint a house? We hope you’ve found this “long answer” helpful. Remember that it can be tricky to use nationwide averages or formulas when calculating how much it costs to paint a house. While your best bet is to contact painting companies for a quote, at least you now have a frame of reference for what this type of project may involve.

Dena Nejad
Dena is the Director of Marketing at HOVER. She is an engineer turned marketer who has spent 8+ years of her career introducing new technology to the construction industry.

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