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What Is the Cost to Paint a House Exterior? (2022 Guide)

An outdoor paint job can give your home a fresh look, but you’ll need to make sure it’s within your budget. Here’s how much you can expect it will cost to paint your house’s exterior.

A man on a roof painting a house exterior iStock

In this article: Cost by Square Footage | Cost by Siding | Factors Affecting Cost | DIY vs. Professional | Our Conclusion | FAQs

If your home’s exterior paint is cracking, chipping, or peeling—or just an outdated color—it may be time for a fresh coat of paint. Many homeowners appreciate the curb appeal and new look that an exterior paint job can provide their dwelling but wonder if it’s an affordable choice.

The average cost to paint the exterior of a 2,000-square-foot home is about $5,200, but that number rises to the $5,000–$12,000 cost range for a three-story house. Regardless of the number of stories or the square footage of your home, average outdoor painting prices break down to $1–$4 per square foot. We’ll explain the factors that determine how expensive exterior painting is, give example costs, and examine the pros and cons of painting your home’s exterior yourself.

Cost to Paint House Exterior by Square Foot

As you might expect, the most significant factor that determines exterior house painting cost is the size of the house. A larger house means more surface area, though houses with the same square footage might have different amounts of exterior surface to paint due to windows, doors, and other features.

Average Exterior Painting Cost by Square Footage

The table below shows the average total cost to paint a home based on square footage.

Cost

Home Square Footage Total Cost (Including Labor)
Home Square Footage Total Cost (Including Labor)
800 $800–$3,200
1,000 $1,000–$4,000
1,200 $1,200–$4,800
1,500 $1,500–$6,000
1,800 $1,800–$7,200
2,000 $2,000–$8,000
2,500 $2,500–$10,000
3,000 $3,000–$12,000

Cost to Paint House Exterior by Number of Stories

The number of stories plays into the painting cost due to increased surface area and higher labor costs. Accessibility and safety can become issues when house painters need to use taller ladders or scaffolding. More time is needed to complete the job for a home with multiple stories.

Average Exterior Painting Cost by Number of Stories

The table below shows the average total cost to paint a home based on how many stories the house is.

Cost

Number of Stories Total Cost (Including Labor)
Number of Stories Total Cost (Including Labor)
One $1,000–$6,000
Two $3,500–$8,000
Three $5,000–$12,000

Cost to Paint House Exterior by Siding

The material that covers the exterior of a house may also play into the cost to paint it, since some types of siding material require more prep work, more coverage, or specialized types of paint. Wood siding and vinyl siding take paint easily and may come pre-primed, so they’re on the cheaper end of the spectrum.

Some types of metal siding and brick may be easy to paint, but they can also be more expensive depending on the finish and number of coats needed. A home with stucco exterior can also be more expensive to paint because its texture requires extensive preparation and extra materials and labor for the same coverage.

Average Exterior Painting Cost by Siding Type

The table below shows the average cost per foot to paint a home based on the type of siding it has.

Cost

Type Cost by Square Foot
Type Cost by Square Foot
Aluminum or metal $1–$4
Brick $2.50–$5
Concrete $1–$3
Exterior Foundation $1–$4
Stucco $3–$5.50
Vinyl $1–$2.50
Wood $1–$3

Cost to Paint House Exterior by Project Type

Of course, the exterior of a home is more than just walls. Even if the outside walls still look good, you can refresh the curb appeal of your home by painting trim, shutters, and exterior doors. Some professional painters will charge by square or linear foot for these features, and others may offer per-project painting prices.

Average Exterior Painting Cost by Project

The table below shows the average cost to paint specific parts of your house.

Cost

Project Area Cost
Project Area Cost
Deck $2–$4 per square foot
Detached Garage $500–$3,000
Downspouts $1–$6 per linear foot
Exterior Door $100–$400 per door
Eaves $3–$5.50 per square foot
Fascias and Soffits $3–$5.50 per linear foot
Gutters $1–$6 per linear foot
Porch $2–$4 per square foot
Shutters $40–$80 per shutter
Siding $1–$5 per square foot
Trim $1–$4 per linear foot

Labor Cost

When it comes to professional exterior painting jobs, often 70% to 80% of the total cost goes toward labor. The process of painting a house also entails gathering materials, preparing and repairing the walls, caulking any gaps, sanding the old paint, priming, painting two coats, and cleaning up the worksite.

Some painters charge cheap hourly rates, with pricing as low as $20 an hour. Though these discounted rates can be appealing, be wary of these offers. There is no licensing required in the residential painting field in most areas, so almost anyone can call themselves a painting contractor. More experienced technicians usually charge $40–$80 per hour per painter.

Factors Affecting Cost

The price of paint is actually a lesser factor in the total cost of an exterior painting job. The average single-story home can be completely covered with two coats by using three gallons of paint. That means you won’t save much money by going for inexpensive, low-quality paint. Usually, it’s a good idea to opt for the highest quality your budget will allow. Better paint will stay visually appealing for longer, increasing the amount of time between paint jobs.

Type of Paint

Exterior paint can be classified into three categories: latex, acrylic, and oil-based. Oil-based paints are a little more expensive than the other two varieties. Keep in mind that you should choose your paint based on the surface, not the price.

Latex

Latex paint is water-based, making it the least toxic and easiest to clean. It also spreads very easily and dries quickly, making it ideal for large surfaces like exterior walls. Latex paints are also very popular because of their low cost and high availability. The paint is also exceptionally durable, thanks to its ability to expand and contract with the material underneath it. Latex paint sells for $20–$70 per gallon and is often available in five-gallon buckets for larger painting projects.

Acrylic

Some acrylic paint is water-based and may be called latex acrylic paint. Other times, acrylic paint has a blend of chemicals as a solvent. This makes it even more flexible and elastic than latex paint, also making it more weatherproof. However, it’s not quite as spreadable or quick-drying as latex paint. The price for latex and acrylic is quite comparable, with both options costing $20–$70 per gallon.

Oil

Oil-based paints are less common because they have a strong odor and release hazardous compounds when wet. They’re safer to use outside than inside, and many homeowners find that they dry harder than water-based paints. Unfortunately, this also means they’re more prone to cracking and fading and more difficult to clean. Oil-based paints usually cost $30–$90 per gallon and are best used on trim, doors, and smaller details.

Type of Finish

Paints can also be classified by their finish or sheen. In general, the shinier a paint dries, the more expensive it is, though the price difference isn’t large. Additionally, not all finishes are well-suited to outdoor painting. Here are the costs and suitabilities of common paint types for outdoor projects:

  • Flat: Flat or matte paint is glossy and spreadable, but this paint type is generally the least durable. It’s easily damaged by cleaning products or power washing. Flat paint tends to cost $20–$40 a gallon.
  • Eggshell: This paint type is the most popular choice for exterior walls due to its balance of coverage and durability with a slight shine. It’s less prone to chipping than matte paint and gives a more smooth appearance than satin paint. Eggshell finish paint costs $30–$60 a gallon.
  • Satin: Satin finish paint is slightly glossier than an eggshell finish paint. For this paint type, you can expect to pay $30–$60 per gallon.
  • Semi-gloss: Look to this paint type for a visible shine and stain resistance. The higher shine draws attention to flaws or dents, but it stands up well to cleaning, making it the exterior paint of choice for dusty or muddy properties. Semi-gloss paint typically costs $40–$80 per gallon.
  • High-gloss: The most reflective type of house paint, high-gloss dries with a hard exterior and is very durable, but it’s best for small coverage areas. Its water-resistant properties make it a good choice for trim, windows, and doors. High-gloss is usually $50–$90 per gallon.

Brand of Paint

The brand of the paint you choose can have a minor effect on pricing, though it affects your cost much less than your paint’s finish and type. However, some brands do tend to be cheaper than others if you’re looking to cut costs.

Budget brands like Benjamin Moore, Glidden, or Behr are widely available at home improvement stores. Their paint tends to cost between $20 and $50 a gallon, depending on the type of paint and the finish. Brands like Valspar, PPG, and Sherwin-Williams cost a little more than budget brands, usually between $35 and $75 a gallon.

Additional Cost Considerations

If the exterior of your home is particularly dirty or damaged, be aware that repairing or cleaning it can double the time and labor needed to paint it. You shouldn’t need a permit to repaint your home, but you might if you change the siding. Keep in mind that if you’re making a significant change to paint colors—like a dark color to a light shade or vice versa—you’ll likely require more coats of paint. Additionally, if you’re unsure what exterior paint color to choose, you might want to meet with a painting company color consultant.

DIY Costs

If you do the job yourself, you’ll need the proper supplies. This can incur costs beyond just the price of paint. Here are common cost estimates for painting materials you may need:

  • Brushes: $3–$20
  • Drop cloth: $5–$30
  • Ladder: $80–$300
  • Paint trays: $3–$5
  • Painter’s tape: $3–$10
  • Primer: $20–$40 per gallon
  • Rollers: $10–$20
  • Sandpaper: $5–$30
  • Scraper: $5–$20

You can also rent a paint sprayer for $30–$50 per day, but detail work and wall edges will likely still require some brushes or rollers.

DIY vs. Professional Exterior House Painting

While an exterior paint job is a project you can do yourself, it’s often more of an undertaking than most homeowners realize. A streaky or uneven paint job can reduce the curb appeal of a house, so many homeowners choose to hire professional, experienced painters. Here are some considerations that can help you make that choice.

DIY Pros and Cons

✔ You’ll only have to pay for materials, not labor.

✔ Since you’re the one holding the brush, you have more control over the ultimate appearance of your home.

✔ Exterior painting is less disruptive to everyday life than interior painting, making it easier to take your time.

✘ Your process will take longer than a professional would.

✘ Any prepping, repairing, and cleaning is up to you.

Professional Pros and Cons

✔ A professional painter will give you the best results.

✔ The job will be completed more quickly than a DIY project.

✔ You will leave the ladders and potential risks to the professionals, keeping yourself safe from possible falls and accidents.

✘ The cost will be higher than any DIY option.

✘ You will need to read reviews or ask your family and friends to find a trustworthy contractor.

How to Save on Exterior House Painting Costs

Whether you choose a DIY approach or leave the painting to the experts, there are some ways to save on exterior painting costs:

  • Shop for multiple quotes to ensure you are getting the best rate from professional companies.
  • Do the prep work yourself, such as trimming nearby trees and shrubs, sanding the surfaces to be painted, and removing any shutters, doorknobs, or other items.
  • Be proactive, scheduling repainting before the exterior is in disrepair to reduce labor.
  • Choose a lighter color to avoid fading in the sun, which will decrease how often you’ll need to repaint.

With these tips in mind, you may be able to save more on painting than you think.

Our Conclusion

Although you can paint your home exterior yourself, it’s usually a good idea to hire a professional. Experienced painters will create a more consistent final product, and they’ll finish the project faster. As a bonus, they can also take care of the extensive preparation and cleanup. Painters may also offer a warranty on their work.

Most local contractors will give free painting estimates, so get more than one quote to ensure you get the best price on your fresh coat of paint. If you’d rather not spend time and energy on a ladder outdoors painting your home, enter your ZIP code below to be contacted by a local painter.

FAQs About Exterior House Painting Costs

How long should an exterior paint job last?

A properly applied exterior paint job should last between five and 10 years. The lifespan of the paint job on your home will depend on the type of paint, the surface it’s applied to, and the climate in your region.

How do I know if my home has lead paint?

Many homes built before 1978 contain some kind of lead-based paint. Before doing any sanding or scraping that could cause the old paint to become airborne, it’s a good idea to have a professional inspection performed by a certified lead-based paint inspector. This step will give you an idea of the safety precautions needed when painting your home.

How much does it cost to paint a two-story home?

An average two-story house will cost between $3,500 and $6,000 to paint the exterior. An indoor paint job may cost slightly more, averaging between $4,000 and $7,000. Most homes with more than one story are more expensive to paint than the same surface area on a single-story home. This is because painting on ladders and around staircases can be more complex.

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