A fresh coat of paint makes everything it touches seem brand new. But such new beginnings cost real money. Professional painters charge around $4,000 for labour and materials to paint the exterior of a 2,500-square-foot, two-story home and roughly $5,500 for the interior. Painters’ rates may range from $20 to $60 an hour, but around $40 is typical in urban areas.
With thought and planning, you can keep the cost of painting the exterior or interior of your home to a minimum, whether you are using a professional painter or doing the work yourself.
If painting a wall (or all the walls) is number one on this year’s home to-do list, you’ve probably already planned the perfect colour scheme and picked the right weekend for getting the job done. You might have even researched the cost to paint a house and decided to paint the interior yourself. Doing the work yourself is the most effective way to save money on house painting, as long as the paint job is relatively manageable for you and your DIY experience. (Major exterior paint jobs, like painting a brick house, or tricky interior projects are best left to the pros.) Looking for the best home painting company? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.
Once you’ve decided to do the room painting yourself, it’s time to start planning. You’ll need to gather all the necessary painting supplies and pick a time to start painting. Still, staunch budget-followers will want to make sure they’re saving as much as possible on the whole project, maybe to help move toward their financial goals or to put more money toward other projects around the house.
Read up on painting basics—like how to paint a wall—and finer points of the task, such as how to paint corners. Gather those supplies, pick the right paint colours, and follow these prep and painting tips to make the project as low-cost as possible.
What is the average cost to paint a house?
The national average for an interior house painting job is just over $1,800, according to HomeAdvisor, while the national average for exterior painting is $2,900. 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, the surface being painted and location,” explains Alison Bruce, senior marketing manager at PPG.
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 $15 and $40 and will cover approximately 350 square feet. You can use online tools at paint manufacturers to get a sense of how many gallons you’ll need based on the size of the job.
Just as your zip code influenced how much you paid for your home, it’ll also play a significant role in what you’ll pay to hire a painter. Consider the HomeAdvisor average estimate for painting the exterior of a home in New York City, $3,493, versus the average for an exterior painting job in Indianapolis, $2,323.
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. Check out Hitch Property Constructions for a huge range of melbourne home painter services.
“For a basic spec home, the price per square foot is around $2.75-$3 in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, area,” says Michelli. “Large custom homes with lots of crown and detail can range from $5-$7 per square foot.”
6 Tips for saving on house-painting costs
With labour your most significant expense, you can save the most by containing how many hours a painter spends on the job. And there are other ways to pare back costs, too. Follow these pro tips for maximizing your savings:
Get competing bids
Before hiring a painter, get multiple estimates, Freeman says. Find recommended painters from friends, or search at Painting and Decorating Contractors of America for member painters near you who are licensed, where required, and insured.
Ask a painter to specify how many hours will be spent on preparation and painting, names of products to be used, how many coats will be applied, and the cost for any additional coats.
Use a contract
Now, make sure you get your agreement in writing. Freeman includes time estimates for each aspect of the job. Bancroft favours a more straightforward contract, like “This is what we are going to do: We are going to caulk and putty the windows. We’re going to put two coats of paint using Pittsburgh Manor Hall eggshell, colour to be determined.”
Do all or some of the work yourself.
You can save a bundle by doing the labour yourself. The most significant DIY expense is paint. Other costs include buying or renting supplies and equipment, like caulk, primer, brushes, rollers, tarps and ladders or scaffolding. Freeman advises applying paint with brushes, not a sprayer. “If you overspray all the window frames and overspray your shingles and your sidewalks and the brick on the front of the house, you do damage that is not easily fixed,” he says.
If you’re hiring a painter, ask if you can reduce the cost of labour by doing some tasks yourself. For example:
- Trimming shrubs
- Moving furniture and clearing a perimeter for painters to work
- Removing and reinstalling the outlet covers, switch plates and doorknobs
- Prep work like patching, sanding and scraping, if you have the skills
Don’t wait too long to repaint
Repaint — exteriors especially — before visible signs of wear appear, Bancroft says. Don’t wait until you see peeling or flaking paint. “If I have to spend 40 hours preparing the surface before we can paint that time is going to result in a lot of extra costs. But if I can spend 10 hours preparing the surfaces to be painted, you’re going to save money,” Freeman says.
Trim the scope of the job
Before signing the contract, look through it for ways to trim aspects of the job that aren’t important to you. For example, you might forgo repainting ceilings or closet interiors, to save on paint and labour.
Think strategically about colour
By recoating your existing colours instead of changing colours, you may get away with one coat of paint rather than two, if the surface is in good condition.
Also, avoid intense colours, or use them on trim or accents, Bancroft says. Bright reds and yellows may require four or five coats to cover well, so if you must use them, choose premium paints to get the job done with fewer coats.
Darker colours look great on exteriors, but they fade sooner than lighter colours, so you’ll have to repaint more often. “You can be more daring and bold on the inside than you should be on the outside,” Bancroft says. “If you want to have a fire-engine-red door, you can paint that every two years, and it can be fresh and lively.”
How often should you repaint your home?
You might lock in your mortgage term for 30 years, but you can expect your painting needs to pop up more than every three decades.
“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.
More Tips to save on house painting
- Invest upfront. While it may be tempting to cut costs with cheaper paint, investing in a better product 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 $500 and $1,000, 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. Be forewarned, though: While you may save some money, you will not be able to save yourself from frustrations if you realize you aren’t quite as handy as you thought.
If you have an especially large home that requires extra attention to detail, your painting project may still be fairly pricey, no matter how much you manage to save. For example, if you want to use designer paints for the interior of a three-story, 3,000-square-foot home with tall ceilings, your bill could be $10,000. Want to paint the exterior at the same time? Be prepared to tack on as much as $10,000 more.
If the cost of painting your home is too expensive for you to the stomach, you can consider personal loan options. These can be used for a range of home improvement needs. While you will pay interest for painting your house, 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.
What Are Typical Painting Jobs?
A typical painting company will offer the following services:
- Interiors – painting on fresh surfaces or repainting over existing paint is the most common service.
- Exteriors – Every 5-7 years the exteriors of the house should be repainted. This requires special equipment and paint. Professional help is strongly recommended.
- Roof painting – a specialized job that requires safety protocols and the correct equipment.
- They are wallpapering – another specialized service that many painters offer. Some painting companies will provide wallpaper, while others will only do labour only.
- Fence painting – outdoor areas require special paint and expertise.
- Timber maintenance – timber is unique to other surfaces in that it needs specific preparation techniques to ensure its longevity.
Is House Painting a Good Investment?
An exterior paint job could cost as little as $3000, with the potential to reach up to $15 000+ for larger, more complex houses. The most important factor to consider is the return on investment that a quality paint job can produce.
For example, if your home value sits at $600 000, you can make $30 000 to $60 000 (around 5-10%) more when you sell. The increased value only goes up with the value of your home.
Consider this: buyers want to invest in a home that they can see themselves in. If your walls are faded and peeling, this will only attract investors who want to renovate and make a quick profit.
If your home’s interior and the exterior paint job is immaculate, this will attract buyers who want to actually live in your house.
7 Tricks for Saving Money on Interior House Painting
Paint may have a firm expiration date, but painting supplies—think rollers, brushes, tarps, painters tape, and more—can be reused in the project after project. Find the supplies from the last time you painted, or borrow from a neighbour or friend who recently painted. (They probably won’t need the supplies any time soon, and you can promise to return them good-as-new.)
If borrowing isn’t an option, companies such as Backdrop and Clare sell painting essentials kits that can be shipped straight to your door. Buying trusty supplies now can help you save on the next painting project. At Hitch Property Constructions, we offer Melbourne home painting services.
Calculate wall space
A little extra leftover paint isn’t a bad thing—it can help cover holes or dings later on—but a lot can be difficult to dispose of responsibly and challenging to store. Measure the wall space that needs to be painted and use a paint calculator (like this one from Sherwin-Williams) to figure out precisely how many gallons of paint need to be purchased. If applicable—for a large, open-concept space, for example—consider buying paint in bulk to save even more money.
Invest in paint quality
Bottom-dollar paints may seem like a good idea, but low-quality paints can be thin and require multiple coats to properly cover a wall. Look for a paint in the right price range that also promises a certain level of quality or necessary features, such as a self-primer, depending on what colour you’re painting over. Go ahead and skip the lifetime warranty if it comes at a premium—you’ll probably tire of the paint colour and repaint before the paint starts to really wear, anyway.
Use a primer only if necessary.
Most self-priming paints work well enough that the extra cost of purchasing a primer isn’t necessary. If you’re painting over a dark colour with a light one, though, or if the walls are particularly rough, an inexpensive primer could save you from needing to do multiple coats of (pricier) paint.
Most people don’t want every single room in the house to be the same colour, but reusing the same colour in different spaces can mean less paint to buy, which ultimately saves money, especially if that paint colour is moderately affordable. Instead of painting all the walls the same colour, though, use the same shade on ceilings and trim throughout the home. This will both give the home a cohesive look and allow you to buy that paint colour in bulk, especially because trim and baseboards can require frequent touch-ups.
Following the appropriate steps for preparing a space—cleaning the walls first, using painter’s tape, covering doorknobs and floors, removing outlet plates and switch covers, and so on—can both save time and money. Accidentally getting paint where it doesn’t belong can make a huge mess, and in some incidents, it may mean buying new hardware. Take steps to avoid those accidents to make every drop of paint count.
With all this prep and planning, it may seem easier to just get the actual painting done as quickly as possible, but taking your time, cutting in properly, and doing smooth, even rolls all help make sure the job is done right the first time. One of the costliest mistakes you can make is moving too quickly and making a mess that needs to be completely repainted.