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Whether you are painting the exterior of your home to boost its curb appeal, change a color you don't like or refresh a dilapidated paint job, one thing is certain: Painting your home's exterior is a large job that requires proper planning, preparation and tools. In most cases, painting your home's exterior is a job best left to a pro. But before you call one in, you'll want to consider a few factors that will affect your project's cost.
Professional painters provide estimates primarily based on the square footage of your home. Painting an average home between 500 and 1,500 square feet can cost between $1,000 and $3,000. However, factors such as number of stories and ease of access can also affect the overall price. Homeowners report that the average cost to paint a house nationally is $2,581 and most pay between $1,714 and $3,682.
Home Exterior Painting Costs (in Square Feet)
The following chart will give you a rough estimate of how much you might pay to paint the exterior of your home:
Square Footage (Estimated)
500 - 1,500
$1,000 - $3,000
1,500 - 3,000
$3,000 - $4,500
3,000 - 6,000
$4,500 - $6,000+
However, the chart does not account for specific materials siding can be made from. Find more information on what you might pay to paint specific siding materials, according to research on professional quotes and previous jobs as reported by homeowners.
Painting professionals might charge more or less to paint your home's exterior based on its construction material. Some materials cost more to paint than others because of their texture, the paint required to properly cover them, and whether specialized materials are required to prepare them for painting or the elements. Find more information on the various types of siding available, as well as how much it might cost to paint or prepare each.
Cost to Paint Concrete Siding
Concrete walls must always be prepared before painting, but in some cases previous finishes will also have to be removed so that paint doesn't peel or chip off. Additionally, special sealants, primers and paints may be applied to ensure concrete's endurance in face of the specific elements. Depending on the wall's condition and exposure to the sun, painting professionals will usually estimate between $500 (~250 sq. ft.) and $2,000 (~1,000 sq. ft.), depending on wall area to cover.
Cost to Paint Metal Siding
The cost to paint metal siding -- most commonly aluminum and galvanized steel -- will depend on a variety of factors. In some instances, a simple cleaning will suffice to prepare metal siding for painting. In worst cases, painting professionals will need to repair metal that is rusted, damaged or missing pieces due to climate conditions. In the case of severe damage, a professional will have to remove the old finish and paint to get to the original layer, which will add on to the final price. When you add the actual painting of the metal siding, you might be looking at a final bill between $400 (~250 sq. ft.) and $1,500 (~1,000 sq. ft.).
Cost to Paint Stucco Siding
Stucco is a specialized material that requires extensive preparation work (cleaning, caulking, filling in cracks, etc.). Additionally, paint suitable for rolling or brushing over stucco varies greatly depending on location and climate conditions. Some stucco paint varieties will chip and peel away in certain climate conditions, so painting professionals won't recommend them. These factors make stucco one of the more expensive siding materials to cover. You can expect to pay anywhere from $900 (~500 sq. ft.) to $3,000 (~1,500 sq. ft.) to have stucco revitalized with paint, depending on how much is needed to cover the home exterior.
Cost to Paint Vinyl Siding
Vinyl siding is one of the more inexpensive siding materials to have repainted, especially with recent innovations in painting materials. Homeowners will first need to vinyl cleaned and repaired, and any clapboards or vinyl sections that have blown off because of climate conditions will need to be replaced. Painting professionals will apply paint quickly and easily over the vinyl siding, much like an interior paint job. The finish, however, may require extensive work and regular maintenance. Expect to pay between $600 (~250 sq. ft.) and $2,000 (~1,000 sq. ft.), with prices likely increasing for the finish. Changing the finish on your siding is not recommended unless it's completely degraded and worn away by the weather conditions.
Cost to Paint Wood Siding
Homeowners with wood siding have the option of staining or painting siding that has been worn down by the elements -- especially if they need to increase its defenses against the sun or extreme humidity. Holes, missing pieces or other problems will increase the overall cost of the painting project. You can expect to pay between $700 (~250 sq. ft.) and $2,000 (~1,000 sq. ft.) to paint wood siding, but this project will also help to protect the home's exterior from more extensive repairs down the road.
When determining the total cost of a home exterior paint project, you'll want to include the cost of materials like paint, supplies and other items you might want to cover in addition to the siding. If you know the average cost of these items in addition to your home exterior project cost, you'll have a good plan in place when you start calling for professional estimates. This also gives you the option to purchase or paint some items yourself to save money. Here are some of those cost factors and what you might expect to pay:
How Much Does Paint Cost?
You will want to use the highest quality exterior home paint your budget will allow for your project -- not only because it will look the nicest, but also because it will save you money in the long term by offering better coverage and durability. Better coverage means fewer coats and fewer work hours for your painter; better durability means that you won't have to spend money to paint the exterior of your home again in just a few years. How do you know how much paint you're paying for? Here's some helpful math:
A 2,100 square-foot home will take about 12 gallons of paint (high-quality paint covers about 350 square feet in two coats).
2,100 / 350 = 6 x 2 = 12 gallons.
Always double the number you'll need because it takes two coats to cover a home exterior.
When you go to the home improvement store, find out how much 12 gallons of the paint you want would cost, and that will help you determine your cost. Maybe it's a low-quality paint that costs $30, in which case you're looking at about $360 for paint. If you choose high-quality paint that costs around $70, your total paint cost could be closer to $840. Professionals also recommend that you add an extra 10 or 20 percent to your total square footage, depending on the type of siding you have. Some textures require extra paint because they're rough. This is especially true with wood and stucco siding.
Paying for Paint Supplies
Painters will need several supplies for your home exterior project in addition to paint. Consider personally providing any materials that can be obtained without a license to reduce project costs. Painting supplies are also handy to have around for maintenance and touch-up jobs after the job is complete. The cost to invest in painting supplies will probably run you no more than $200 to $300, unless you buy really high-quality products from specialized paint shops. Consider purchasing the following:
Rollers and rolling handles (especially for multi-level homes)
Average Costs to Paint Additional Exterior Features
If you decide to paint additional features around your home, some painting professionals might include them as part of a package. Others will charge for them separately. Check with potential professionals on these items before settling on a contract. If you decide to paint these areas yourself, costs will likely fall in the following ranges:
Whether you decide to do the preparation work yourself or have a professional do it as part of your project, proper preparation makes all the difference in creating a smooth and lasting finish. Sure, it adds to your the total time and money spent on your project, but it's certainly worth doing the job right the first time. Otherwise, you'll spend additional time and money down the line on maintenance and repairs. To ensure proper preparation, follow this process before painting your home's exterior (keeping in mind that the process may vary based on exterior materials):
Power wash your home's exterior to remove any dirt, dust, moss and other residue that's built up over the years. It should also remove and loose and chipped paint. Painting professionals will usually have one on-hand to do this. A power washer could damage certain types of siding, so you may need something less pressurized to do the work.
If there are any problems with your siding, painters will repair the loose or broken fascia, siding pieces, trim and soffits beforehand. Remember, this will add to total cost.
After your siding is dried, remove loose paint with a scraper or paint stripper. This process might vary with metal siding, as a scraper could seriously damage it.
Sand siding with a pad sander or sandpaper to remove any rough spots. Don't push down so hard that there are marks left behind. (This will not apply to all types of siding.)
Fill in any holes or dents with caulk or putty. (This will not apply to all types of siding.)
Apply primer to the siding OR apply first coat of paint (This depends on the type of siding.).
Beginning with the prep work and ending with last coat of paint or the finishing, an exterior paint job will last anywhere from one to two weeks. After completion, homeowners using low-quality paint will need to repaint every four or five years to keep it well maintained; homeowners using high-quality paint can go longer without a new coat -- usually about seven or eight years, depending on the type of paint and material.
According to the EPA, professional painters must check for lead -- especially if a home was built before 1978. Many DIY painters forget to test for lead paint. Testing kits are available in home improvement stores for less than $40. You can also hire a lead testing and removal professional to do this work quickly and efficiently on your behalf. Lead paint can be dangerous; it's far better to find it before you put time and effort into painting your home than after the fact.