Painting Estimators: How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Painter?

Painting your home, both inside and out, improves its curb appeal, character and resale value. Painting is one of the quickest and easiest ways to give your home a face-lift -- and it yields some of the most dramatic results as well. If you have ever visited the painting section of your local hardware store, you know how overwhelming the multitude of paint choices can be. In addition to colors, there are finishes, stains, maintenance and other options to consider. And, if you're interested in adding a mural or trompe l'oeil, you're looking at a whole different set of choices and associated costs.
  • Paint a Home Interior Costs
    Most homeowners spent between:
    $966 - $2,726
    Average cost:
    Low cost:
    High cost:
  • Paint a Home Exterior Costs
    Most homeowners spent between:
    $1,691 - $3,928
    Average cost:
    Low cost:
    High cost:
  • Power Wash Exterior Surfaces Costs
    Most homeowners spent between:
    $184 - $381
    Average cost:
    Low cost:
    High cost:

Pricing Paint: How Much Does Paint Cost?

When you choose to invest in a painting project, you must first decide on the kind of project you want to complete:
  • Painting a home interior: Interior walls and ceilings will top the list of projects; primer will need to be factored into the total costs. See the current average cost to paint a home interior.
  • Painting a home exterior: Siding, decks and garages may be included in projects, all of which will vary in cost. Learn more about the current average cost to paint a home exterior.
  • Painting a small home project: Small projects might include one accent wall, a door or trim project, cabinets, paneling or fence gates. Find more on the current average cost to paint a small project.
  • Painting a mural or trompe l’oeil: Factors to consider when painting a mural or trompe l'oeil include the artist's cost and fee structure, as well as the size of the space to be painted. See the current average cost to paint a mural or trompe ll'oeil.
When calculating total cost of your project, one of the most important factors to consider is the paint itself. Paint costs will be determined by the quantity of paint and primer required to complete your project, as well as the quality of the paint you choose. You can use this paint calculator to estimate how much paint you will need.. Once you have an idea what you're working with, go to your local home improvement store and compare the costs of a gallon in person. Painting professionals can also quote average prices from their years of experience working with different paint qualities.
Remember: You want to get the highest quality paint your budget will allow to ensure its lasting beauty. You'll also need painting supplies like primer, brushes, rollers and painter's tape. A professional will have these items on-hand. According to statistics, paint and other supplies account for about 15 percent of a professional painter's total cost; labor will factor into 85 percent of their charges.
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How Much Will Painters Charge for Labor?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 45 percent of all painters are self-employed, though that number may be slightly higher if companies hire freelancers or self-employed painters as part of their team. The price that painters charge for their services is largely dependent on their association and whether the job is completed in the warmer or colder months (painters often charge more in the summer and less in the winter, given demand and other factors). More information regarding painter rates and associated factors is included below.

Home Exterior and Interior Cost Considerations

Painters might charge a flat project fee for exterior areas like siding, garages, decks or sheds. Otherwise, they typically charge by the hour. A painter's total estimate is based on how many hours they believe it will take to complete the project, plus a few varying factors, which include:
  • Location
  • Type of job (interior versus exterior)
  • Painter's experience
  • Season
You'll typically pay less to have an interior painted than an exterior because there's more square footage to cover; however the reverse might be true if you were to have a simple deck painted versus multiple interior rooms. You also have to account for staining and protective sealants required outdoors, which can add to the total cost.

Painting an Apartment or Home as a Renter

It is often necessary to have a rental property painted -- whether it's to make it your own before you move in or to clean it up for someone new when you move out. Some buildings and landlords have pre-selected painters, while others will contract companies to paint on an as-needed basis. If your landlord or building doesn't have a pre-selected painter, see if you may be allowed to paint the walls yourself. If you're moving in and selecting a non-neutral color, understand that your landlord may require you to repaint the walls the original color when you move out -- and ensure that you're ready to make that investment down the road.
There are cases where apartment complexes allow you to choose from a color wheel of neutral hues before you move in. Some charge a fee for calling in a painter to do the walls, while others offer new paint as a benefit of moving in. If you're not a fan of neutral colors, consider looking for an apartment that allows you to paint the walls a more expressive tone. Otherwise you can invest in boldly colored furniture and posters.

Additional Supply Considerations

Consider purchasing supplies personally to save money. Ask the painter for a bid that separates labor and materials. Then explain that you'll purchase the materials and ask for a list of exactly what will be needed to complete the job. Caulking, for example, is an extra supply commonly used to fill any cracks or damaged areas in your walls -- and one that might be overlooked in an incomplete list.
You'll also need a ladder to paint the top of any walls, ceiling or siding. Here are some tips about handling a ladder:
  • Check your ladder's rungs to ensure that it doesn't get stuck.
  • Hold the rope of the ladder firmly so it doesn't hit your hands or feet.
  • Use the 'four contact' rule: top two points should lay against the wall and bottom two points should firmly touch the floor.
  • Never stand higher than the third to top step on the ladder.
  • With an A-frame stepladder, make sure the bar is locked in place.
  • Keep your hips firmly between the rails for good balance.
  • Always wear rubber-soled shoes on a ladder for safety.
Supplies like rubber gloves and face masks allow professional painters to handle solvent-based products like paint thinner without ingesting harmful chemicals that cause respiratory damage. Most painters will bring these supplies themselves, but it doesn't hurt to buy them just in case -- or to get a few extra for yourself for safety.
In some cases, professional painters may include additional charges for specialized equipment that homeowners can't purchase on their own. Because professionals have licenses and access to such equipment, it's simpler to let them get those themselves. But providing some of the smaller equipment and extras directly really can help to cut down on the total cost of your project.

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Surface Preparation

If you're going to do any part of the painting or prep work on your own, you must know that the first step in preparing a surface is washing it. Since dirt can affect the smoothness of a surface area -- and therefore paint's adhesion to it -- use soap to remove any dirt or stains. Make sure there's no soap left on the walls when you're finished; also make sure to remove any gloss with sandpaper and vacuum up the leftover dust.
Inspect the surface area for holes, cracks or other problems and apply acrylic caulk to fill them in. Use a putty knife to smooth out the caulk and remove any excess to prevent bumps. For particularly thin or narrow crevices, you may have to use your finger to smooth out the caulk. Caulk contracts and shrinks, so apply a second layer once it's dried.
Here are some recommendations for surface preparation by wall type:
  • Aluminum: Remove any dirt, stains and other grime with solvent cleaner.
  • Cinder or concrete block: Remove loose mortar and clean off dust, dirt and loose cement.
  • Brick: Clean off dirt, excess mortar and any foreign grime.
  • Concrete: Remove grease, loose cement and oil; then, either power wash or clean by hand.
  • Copper: Clean off grease, dirt and other grime with a hand cloth and solvent cleaner.
  • Drywall: Spackle nail heads, sand joints and remove any dust.
  • Hardie board: Use a solvent cleaner and remove any waxy material.
  • Plaster: Patch any damaged areas; clean with vinegar and water.
  • Steel: Remove rust, oil, grease and salt with solvent cleaner.
  • Stucco: Clean off any loose stucco and allow to dry for 30 days.
  • Wood: Make sure it's dry, check for any rotted areas, patch any holes and caulk as needed.
    • Specifically for interior: Sand with the grain, correct any issues and dust.
  • Vinyl: Scrub with soap water solution and rinse.
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Mural and Trompe L'oeil Costs

Trompe l'oeil creates a realistic image or optical illusion in three dimensions; a mural is a painting composed on a wall of any size -- and of any paint medium. These two projects vary in price, with a trompe l'oeil typically costing more because of its complexity. Both are considered specialty painting projects.
Specialty painting by the hour costs between $40 to $50 on average. Paint might range between $75 to $90, costing an additional $40 to $50 per hour. The painter's skill and experience are also determining factors in the cost of specialty painting. While a freelance artist might charge $25 to $30 an hour, a very skilled professional might charge $80 or more. Some painters might also charge $60 or more for a consultation. Trompe l'oeils, in particular, will run on the expensive end of the price spectrum. Return to Top

Tips for Hiring a Painter

When you decide to hire a painter, know that their rates go down in the winter as business slows down. Ask about discounts, in case they can fit you in as an in-between project. Also consider whether you have other painting projects to be completed, as you may get them done in bulk for less than you would piece meal.
Keep these things in mind to be sure that you're getting the best painter for the job:
  1. Ask for recommendations: Consult with friends, family and neighbors to see if they've hired a good painter for a similar project. Also consult websites like HomeAdvisor to find quality painters who have good ratings and reviews.
  2. Get multiple estimates: Narrow your list of potential contractors down to four and then get four bids to make sure they're within the same price range. If one seems too high or too low, ask additional questions to understand why.
  3. Interview: Ask questions like:
    • How long have you been a painting contractor?
    • Are you licensed and insured?
    • Do you perform the paint job yourself or hire out freelancers?
    • Can you provide contact information for previous clients as references?
    • Do you have guarantees of your work?
  4. Review credentials: Make sure potential painters are actually licensed and insured so you aren't left with repairs or financial hassles after they complete the job.
  5. Figure out a payment plan: Never pay more than one-third of the total cost upfront.
  6. Get the contract and review it thoroughly before signing.
  7. Pick the paint and finish: The painter should work with you to find the right color, but the decision is ultimately yours. Make sure it's a color you'll enjoy for years to come.
  8. Check for lead: If your home was constructed pre-1978, the older layers of paint might contain lead. If this is the case, you'll need to have a lead testing and removal contractor come out to handle the problem before repainting your walls.
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Share your cost experience

Help others plan and budget for their projects

Deborah Gibbs More than 1 year ago
How much for painting kitchen cabinets?
Barbara OBrien 26 days ago
All depends on what prep is needed. Are they latex or oil painted now? Or stained and varnished?
william gillespie More than 1 year ago
we only use the best interior paint which goes further as far as pricing a repaint we charge 2.00 a square foot floor space for walls ceilings and trim .on new construction using the best paint 3.90 per foot floor space that is with 3 coats on all surfaces but as being a professional for 45 years i recommend use a professional so that your paint will last longer and you wont have to pay to have it done more often i do free consulting in these areas i am more than happy to assist you with your projects 864-506-6666 just always remember good paint last longer and use a washable paint your home is your most valueable investment take care of it
betty DelBalzo More than 1 year ago
I understand you need to see what has to be done, so can you give me an estimate ? and how soon ?
Steve Morris 9 months ago
It would be easier to see what a project would cost if you provided costs by area: for example. $X per room that is 10 x 12.
S Whitmer More than 1 year ago
I really need cabinets in kitchen and bath re-painted. 
Kack Proctor More than 1 year ago
My name is Jack Proctor
Dee Martella More than 1 year ago
I can only afford one room at a time!  Perhaps a handyman would be a good choice?
Pj Roberto More than 1 year ago
So far $5500. For a 900 sq ft place. Too expensive for-me in zip 95470.
mrs john valentino More than 1 year ago
any painters on your list who do Venetian glaze? thanks
Waynett Iokepa-Keliikoa More than 1 year ago
ISO of a painter to paint our metal roof. I can supply the materials and need estimates for labor cost.
More than 1 year ago
Hi Waynett, Thanks for reaching out, we’re happy to connect you with a pro for your project. You can submit a request to our pros here:, browse a list of local pros here:, or send your info to and a project advisor will reach out to assist you. –HASupport
Maureen Ritter 3 months ago
I was quoted 1200$ for 1 room!!
Chris Hooper 8 months ago
If you live in Oklahoma, don’t ask your painter if he is licensed. Like many other states, there is no licensing for painters. Contractors/electricians/plumbers, yes, but not painters. Wish HomeAdvisor would put a footnote in there about this, so homeowners quit asking me if I’m “a licensed painter”.
Victor Figueroa More than 1 year ago
New fence 250 ‘ fence all ready washed I have paint on hand  11507 SW 242 ST Homestead Fl. 33032
Donnie Reno More than 1 year ago
Labor price painting 6ft shadow box fence
More than 1 year ago
Hi Donnie, Thanks for your comment! We would be happy to help you connect with a fencing pro to give you an estimate on your project. You can submit a request to our pros here:, browse a list of local pros here:, or send your info to and a project advisor will reach out to assist you. –HASupport
J Parr More than 1 year ago
cost of painting a 1/2 bath from taupe to dark blue

Sandra & Greg Weekes More than 1 year ago
You might want to consult with a friend or a decorator before going with a dark color.
If you ever plan to sell your place, it will need to be repainted back to a neutral color.
If dark blue is your (final answer) color of choice -- go for it.
Fyellis Austin More than 1 year ago
Need to find someone to do faux, one wall over fireplace.
Fyellis Austin More than 1 year ago
Faux paint
ERICK WHELPLEY More than 1 year ago
Prefer someone from the Cedarburg/Grafton WI area.
sharon haberfield More than 1 year ago
Excellent service and work Asheville NC _ Interior painting and surface repair - highly recommend DEB COOK 828 275 192 - 5 star !!
Lynne Liedle More than 1 year ago
I'm looking for a painter for the exterior of my home (split-level).  I need the sq. ft. cost and a firm cost bid.  The  home was last painted five years ago. 
TIM WALLACE More than 1 year ago
Location please
James WARD More than 1 year ago
Hello. What is price per square foot to paint an apartment hallway(stairwell) that is 3 stories high. Garden style apartments?
Richard Stull More than 1 year ago
Hello, I only have a minute before the computer gets shut off. I'm looking for work in the 48105,48106,area. Can you help me?
More than 1 year ago
Hi Richard, Thanks for reaching out. Please visit our website to browse pro reviews in those areas or submit a service request If you would like to speak w/ a rep about your project and get assistance finding the right pro in these areas please send your contact info to and someone will reach out. -HASupport
Ivelisse Santiago More than 1 year ago
It all depends on what kind of paint the customer wants and how many rooms needs to be painted ,if theres any trims,ceilings,and most important if walls need repair we need to see the project in order to give a quote before hiring someone make sure if that person is a pro because you dont want paint drops all over the walls or floor
James Mclaughlin More than 1 year ago
Dixie Edwards More than 1 year ago
I take into consideration whether the job includes walls, ceilings, trim, how high the ceilings are, among other things such as color and sheen of paint, texture of walls , etc. it is difficult to give an accurate bid without seeing the rooms to be painted.
betty DelBalzo More than 1 year ago
can you give me an estimate ?  and when ?
Amanda Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
Here at my work we can break estimates down for you like this. I normally find the sq ft multiply it by cost of paint and then add labor by how long it would take to paint and how many workers we would need. Apex National Decorators
Gary Bonacci More than 1 year ago
Independent of labor you can figure the psf cost for paint and the amount of paint needed in this manner.  1 gal of paint will cover approx. 300sf.  A 5 gal bucket costs anywhere between $120-$150.  Then find a painter who will do the prep and paint and charge only for that.
betty DelBalzo More than 1 year ago
do you do the prep ?can you give me an estimate ? and when ?
John Torres More than 1 year ago
basic formula? single color exterior labor only ranges from $0.85 to $0.95 per sq foot as a BASE starting point. Prices go up depending on multiple colors, slope of surrounding areas, multiple stories..etc.Some painters charge per window to mask off. Ive seen $25 a window to $50.  Interiors without flooring can be factored the same way. When you start having to do multiple colors, cut ins, masking, room isolation...etc. the price jumps considerably. I always start with a base of $0.85 a sq foot and figure it out from there. the season plays a major role too. paint and materials are charged separatly and are typically marked up at a minimum of 15%. I always tell clients this. that way they pick the paint out they want and what quality they want as well. Anyways...thats your base. 1250 sq foot home @ .0.95 a ft = $1,187.50 (one color). Pressure washing, Add another $45-$55 per hour. a 1250 sq ft home is not going to take longer than 2-3 hours if its a single story. 

put it this way. a 1250 single story home with 8 windows can be pressure washed in 3 hours. next day can be masked and completely sprayed in 8 hours. next day touchup the overspray, remove all masking, roll bottom of gutter/ fascia lip and cleanup in 4 hours (if shielded and done right)

15 hours total (not including drive time. heres how i would break it down

x3 trip charges @ $35 = $105
Pressure wash (3 hours - including setup and breakdown) = $165
3 color scheme (1250 x $1.19 per sq ft) = 1,487.50
trash disposal $40
expendables (rags, masking film, tape...etc.) $85

total: $1,797.50

the price can always be adjusted based on on or off season, amount of colors to be used. A job like this can be done in 2 days and much quicker with a helper. I charge a bit more than others just because its quality work done professionally. Theres others that charge more than this just because they can on the on season and most people dont get a 2nd bid...
Judy Kitchin More than 1 year ago
Need a paint contractor in the Midland, Va/Stafford, Va area.  Cost to repaint inside of house (includes walls, repair ceiling, doors,  and trim for 3 rooms (living, dining/kitchen and bedroom and small bath)
Socrates Castillo More than 1 year ago

Its is one excellent Company of Services and good estimates I recommend use a professional for

anything repair.

Fabiana Barrios More than 1 year ago
which one?

Nick Roscoe More than 1 year ago
$1.00 a square foot. Includes all primer/paint and supplies. 
Elaine Reiss More than 1 year ago
I need approximately 4 rooms painted and wallpaper removed and repapered in master bedroom and two bathrooms.  All borders except kitchen to be removed befiore painting,
Elaiine Reiss 717-655-5501.  Thanks
More than 1 year ago
Hi Elaine, We would be happy to get you connected with a painting and wallpaper pro. You can submit a service request on our website: or browse reviews for local pros here: We can also have a project advisor reach out to assist you if you send your contact information to –HASupport

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