How Much Should Your Painting Project Cost?

A lot of factors play into the cost of a home painting project. The type of paint, the number of rooms, the siding material and the height of the house all have an impact. According to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, homeowners pay an average of $1,500 to $4,000 to have their home exteriors painted and $1,000 to $3,000 to have their entire home interior painted. So, how much will your project cost? And what factors do you have to consider?

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When to Paint

Interior
Beyond apparent fading and wear, or simply changing up your style, there are a few parameters for how often interiors should be painted – and how frequently you should factor painting into your annual home improvement budget.

How Often to Paint Interior Rooms
Low-Activity Rooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Living Rooms
  • Dining Rooms
3-4 years
High-Activity Rooms
  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms
  • Hallways
  • Laundry Rooms
5-7 years

Exterior
Climate and maintenance practices will determine how often you’ll need to paint your home. But the type of siding you have plays a major role.

How Often to Paint Home Exteriors
Cement Fiberboard 10-15 years
Aluminum 5-6 years
Stucco 5-6 years
Painted Brick 15-20 years
Wood (Paint) 3-7 years
Wood (Stain) 4 years

If you’re not sure it’s the right time, consult with a painting expert.

The best time of year to paint exteriors is in the late spring and during the summer—when the weather is warmer and dryer, for optimum application conditions.

DIY vs Hiring A Pro

If it’s within your budget, you’ll get the most out of your investment by hiring an expert for your painting project. Experienced painters can do the work in better time. Plus, they’ll have the equipment and training to perform the best preparation and application.

If you do hire a pro, be wary of low quotes. “The wording they’ll use a lot of times is: ‘We guarantee coverage,’” says Nick May, owner of Walls By Design in Denver, Colo. “And that just means they’re going to do one coat and touchups. So, really be sure the contractor spells out: ‘How many coats am I doing? How am I applying it?’”

If you’d prefer to save money and paint your home yourself, keep in mind that it’s easier and safer to paint your home interior yourself than it is to paint the exterior. There are many dangers associated with exterior work — especially on homes with multiple stories.

Interior Painting Costs
The typical cost of supplies is $200-$300 for one room, which includes tarps, ladders, tools and paint. If you hire an expert, you’re likely to pay $400-$800 per room or $1,000-$3,000 for the whole home.

Exterior Painting Costs
An average-sized house calls for 12 gallons of paint, which averages $400-$900. With supplies like extender poles and ladders, you’ll pay roughly $600 to $1,200 to paint your home’s exterior yourself. If you hire a painter or painting company, you’ll pay around $1,500 to $4,000. This price fluctuates according to the number of stories and the type of surface being painted. Painting a three-story home could cost over $5,000. And painting concrete or vinyl siding tends to cost less than painting wood or stucco.

“Paint is the least expensive thing you can get the biggest bang for in your house. You can spend $5,000 on a dining room set, or you can spend $5,000 on paint and redo your whole entire house.”– Nick May, Owner of Walls by Design in Denver, Colo.

Picking Paint

The quality and type of paint you choose can make all the difference in extending the life of your paint job. “Really understand your options,” says May. “Most paint companies make a good paint, but they also can sell a crappy paint. Some paints hide better; some paints perform better; some paints will touch up better.”

Interior Color and Finishes
Bedrooms are best in soothing colors like blue and green. Living rooms can be done in energizing colors like red or purple, but blue and beige are also good tones. And kitchens and bathrooms should be painted clean blues, grays, whites and neutrals. If you can’t decide, you can consult with an interior designer for advice. As far as finishes, semi-gloss has the best moisture resistance and is easy to clean — perfect for kitchens and bathrooms. And satin and eggshell are top sheens for bedrooms and living rooms.

Exterior Color and Materials
Beige comes out on top as the most popular and best color for exteriors, followed by similar neutrals, blues and grays. Mute and forest greens, as well as brick reds, are also good choices. Stay away from obnoxious yellows, oranges, and too-bright greens, blues and pinks. For finishes, satin is most commonly used on the entirety of the exterior. And a glossy finish works best on details like doors and window sashes.

If you’re struggling to choose a color for your painting project, look for a pro who offers color consulting among their services. “We know that’s one of the biggest barriers to entry for a homeowner when they’re painting their house,” says May. “So, we just made a decision, almost since the beginning, to have trained color designers that go out and work with customers.”

One Last Piece of Advice:
The most important question to ask a painting pro is: Do you have insurance? When any professional is working on your home — especially if they’re doing dangerous exterior work — they should have insurance to cover them in case of injury, and to cover your home in case of damage. Check out these ten tips to learn more about hiring a service professional.
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