How Much Does It Cost to Paint the Exterior of a House?

Is your exterior paint peeling and faded, or do you just hate the color? Here are some tips on determining the average cost of painting the exterior of your house.

Few things can transform the look and feel of a home like a fresh coat of paint. When it’s time, knowing the average cost to paint a house exterior can keep you from overpaying. Learn the best way to estimate the cost and the amount of paint you’ll need, along with the best time of year to paint and how often to do it.

Benefits of Painting Your Home

Painting the exterior of your home can do a lot of wonderful things:

What Factors Determine the Cost to Paint a House Exterior?

Painting a home’s exterior usually costs between $1,000 to $10,000, or 50 cents to $5.00 per square foot. These are the factors that impact the final cost:

Home size

Calculate the total square footage of the paintable surface. Multiply the length, width and height (length x width x height) of each wall, then add each figure together for the combined total. Then determine the square footage of the doors and windows by multiplying the length and width of each one. Add the square footage of each door and window together, and subtract that sum from the total square footage of the walls.

Multiple stories

Multi-story homes require extension ladders and possibly scaffolding and lifts. The average cost for materials and labor to paint a single-story house is between $1,000 and $3,000, a two-story home between $3,000 to $5,000 and a three-story between $4,000 and $10,000.

Prep work

Prep work on a home’s exterior includes scraping, sanding, caulking,¬†repairing/filling holes and cracks, and sometimes power washing and priming. On average, these tasks cost $25 to $50 per hour per painter, or 50 cents to $2.50 per square foot.

Paint quality and type

A gallon of paint or primer can cost between $15 and $80. Higher quality paint, with more total solids and fewer solvents, costs more. But considering that it’s more durable, lasts longer and requires fewer coats, it may save you money in the long run. The specific type of paint you need depends on your home’s siding material.

Siding material

These are the per-square-foot costs to prep and paint these siding materials:

  • Vinyl. Costs between $1.25 to $3.
  • Wood. Costs between $1 and $3.
  • Stucco. Costs between $1.50 and $6.
  • Brick. Costs between $2.40 and $4.50.
  • Concrete. Costs between $1 and $7 per 100.
  • Metal (aluminum). Costs between 83 cents and $2.50.

Trim

Trim usually needs to be hand-painted with a brush. On average, painting trim costs $1 per linear foot. Painting the trim a different color than the siding usually costs more.

Additional features

Doors, fascia, gutters and shutters can be included in an estimate or charged separately. The average cost to paint an exterior door is $70 to $300; fascia $1 to $3 per linear foot; gutters $1 to $4 per linear foot; shutters $60 to $80 each.

How to Calculate Paint Needs

For a rough estimate of your paint needs, divide the square footage of your home’s paintable surface by the coverage of a gallon of paint. A gallon of paint covers 250 and 400 square feet, and a gallon of primer can cover 200 to 300 square feet. The exact coverage varies and is often listed on the can.

For example, a 1,500 square foot home will need five gallons of paint for a single coat with a 300 square foot coverage (1,500 √∑ 300 = 5). There are also free paint calculators available online to assist with this calculation.

How Often to Paint the Exterior of Your Home

It’s generally recommended to paint your home’s exterior every 10 to 20 years. The exact timetable varies with your siding material. Vinyl and metal siding may need to be repainted every 15 to 25 years, wood every 10 to 20 years, stucco every 15 to 25 years and brick every 20 to 25 years.

According to Brad Hynon, a professional painter and owner of Hynon Painters & Decorators, “These are all approximations and a number of other factors will play a role, including the previous paint job and how much heavy weather the surface has absorbed.”

The quality of your previous paint job, your climate and your home’s siding material may also factor in. Vinyl siding might never require repainting, but many homeowners choose to paint it once the original color starts to fade, usually after 10 to 15 years. Wood siding usually needs to be repainted every three to seven years, stucco every five to 10 years, brick and concrete siding every 10 to 15 years and metal siding every five years.

When to Paint the Exterior of Your Home

The best time of year is early summer or early fall. Paint needs to be applied to a dry surface and it shouldn’t be exposed to moisture while it’s drying. It also needs to be warm enough to allow the paint to dry, but not so hot that it causes the paint to bubble. Extreme temperature fluctuations between day and night can also cause drying issues.

Money-Saving Tips When Painting Your Home’s Exterior

There are a few ways you can save a bit on money when calculating the cost to paint a house exterior:

  • Perform all (or most) of the prep work yourself.
  • Paint all (or most) of the home yourself.
  • Get competing bids from multiple painting contractors.
  • Don’t wait too long to repaint to prevent more labor-intensive prep.
  • Forgo painting additional external features, or paint them yourself.

James Fitzgerald
James Fitzgerald is a handyman and freelance home-improvement writer with a passion for DIY, gardening, and anything involving working with his hands. He has over a decade of professional experience in a variety of trades, including construction, tree work, landscaping, and general maintenance. When not in search of the next enticing DIY project, he may be cooking, lifting weights, riding his motorcycle, hiking out at the coast, or nose deep in a great book.