How much does it cost to paint my house exterior?
How much is it going to cost to paint your homes exterior? Today, we’re going to tackle that question as best we can. In this article we are going to focus on how much it costs to paint the exterior of your home. Please keep in mind, we’re a Denver painter and prices will vary from state to state depending on your labor and material costs.
Let’s dive right in! Most standard, residential exterior repaints will fall somewhere between $3,000 and $5,000. That being said, depending on the size of your home, paint-able surface area, any add-on’s, or additional prep needed you may be below or above that price range.
Want even more of an idea on cost? Looking at our data, in 2019, we painted the exterior of 600 homes with an average job size of $4,500. With an average based off of 600 homes, we had 20 houses that were over $10,000 and 60 homes that were under $3,000. So, you really can see quite a large range between $3,000-$10,000 for exterior painting. Check out our video to learn more:
How Much Does Exterior Painting Cost?
When calculating the cost of a project, most painters will use a formula based on the square footage of the body of the home and the linear footage of the trim. This will give them an idea of how much paint will be needed on the home. Once your painter has this base number then they will start to look at things that will add materials, labor, or time to the job and adjust pricing from there.
What Factors into the Price of an Exterior Paint Job?
The largest factor that goes into determining the cost of the project is the amount of material that is going to be used on the home. This means the larger the home, the more it will cost. Naturally, when there is more product being used on a home there is also an increase in the labor and time it takes to apply those materials to the home. As mentioned above, most painters have a standardized method to calculate the size of the home on every estimate as the foundation to their cost.
How Much does Prep Cost When Painting?
The next most critical factor when determining the cost of an exterior paint job, is the amount of prep work that’s needed on the home. When looking at prep, there are three items that painters tend to look at the most. How much scraping, how much priming, and how much caulking will be needed to get the home ready to be painted? This is a challenging item to estimate for many painters because of the unknowns that can happen when scraping a house. How much paint is going to scrape off? How long will this take us? How much caulking will we ultimately use?
This is important because primer and caulk are both major expenses when painting a home and the quality of prep materials that are used will ultimately affect the cost as well. There are many grades of materials available and using higher grade materials adds both cost and value to the project. What type of paint, caulk, and primer is used and how it’s being used drastically changes the cost of a painting project and how long the paint job will last. If you’d like to learn more about prep materials check out our articles on prep materials.
The Cost of Paint Prep
When a painter says they will scrape any failing paint they are talking about physically going in with a metal scraper to remove paint from the surface area that is showing significant signs of wear. Typically, painters are looking to remove any paint where the seal has been visibly broken and the edges of the paint are lifting away from the substrate. Once paint has been scraped, you’re left with raw edges and bare wood. It’s very important that these areas are primed before being painted, otherwise the paint will not adhere to the substrate. With that in mind; the more scraping required on your home will require more primer to be used, adding to the overall cost.
Depending on how frequently you’ve painted your home and what state it’s in there can be an additional charge for prep. If your home requires additional or significant prep you can typically expect to see anywhere from $500.00-$2,000.00 added on to your project. This will account for the additional time, labor, and materials that go into the prep prior to painting. Keep in mind, great prep leads to a longer lasting paint job so this may not be the place to save money on your project.
What Impacts the Price of a Paint Job?
Another major factor in how much it costs to paint a house exterior is the amount of trim on the house and how the trim is painted. Painting the trim tends to be a very time consuming portion of most projects. This is because most painters will paint the trim by hand rather than spraying it out. This means, the more trim that is present on your home, the more your paint project will cost.
Wrapped trim is also something painters will keep an eye out for. If the sides of your trim boards are trim color rather than body color, this is what painters call wrapped trim. Wrapped trim does elevate the look of your home however, maintaining wrapped trim will add an additional cost to your paint project. This is because most painters will hand paint trim and wrapping that trim, rather than the sides of the boards being body color will increase the labor and man hours needed to do so.
Does the Paint Product Impact Cost?
It’s a common misconception within the painting industry that all paints are created equal. This however, couldn’t be further from the truth. There is a massive range in the quality and cost of paint products available on the market and the product you use can heavily impact the cost of your project. This is a major factor when determining how much it will cost to paint your house’s exterior. For example; economy paints will cost less per gallon however, you typically end up requiring more to get the correct coverage and thickness. A top of the line paint like Sherwin Williams Emerald or Benjamin Moore Aura will have a higher price per gallon but they’ll provide far superior coverage and longevity. So, an economy paint will save you money now but you’ll be repainting sooner while a top of the line paint will cost more upfront but will last significantly longer.
Factors That Add Cost to Painting
- How many colors are on the home? For each color used on a home, the crew or painter must clean out all of their equipment before introducing the new color. Additional colors also means more masking is required which again, increases labor and materials. Most companies have a standard number of colors that they allow and then have a per color charge for each additional color. We personally allow up to 4 colors and then charge $200/color for each additional color beyond four.
- How many windows need to be masked? Masking is a large part of any paint project and it’s often overlooked. Plastic and paper add up to be significant amounts on each job and they take a lot of time to prepare for painting. Each window needs to be fully masked off with masking film to keep the windows clean and protected.
- Do you have wood windows? Wood windows, unlike vinyl or fiberglass windows, require quite a bit more TLC when it comes to painting. Each window must be treated with an oil based primer and then painted by hand. Depending on the number of wood windows you have, you can expect to see anywhere from $500-$2,000 added on to your project.
- Is there challenging landscaping to work around? Three story walk outs and homes built into sloped terrain can have extremely challenging access issues. Most painters will add an additional cost if your home requires additional equipment or safety precautions.
- How tall is the home? As you can expect, a 30 foot home is more difficult to paint than a 10 foot home. The ladders that are required to paint 3 story houses are larger, heavier, and more dangerous to use. Typically when painting a 3 story home multiple ladders need to be set up and moved quickly to keep the paint job looking great.
- How detailed is the work? This overlaps with how much trim and how many colors are present but think of it this way; painting a big empty wall is easier than painting something with lots shapes, turns, and sections.
- What is the substrate that’s being painted? The substrate is the material that your home is sided with. There are a wide range of substrates out there but a few examples would be cedar siding, hardie board, MDF, stucco, and brick. The substrate will dictate how much paint is used on your project. For example; raw brick will use more paint than previous painted brick. This is because brick is quite porous so when you’re painting it for the first time, it will soak up a lot of that paint which results in needing to use even more paint to get even coverage. Stucco is similar to brick in this way but will actually absorb even more paint than brick will. In addition to needing more paint, stucco, concrete, and brick also require a back-roll to press the paint into the surface and ensure proper adhesion and durability.
- Are you including deck or fence staining? When you want your deck and fence stained along with your house painting, we call these full service projects. Depending on the size and state of your deck or fence you will be looking at an additional overall cost.
- Is there wood that needs to be replaced? Woodwork is another factor that can dramatically change the cost of your overall paint project. When siding and trim boards fail then they need to be replaced. If a home has not been properly maintained over the years, woodwork can quickly add up so we always recommend really staying on top of any rotten boards and getting those changed out or sealed up as quickly as possible. Not all paint companies provide wood replacement services so be sure to check directly with your painter to confirm. Most clients who require wood replacement will typically see an additional $200-$1,500 for that work. Keep in mind that full re-sides have a completely different price point.
- Is there lead paint on the home? Before we get into the additional cost of lead paint, you MUST check with your painter to see if they are lead certified. There are very few paint companies here in Colorado who are lead certified so do you research when it comes to selecting a painter to handle your lead home. Prior to 1978, lead paint was still being used on residential homes. Obviously, what we didn’t know then was that lead paint was toxic and potentially harmful to kids and animals. With that in mind, when painting a lead home the most important thing is containment. Lead paint tends to crackle and pop off the substrate of the home which ends up looking a bit like alligator skin. This means when you go in to prep the home and start scraping those areas, you’ll end up with quite a few lead paint chips. Collecting these in plastic and disposing of them properly is the key safety measure when it comes to addressing lead paint. Extra thick masking plastic, respirators, and jumpsuits are just some of the additional cost associated with lead paint.
*As we all know, there are many factors that can impact pricing overtime. When we originally created this article in 2020, the world was much different and since then pricing has changed a bit. Check out this updated (2022) pricing video to get a more up-to-date idea of what it may cost to paint your exterior…
What is the Average Cost for House Painting?
As you can see, there are a lot of items that need to be looked at when coming up with how much it costs to paint a house exterior. Ultimately, every house is unique and different elements will need to be addressed. Again, for most projects you should expect to spend between $3,000 and $5,000. That being said, we recommend taking a walk around your home to get a good idea of what condition your home is currently in and set expectations from there.
If you have questions about how much it would cost to paint your house exterior we urge you to get an accurate estimate and go from there.
Here are photos of homes we’ve painted with price ranges listed so you can see for yourself: