For most people a home is the most important investment they’ll ever make. Taking care of that investment becomes an ongoing (and often expensive) task. Every home is different and the cost to paint a house exterior can vary significantly.
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There are a lot of factors that can change the price of a paint job. Throughout this article, we’ll address all of those factors that change the price.
The exact same house can have a price of $3,000 or $6,500 depending options and details. For example, if we use a low end paint, minimal prep work, and one coat that can be the lower end cost. High end paints with high quality prep work and 2 coats will significantly increase the price (and quality and longevity) of the paint job.
We can also have two houses of the same size with very different prices based on detail work like trim, windows, doors, shutters, railings, accents, etc. that requires more time.
Later in the article we’ll address these factors so you can get a better idea of a fair price for exterior house painting. But first, we’ll start with base prices to build off of.
These are reasonable starting points for the cost of a paint job. Assume everything in these cost estimates is “middle of the road”. We’re assuming a standard amount of prep work, standard type of paint, and standard amount of trim. Not a lot of custom stuff for these base prices.
A lot of people are surprised by how much it can cost to paint a house exterior, especially when the job is hired out to professionals. So we’ve provided a price breakdown to help make sense of those numbers.
The type of paint you choose will change the price.
What you need to know...
It may be tempting to be as frugal as possible when selecting paint for your home’s exterior. But if you skimp now, you’ll pay for it later. The quality of paint you choose drastically affects how long the paint will last, how well it covers a surface, and ultimately how well the job gets done.
Sherwin Williams is the most popular paint store around, and the best paint to use according to all of our surveys of painting contractors.
SuperPaint will be the most standard option.
Duration and Emerald are both a step up from SuperPaint, and will cost more as well. These paints will also last longer and be more durable.
If you’re painting to sell, you may consider a less expensive paint. But we don’t recommend this because lower quality paints can sometimes be more costly when they require more coats or the finished product doesn’t turn out as well.
The type of siding you have can also change your paint requirements. Stucco siding, for example, will require a different product and costs more. It also takes more time to apply paint to stucco than wood or concrete sided homes.
The simple answer: When it’s nice and sunny out but not too hot. If it’s too hot, the paint will dry too quickly and you’ll see “flashing” marks on the house. When applying paint, you want the entire side to dry together - in one coat.
If it’s too cold out, the paint won’t cure. Ask the local paint store for specific weather suggestions and temperature requirements for painting based on the product you are using.
Now for the more detailed answer about the best time to paint…
It’s obvious that you shouldn’t plan to start a job in the height of the rainy season, but did you know temperature and humidity play a factor as well?
It boils down to curing time. Many novice painters think that once paint is dry, they’re in the clear. Unfortunately, however, paint (of all types) sets in different stages: drying & curing.
A paint is considered dry when enough of the carrier solvents have evaporated to where it can be touched (gently) without it sticking to whatever is touching it. If your paint is still “tacky” when a light rain comes through, you may be back in your local paint store getting a fresh round of supplies.
Paint is considered “cured” when the vast majority of residual solvents have evaporated off, and the paint has reached its maximum ‘hardness’ as a result of certain chemical reactions. The time period between curing & drying is a sensitive one. If, for instance, you live in Florida, you might want to avoid painting your house in the middle of tropical storm season. Inclement weather can still damage freshly applied paint, well into the curing process. In fact, professionals recommend avoiding moderate contact until your exterior paint is completely finished curing (as shown previously, this can take up to 30 days depending on the paint).
Given that liquid evaporates faster at higher temperatures, you’re going to want to pick a time of the year when warm weather is expected. But you should ALSO avoid times when rain is frequent. Find a happy median in your region & plan for that.
This section will outline many of the details that can impact the cost of painting the exterior of your house.
Types of Siding
Stucco. It looks great if it’s done right, but flaws can stick out clear as day. And if your house is covered in this material you can expect to pay a premium for a repaint. Any cracks that have developed since your last coat will need to be patched, accumulated dirt & grime will need to be washed away, and you’ll have to buy paint specifically designed to be applied to stucco. Some “stucco-specific” paints aren’t even recommended by painters as they have a tendency to crack & chip. All of these factors make stucco one of the more expensive surfaces to revitalize with some new paint.
Vinyl. One of the biggest time constraints is the need to replace broken or damaged clapboards & vinyl sections. Otherwise, repainting vinyl is a matter of ensuring the surfaces are properly cleaned. Once prepped, the application of paint is fairly straightforward, just as it would be for an interior paint job. If you don’t have any vinyl that needs to be replaced, this should be less expensive than other types of siding.
Wood. Although painting wood is very straightforward, it’s very unforgiving. Considerable time has to be spent on repairs to damaged panels, and wood needs to be extensively treated for defense against the elements.
How Old is Your House? How Long Since Your Last Paint Job?
If you own an older house, you should expect a little bit more work to be done. There is typically more prep work needed for older homes. The longer you wait between paint jobs, the more prep work will be required. More to come on prep work.
Lead Based Paint
If your home was built pre-1978 there is a possibility there is lead paint used on the house. It’s an EPA regulation that old paint containing lead be tested whenever a house is painted. There are numerous guidelines and requirements for how to paint a house that has tested positive for lead. Expect a very high premium if your house tests positive for lead, up to 3x the normal cost to paint a home.
Big beautiful front stained front doors are going to be a big premium price. These are not easy to do, not easy to do right, and if they aren’t done right can be very costly to replace.
Depending on the type of trim you have around your windows will change the price. Some windows are vinyl with no wood trim around them. Some windows have wood trim around vinyl windows. Some windows are wood windows that crank open.
No trim is the least expensive. Trim around them is the middle. Wood windows are very time consuming to paint, usually require more prep work, and will cost quite a bit more.
How many windows you have also impacts the price.
Shutters, railings, accent colors and other detailed or custom work on a house will raise the price.
Some homes have an excessive amount of trim, while other homes have very little trim. Trim is the most time consuming part of the job.
Other Factors that May Drive Up the Price of Painting Your Home
There are obstructions that prevent paint crews from easily accessing house siding. This can include trees, bushes, steep roofs, or sloped sides of the house. 3-story walk out basements with very tall back sides can increase your price as well.
Color changes can also significantly change the price. Yellows and light greens have a very hard time covering in one coat, sometimes even 2 coats. Depending on the colors you choose might require additional coats which adds to labor time and materials required.
And of course, additional coats or using higher end products will increase the price of your job.
This is not an extensive list, but covers the most common things people will run into when pricing out the exterior painting project.
Scroll down for examples (with pictures) of how homes have been priced for a new paint job
Ball Park Price: $3400-$3800
Ball Park Price: $3400-$3800
Ball Park Price: $3600-$4000
Ball Park Price: $5500-$6000
>>Click Here to Download Our Exact Estimating Formulas<<
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