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Decoding the Investment: Understanding the Cost of Exterior House Painting

Exterior paint acts as a shield, keeping rain, snow, and UV rays at bay. It’s not surprising that with time, it can wear down, chipping, or fading in the process. Experts recommend a fresh coat every 5 to 10 years to keep your home looking its best. The cost changes depending on factors like the size & height of your house. On average, painting a 2,000-square-foot home can cost around $5,200, while a three-story abode might cost $12,000. Regardless of your home’s specifics, expect to pay between $1 to $4 per square foot. Let’s discuss the factors influencing costs.

FACTORS AFFECTING EXTERIOR PAINTING COST

When it comes to the total cost of an exterior paint job, the price of paint itself often takes a back seat. For instance, a typical single-story, 2,000-square-foot home usually requires about six gallons of paint to fully cover it with two coats. This means that opting for cheaper, lower-quality paint won’t necessarily save you much money in the long run. It’s generally wise to invest in the highest quality paint your budget permits. Not only does better paint offer enhanced visual appeal, but it also tends to maintain its attractiveness for a longer period, extending the time between necessary repaints.

TYPE OF PAINT

When it comes to exterior paint, you’ll typically encounter three main types: latex, acrylic, and oil-based. Oil-based paints tend to be a bit pricier compared to the others. However, it’s essential to base your choice on the surface you’re painting, rather than solely on the price tag. Each type has its own set of characteristics and is better suited for certain surfaces, so it’s important to select the right one for your specific needs.

1. LATEX

Latex paint is water-based, so it’s not very toxic and cleans up easily. It’s great for big jobs like painting walls outside because it spreads well and dries fast. People like it because it’s cheap and easy to find. Plus, it’s tough and can handle changes in the surface underneath. You can get it for $20–$70 per gallon, and there are often bigger buckets for sale, too.

2. ACRYLIC

Acrylic paint can be water-based, known as latex acrylic paint, or solvent-based, with added chemicals for flexibility. It’s more weather proof than latex but not as fast-drying or easy to spread. Prices are similar, ranging from $20 to $70 per gallon for both types.

3. OIL

Oil-based paints are less common due to their strong odor and release of hazardous compounds when wet. They’re safer for outdoor use and tend to dry harder than water-based paints. However, they’re more prone to cracking and fading and harder to clean. Expect to pay $30–$90 per gallon. They’re best for trim, doors, and smaller details.

TYPE OF FINISH

Paints can be classified by their finish or sheen. The shinier the paint, the pricier it tends to be, but the difference isn’t huge. However, not all finishes are good for outdoor use. Here’s a breakdown of costs and uses for common outdoor paint types:

1. FLAT

Flat or matte paint has a smooth, non-glossy finish and spreads easily. However, it’s not very durable and can be damaged by cleaning products or power washing. Expect to pay $20–$40 per gallon.

2. EGGSHELL

This paint type is a top pick for exterior walls because it offers good coverage, durability, and a subtle shine. It’s less likely to chip than matte paint and gives a smoother look than satin. Expect to pay $30–$60 per gallon for eggshell finish paint.

3. SATIN

Satin paint is a bit more glossy than eggshell. You’ll typically pay $30–$60 per gallon for this type of paint.

4. SEMI-GLOSS

Consider this paint type if you want a noticeable shine and resistance to stains. The higher gloss can highlight imperfections, but it’s great for cleaning, especially in dusty or muddy areas. Expect to pay $40–$80 per gallon for semi-gloss paint.

5. HIGH-GLOSS

High-gloss paint is super reflective and tough, perfect for small spots. It’s great for trim, windows, and doors because it’s water-resistant. Costs around $50–$90 per gallon.

BRAND OF PAINT

Paint brands can influence the price a bit, but the type and finish matter more. Still, some brands are cheaper if you’re budget-conscious.

You can find budget-friendly brands like Benjamin Moore, Glidden, or Behr at most home improvement stores. Their paint usually ranges from $20 to $50 per gallon, depending on type and finish. Meanwhile, Valspar, PPG, and Sherwin-Williams are a bit pricier, around $35 to $75 per gallon.

To figure out how much paint you need for your outdoor project, use this formula:

EXTERIOR HOUSE PAINTING COST BY SQUARE FOOT

The main factor affecting the cost to paint exterior of house is the house’s size. A bigger house means more surface area to cover. However, houses with the same square footage might have different painting needs because of features like windows and doors. 

AVERAGE EXTERIOR PAINTING COST BY SQUARE FOOTAGE

Here’s the average total cost to paint the exterior of the home based on square footage:

Home Square Footage Total Cost
3000 $3000-$12000
2500 $2500-$10,000
2000 $2000-$8000
1800 $1800-$7200
1500 $1500-$6000
1200 $1200-$ 4800
1000 $1000-$4000
800 $800-$3200
EXTERIOR HOUSE PAINTING COST BY NUMBER OF STORIES 

The number of stories affects painting costs because it means more surface area and higher labor expenses. It can also impact accessibility and safety, especially if taller ladders or scaffolding are required. Painting a multi-story home takes more time to finish due to these factors.

AVERAGE COST OF EXTERIOR PAINTING BY NO. OF STORIES

Here’s the average total cost to paint a house’s exterior based on the number of stories:

No. of Stories Total Cost
3 $5000-$12000
2 $3500-$8000
1 $1000-$6000
EXTERIOR HOUSE PAINTING COST BY SIDING 

The stuff that’s on the outside of your house can affect how much it costs to paint. Some materials like wood or vinyl need more prep or specific paint, but they’re usually cheaper to paint because they take paint well and might already be primed.

Metal siding and brick can be painted, too, but they might cost more depending on the finish and how many coats you need. Stucco houses can also be pricier to paint because their texture needs a lot of prep work and extra materials and labor to cover well.

AVERAGE COST OF EXTERIOR PAINTING BY SIDING TYPE

Here’s a table that gives you the average cost per foot to paint different types of home siding.

Type Cost by Square Foot
Wood $1-$3
Vinyl $1-$2.50
Stucco $3-$5.50
Exterior Foundation $1-$4
Concrete $1-$3
Brick $2.50-$5
Aluminum/Metal $1-$4
EXTERIOR PAINTING COST BY PROJECT TYPE

The outside of your house isn’t just about the walls. Even if your walls are fine, painting things like trim, shutters, and doors can give your home a fresh look. Some painters might charge by square or linear foot for these extras, while others might give you a price for the whole project. 

AVERAGE COST OF EXTERIOR PAINTING BY PROJECT

Here’s a table that outlines the average cost of paint for the outside of your house. 

Project Area Cost
Trim $1-$4 per linear foot
Siding $1-$5 per square foot
Shutters $40-$80 per shutter
Porch $2-$4 per square foot
Gutters $1-$6 per linear foot
Fascias & Soffits $3-$5.50 per linear foot
Eaves $3-$5.50 per square foot
Exterior Door $100-$400 per door
Downspouts $1-$6 per linear foot
Detached Garage $500-$3000
Deck $2-$4 per square foot
LABOR COST

For professional exterior painting, most of the cost (around 70%–80%) goes into labor. The job includes gathering materials, prepping walls, filling gaps, sanding old paint, priming, applying two coats of paint, and cleaning up afterward.

Be cautious of painters offering low hourly rates, sometimes as low as $20. While tempting, there’s a catch. Residential painting often doesn’t require licensing, so anyone can claim to be a contractor. Experienced painters typically charge $40–$80 per hour per painter.

HOW MANY GALLONS OF PAINT ARE REQUIRED FOR EXTERIOR TRIM?

For most exterior paint jobs, expect to paint trim, soffits, windows, fascia, or gutters along with the siding. A general guideline is that 1 gallon of paint covers exterior trim for every 8 gallons of body paint. So, for a 2,500-square-foot home needing 8-10 gallons of siding paint, plan for at least 2 extra gallons of trim paint.

Double that amount for any trim color changes to account for a second coat.

Painting the first-floor trim to shield it from the elements is a manageable DIY project. Similarly, tackling front porch railing sections over weekends for prep, prime, and paint is doable for homeowners. But for trim painting needing a ladder or special gear, it’s wise to hire professionals.

5 COST-SAVING  FOR EXTERIOR PAINTING

Check out these 5 money-saving tips for your next outdoor painting project. They could spare you from costly headaches down the road!

1. PREP HOME

Before getting painting quotes, prepare the outside of your house. To save time and money, remove exterior fixtures, vines, and trim bushes for easy access. Whether your painter offers mobile quotes or requires an in-person visit, make sure the area looks manageable. This can help with determining prep costs.

2. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

To avoid paying a premium because of long wait times, find a painting contractor who isn’t booked months in advance. Some painting companies underprice to keep their crews busy, then raise prices for new projects. Look for highly-rated companies with current availability to sidestep this issue.

3. REQUEST INSURANCE BEFORE A QUOTE

Avoid uninsured painters without workers’ compensation coverage. Request copies of their liability insurance and workers’ compensation coverage before getting a quote. Exterior painting is riskier than interior work, so don’t consider a painting service without insurance to minimize your risk.

4. WARRANTY/WORKMANSHIP GUARANTEE

To save money and future headaches, get a detailed quote and ensure the contractor offers a warranty on their workmanship, typically around 2 years. Check which surfaces are covered; reputable contractors may exclude surfaces like horizontal deck boards due to varying wear and tear. Be cautious of any contractor promising no fading or peeling, as it’s unrealistic. 

5. CHOOSE EXTERIOR COLORS SMARTLY

Your choice of exterior paint colors affects the final cost. Drastic color changes mean more coats of paint, raising labor and material costs. Sticking with the same color or a similar shade can save you thousands on your painting project.

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