Repainting your home's exterior is the perfect way to breathe new life into tired and dated siding. It gives your home some major curb appeal, and picking the right color can transform the style of your home.
However, exterior painting is a bit more labor-intensive than interior painting. There is more prep work to ensure your exterior paint is weatherproof and durable. This translates into higher costs when compared to interior painting, but it's worth it.
Few things can make such an important first impression like exterior painting can. But before you begin picking out your paint color, you'll need to figure out how much painting your exterior will cost you—let's find out.
Cost of Exterior Painting Per Square Foot
As of 2021, it cost anywhere from $0.50 to $3.50 a square foot to paint the exterior of your home, meaning that the cost of painting a 1,800-square-foot home could cost you as little as $900 or as much as $6,300.
Why the wide range? Not all exteriors are created equal—it costs more to paint certain sidings or certain homes, the cost of labor can vary depending on your area, and living in an HCOL area means your project will simply cost more overall. But let's break it down even more than that.
Cost of Painting Different Siding
Rougher, more irregular exterior siding like brick or stucco will cost more to paint than smoother surfaces like vinyl or wood. Repainting stucco can cost about $1.50–$3.50 a square foot, while it costs about $1–$2 less per square foot to paint wooden exteriors. The reason for the disparity is often found in the cost of labor—it takes more work to get paint on an irregular surface than it does to get paint on a smoother one.
Do It Yourself or Hire Someone Else?
Speaking of labor, can you repaint the exterior of your home without professional help? Yes, but expect it to take some time—and skill. Exterior painting involves a lot more than simply slapping a coat of your favorite off-white onto your siding and calling it a day. Instead, there's plenty of prep work that has to happen to make sure the paint will adhere well and last. Your exterior has to be washed, repaired, caulked and primed before you can even begin painting.
However, all this hard work happens for a reason. After all, first impressions mean a lot, and the paint job on your house is definitely one of the first things people will notice when they look at your home.
Is DIY-ing the entire exterior painting job a bit too labor-intensive for you, but you're still hoping to save some money? Consider doing some of the prep work yourself to save on labor, like patching holes, removing hardware, and cleaning your existing siding.
Cost of Labor
If you decide to hire someone to paint your exterior, you'll pay in labor what you save in time. The cost of labor can vary wildly, so make sure to reach out to multiple companies in order to have a good selection of quotes.
On average, you'll pay $0.50—$3.50 per square foot for a painter, but if your painter charges hourly, expect to pay anywhere from $25–$75 an hour. However, most painting projects are bid based on the cost of the entire project, not by the hour.
Cost of Painting Supplies
Even if you pay someone to paint your exterior, you'll still have to pay for paint. When it comes to buying paint for your exterior, it's important to consider both quality and quantity. Quality exterior paint will increase the longevity and durability of your painted exterior, even if it costs more initially.
How do you know your exterior paint is a quality one? Look for paints that are 100% pigment latex and paints that are high in pigments and binders, also called volume solids. These paints are often branded as premium or super-premium at your local home improvement store.
Another thing to consider is the quantity of your paint. Each gallon of paint normally covers 300 to 400 square feet. You'll probably need at least two coats of paint for your exterior, so double the number of gallons you think you'll need.
How Often Does Your Home Need to Be Repainted?
On average, you'll need to repaint your home every five to eight years. If you live in an area with a particularly brutal climate, like one with lots of moisture, freezing, or heat, you may need to repaint every four to six years. However, you can repaint less if you make sure adequate prep work is being done on your home and high-quality exterior paint is being used.
Smart Ways to Save Money
You can save money in a number of ways to keep project costs low. One of the easiest ways to save money is by considering the color choice of your exterior paint. Darker, richer hues will not only require more coats of paint, but they'll also fade sooner, meaning you'll pay more money now and down the road. Instead, consider a lighter or more muted color that will require fewer coats of paint initially and prove to be more colorfast.
Get the pop of color without the price by choosing a dramatic color for your home's trim or front door. It will require less paint than the siding and be easier to repaint when the time comes.
Another way to cut down costs is to repaint sooner rather than later. If you wait to repaint until paint is flaking and falling off, your painter will have to scrape all the old paint off, leading to a dramatic increase in labor costs. Instead, consider repainting before you see tell-tale signs of wear and tear.
Your Estimated Total, Based on Your Area
The cost of painting your home's exterior can depend a lot on location too—which is backed up by location-specific data from HomeAdvisor. As of 2021, repainting a typical home in an HCOL area like San Francisco costs an average of $4,343. That same home in Seattle cost closer to $4,022.
Moving eastward, in Denver, exterior painting costs an average of $2,932. In Houston, painting your home's exterior would put you back $2,491, much less than it would in New York City, at $3,526. Heading south, towards Atlanta, this project would cost you $3,111. The national average for repainting your home costs a similar amount—$2,963.
How Much Does It Cost to Paint a House? HomeAdvisor. May 11, 2021