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How to Figure Exterior House Painting Costs for Your Home

Is your home exterior in need of a fresh coat of paint and you’re wondering how to figure out the cost? Painting your exterior is a much more affordable way to update the appearance of your home than doing a major renovation, but there are still going to be some costs involved.

How to Figure Exterior House Painting Costs

If you’re wondering how to figure exterior house painting costs accurately, we’ve put together this helpful guide just for you. Here you’ll find information on what can impact the cost of exterior house painting, tips to get a more accurate estimate, and ways to save money on the project.

Factors That Impact Exterior House Painting Costs

There are a number of factors that influence exterior house painting costs. Not all houses are the same and some seemingly small differences (like the number of windows) can impact the cost of the job in big ways. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re trying to figure out the cost of your project.

Home Size

One of the biggest factors that can determine how much exterior house painting costs is size. A large two-story home is going to cost more than a small one-story home simply because it will require far more time and materials. The square feet of exterior surfaces is different from the square feet of your interior, so keep that in mind.

In general, one-story houses will be cheaper even if they have a lot of square footage because less equipment is needed to complete the job. A two- or three-story house is going to need larger ladders and possibly lifts or scaffolding, which will add to the cost.

Type of Exterior Surface

Different surfaces are easier to cover than others so the type of surface you have can make a big difference in exterior house painting costs for both materials and labor. In general, the rougher the texture the more time and coats of paint it will take to get good coverage. Metal, wood, and vinyl siding are the cheapest exterior walls to paint while rough textures like stucco and brick are usually the most expensive.


How many people will be working at once and how long the job takes will impact how much you pay for labor. If you have a lot of detailed trim or tricky areas like trees close to the house that make it difficult to reach certain parts of the walls, that can make the job take longer which will increase your labor costs. Unless you do it yourself, in which case you can drop this exterior house painting cost from your calculations.

Shutters and Trim

You’re probably not just going to paint the walls of your house. Shutters, doors, and other trim need painting once in a while too. The price for these things can vary depending on how much there is and how detailed or intricate they are. The more intricate your trim is, the more time it will take and the more it will cost. The cost for painting trim is often calculated by linear foot. The more there is, the more expensive it will be.

one exterior house painting costs is painting shutters

Paint and Primer

Paint is one of the biggest exterior house painting costs. You can expect to pay anywhere between $20-$70 or more per gallon depending on the brand, finish, and overall quality of the paint. All paints are not created equal and you’ll find there is a huge range of choices for exterior paint from sheen to special features like mold resistance.

There is a big range in price and quality as well. Your painter will typically have a few products they recommend that they are familiar with and comfortable using. They can work with you to recommend a product that has the quality and features you want at a price you can afford.

The number of colors you choose can also impact the price of the job. For every new paint color, the painting crew has to clean all of their supplies before starting on the next color. More colors will likely also mean more masking. All of this takes time which can add to the total exterior house painting cost of the job.

Other Materials

In addition to paint, there are a number of other materials needed to complete the job like brushes, paint sprayers, ladders, and masking materials. Keeping the surfaces that won’t be painted clean and protected is a big part of the job that can often be overlooked when estimating exterior house painting costs.

Every surface that you don’t want painted (or that you want painted a different color) will have to be masked which takes time and additional materials like paper, plastic, and tape. If you have a large number of windows and doors that need to be protected by masking that will increase your exterior house painting costs.

Required Prep Work

Every house is going to require some preparation to ensure the surface is ready for paint. This could be basic things like removing outlet covers, trimming shrubs that brush up against the wall, and clearing away furniture so the painting crew has room to work.

If it has been a while since your house has been painted there may be some more complicated prep work needed before the actual painting can begin. Any broken or damaged siding will need to be replaced or repaired.

There may be some minor cracks and chips to fill in stucco, or areas around windows that need to be caulked. Accumulated dirt or grime on your siding will need to be removed before painting can begin, especially if there is any mold or mildew present.

another exterior house painting cost is preparing the surfaces before painting, which can include pressure washing.

Tips to Save on Exterior House Painting Costs

Now that we’ve covered a number of things that impact the cost of the job, here are some tips for how to save money on your exterior house painting costs. While you can’t change the square footage of your exterior, there are some practical things you can do to help keep exterior house painting costs down.

Get Competing Bids

If you are going to hire a painter, getting multiple bids will give you a good idea of what is a reasonable exterior house painting cost in your area. If you know what the average exterior house painting costs of the job are, you can be sure you’re not overpaying. Many professional house painters will be happy to come out and give you a free quote. You can get recommendations of reputable painters from friends and family, online reviews, or community pages.

Do All or Some of The Work Yourself

If you have some experience painting you may be comfortable taking on all or part of the job yourself. In this case you can save a ton of money on labor costs. If painting the entire house yourself seems overwhelming, you could do some smaller parts of the job like shutters and/or doors.

You can save on some exterior house painting costs even when hiring the job out by doing some yourself, like painting the trim.

If you don’t want to do any actual painting, you can still save money by doing some of the prep work yourself. Some of the prep work requires special skills or knowledge that you may have like fixing broken siding or doing a pressure wash of the exterior walls.

Other tasks are less complicated and you may be able to do some these yourself quite easily like trimming shrubs that block access to the walls of your house or moving patio furniture out of the way. You’ll save some on your exterior house painting costs if you don’t have to pay the painter or hire someone else to do these parts of the job for you.

Consider a Cheaper Paint Finish

The type of finish you choose can make a big difference in the overall cost of your paint, especially if you have a larger house to cover that will need a lot of paint. In general the lower the sheen the cheaper the paint. Flat paint is usually cheapest and has some advantages (like providing excellent coverage) but there are disadvantages as well (like being harder to clean). This article has tips and information on choosing the best type of paint finish for your exterior.

Don’t Wait Too Long

If you wait until your paint is very old and starting to peel and flake, a simple job can turn into a major paint project that requires a lot of intensive prep work before you can put a fresh coat of paint on. To keep exterior house painting costs down, paint your exterior before you notice any obvious signs of wear.

How to Get More Accurate Estimates for Exterior House Painting Costs

It’s really frustrating to get an estimate only to find out there is a big difference in what you’ll actually pay. Here are some tips to get an accurate estimate from the start and reduce the chance of having any unpleasant surprises later.

Get an In-Person Estimate

Exterior house painting costs will likely be higher if you pay someone to do it than if you do it yourself. But you can save yourself some stress by highering it out. For help deciding whether you DIY or hire out this job, check out this article. If you decide to have this job done rather than doing it yourself, then have your painter come out and look at the house.

painting a house exterior

Providing measurements and describing your house and needs over the phone or using an online form can give you a rough estimate, but to get a more accurate estimate your painter needs to actually see the house. There may be hard to reach areas that change the cost or things that impact the job in ways you didn’t think about. If the painter is able to look around, they can see some of these things and factor them into the price from the beginning.

Communicate Needs and Concerns

Be clear about your expectations and concerns. If you want a lot of colors or if there are things that might make the job trickier or more complicated, it will help your painter to know about these things up front. The more specifics your painter has about what work you want done, the more accurate they are able to make your estimate.

Find Out What is Included

Make sure to ask what is included in the estimate. Typically a professional painter will include labor and materials like primer and paint in the quote but they may not include things like prep work or extra repairs.

How Often to Paint the Exterior of Your Home

This varies depending on a number of factors. The quality of the previous paint job, how much harsh weather your home has to stand up to, and what material your exterior is made from can all impact how the paint wears and how soon it will need to be repainted. A good paint job will last the longest on brick, stucco, and vinyl or metal siding. These surfaces can last anywhere from 15-25 years before needing to be repainted. Wood doesn’t last as long and may need to be repainted every 10-20 years.

you will have to repaint your house from time to time.

Rest assured, a good quality paint job will last you a very long time so if you don’t want to repaint your house again in a few years you won’t have to! That doesn’t mean you have to wait until absolutely necessary to repaint your home though. There are plenty of reasons you may want to repaint your exterior sooner from improving curb appeal to changing a house color you don’t like.

When is the Best Time to Paint the Exterior of Your Home

The best time for exterior painting is when the weather is dry and moderate, in most areas this means early summer or early fall when temperatures aren’t too hot or too cold. The surfaces of your home need to be dry before painting and the weather needs to stay clear long enough for the paint to dry.

Paint takes longer to dry if the temperatures are very cold or if there is high humidity. Very high heat can cause paint to bubble. Extreme fluctuations in temperature between night and day are not ideal either because that can cause issues with how the paint dries.

Final Thoughts on How to Figure Exterior House Painting Costs for Your Home

Whether your paint is peeling and faded or you just want to update the color, a fresh coat of paint can make a huge difference in the overall look and feel of your home. Now that you’ve learned all about how to figure exterior house painting costs for your project, you’re ready to take the next steps with either DIYing it or calling some professional painters for a quote.

For more help with how to figure exterior house painting costs, check out our DIY Project Calculator. You can also find some great exterior home color ideas in this article.

Check out our Exterior Painting page for even more information on exterior painting, paints, and products.