Although interior house paints can be purchased in pint-size samples or five-gallon buckets, the standard measurement is by the gallon can. A gallon can of basic water-based paint can be found on store shelves for less than $25, but the additional cost of a primer coat should be considered. One-coat paint/primer blends for most DIY projects should cost between $30 and $60 a gallon, including customized tinting. VOC levels should be lower as well. For high-end painting projects featuring designer colors or full-gloss finishes, expect to pay $60 or more per gallon.


Test different paint swatches. The last thing you want to do is paint a whole room and then decide you despise the color (yes, it happens!). Try out different paint colors on the surface before choosing the paint that you want. Buying sample sizes will help you save money. The caveat: paint color samples are not real paint, so if you try to finish or touch up a project with samples, the paint will fade.
While many professionals use paint sprayers, they can leave drips and uneven coatings in the hands of an inexperienced user. If you’re set on DIY house painting but don’t have much practice, you may want to stick to rollers and brushes. Brushes are great for edges and smaller areas, while rollers can be used to paint large and long surfaces like siding and trim.

At least 90% of painting time goes into setup, prep work, and priming. The method of prepping required varies for each type of exterior material on the home, but every project must be patched and cleaned. The more thoroughly you prep and prime your home’s exterior, the longer your paint job will last. You could save quite a bit if you do this part yourself, but it must be done correctly, or your contractor will have to go over what you missed. The prices mentioned are based on paying a contractor to do each job rather than one overall quote for the work from start to finish.

Each type of siding will need to be treated differently when it comes to primer and paint at different price points. Exterior paint costs between $35–$80 per gallon depending on the quality you choose. It’s not always true that the more you pay for your paint, the longer-lasting your paint job will be, but you do need to be careful when researching exterior paints to make sure it can weather the local elements well.
Supplies and Equipment – Scraping, sanding, and stripping tools and supplies; patching compound; power washer rental; primer; caulk; masking supplies; painters’ tape; ladders and scaffolding; paint pans; brushes, sprayers, and roller brushes all cost money, even if you do it yourself. Consider all of those tools and equipment sitting in your garage for the rest of your life vs. paying an experienced painter to do it all for you at a price that saves you weeks of time. Expect to pay $5–$6 per 100 sq. ft. for supplies and materials.
If the exterior of your home is unpainted or has been scraped and sanded, you will want to lay down a coat of primer. Make sure that the primer you’re using is right for the surface you’re painting. While most surfaces can be treated with acrylic primer, some surfaces, like cedar and redwood, require oil-based primers. The oil stops the wood tannins from bleeding through the topcoat.

When determining the total cost of a home’s exterior project, you’ll want to include things like the trim, a garage, foundation, windows and doors. All work is calculated by square footage and sometimes by the linear foot, such as in the case of trim. Your contractor will give you a price for the entire project unless you specifically ask for each item separately.
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