While some professional painters will charge a flat fee for a painting project, most charge an hourly rate—about $25 to $100 per hour on average. Most painters will charge more for last-minute jobs (think 48 hours' notice or less), travel costs (if you live far away, the painter may want extra money for gas), or intensive prep work (e.g., removing mold or stains before painting). Also, depending on the painter, the rate may or may not include the cost of paint materials such as paint, primer, and supplies.
House painting is often an important step of the moving process. If your home or rental property is in need of a fresh coat (or two) of paint, you’ll have to decide how you want to proceed. Do you hire a professional painter or break out the ladder and purchase the exterior house paint yourself? Depending on the scale of the project, your time frame, and whether it’s an exterior or interior house painting job, the answer might be different. Read up on our house painting tips and tricks to see what choice is the best for you.
Compare offers. The painter offering the lowest rate may not always be the best painter for the job. Indeed, the total cost isn't the only factor to consider when choosing between multiple bids. You'll want to look at contracts side by side to ensure you're making an apples-to-apples comparison. Are the same materials being used? Are the same services included? Does the painter provide a warranty?
Exterior paint averages $25-$40 a gallon, and a 3,000-square-foot home takes 15 or more gallons of paint, or $375-$600 just for the paint. However, really premium paint can cost $50-$100 a gallon, or $750-$1,500 for that large home. Doing it yourself also requires renting a pressure washer or sprayer for $50-$100 a day; extra-long ladders or scaffolding at $20-$75 daily; and a power sprayer for $50-$100 daily, plus masking tape, drop cloths and other supplies. However, it's possible to paint a large, two-story house for materials-only costs of $400-$600.
Flat, or matte finish on the no-shine end of the finish spectrum. A friend to walls that have something to hide, flat or matte paint (the terms are interchangeable) soaks up — rather than reflects — light, has the most pigment, and provides the most coverage. It's good for adults' bedrooms and other interior rooms that won't be roughed up by kids. That's because it's tough to clean without taking paint off.
Prepping a house costs anywhere from $0.50 to $2.50 per square foot. This is almost always included in the total project price. However, the DIYer might negotiate some discounts for completing this work on their own. Be warned, proper prep is key to the quality and durability of the finish. If you do this work yourself, the contractor might no guarantee to finished product.
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.
Get quotes from at least three painters. To answer the ultimate question, how much does it cost to paint a house, you'll want to obtain several bids before deciding who gets your business. Have the painters come to view your property in person before they write you a formal bid. This way there will be no surprises when the painters show up to perform the work.
High-gloss paint is the most durable and easiest to clean of all paint sheens. It's ultra-shiny, light-reflective, and hard (think appliance-paint tough). High-glass paint has too much shine for interior walls; you'd find the reflections and drywall flaws distracting. It is a good choice for areas that sticky fingers touch, though, such as cabinets, trim, and doors.
Paper drop cloths: $3 to $5 for 9x12-feet. Paper drop cloths provide a cheap way to cover furniture or windows while painting small, indoor jobs, such as touching up window trim. They're absorbent and textured to hold paint. When you're finished, you can just fold them up and throw them away. However, paper cloths are not the best option for protecting floors since they can tear easily.
Paper/poly drop cloths: $2 to $6 for 9x12-feet. The best of both paper and plastic, these cloths are low-cost and disposable. They absorb paint drips while providing more protection for what's underneath. They also provide some protection from slipping. Plus, you can cut paper/poly drop cloths to fit the space. But, like paper, paper/poly drop cloths can rip more easily than plastic or canvas drop cloths.