On average, expect to pay $0.60–$1.60 per square foot for exterior painting. The average for painting labor across the country is $30–$40 per hour before you pay for paint, painting supplies, location costs, and equipment. To get a very general estimate, though, painting contractors will take into account the square footage of your home and the number of stories and also factor in normal prep work.
An example of the wall measurement would be: 40 linear feet of bedroom space, x 8 wall height, = 320, x 2 = 640. Minus 1 door (60) and 2 windows (80) = 500 sq feet being painted. Then divide the 500 by 400 (sq feet per gallon), and you get 1.25 gallons (4.73 L) needed for that room. For this, you'd need 1 gallon (3.8 L) and 1 US-quart (950 ml). If the amount it comes out to is over 1.3, we recommend just getting 2 gallons (7.6 L) so that you have leftovers if needed, since 2 US quarts (2,000 ml) costs essentially the same as a gallon in most stores.
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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.
Summer is the busiest time of the year for painters, with some booked up to six months ahead of time, so book well in advance. Homebuyers getting VA loans have run into difficulties with this, so if you’re getting a VA renovation/rehabilitation loan, get all your painting and inspection estimates and work dates booked before you fill out any paperwork with a closing date, or the house will not be move-in ready in time.
Prep the house. Wash the walls, remove wallpaper, patch, spackle, seal stains, dry and sand before you attempt to paint. Now is also the time to apply painters tape for trimming, lay drop cloths, etc. Remove all outlet and light switch face plates, collecting screws in a zip-top bag (good opportunity to wash the face plates all at once as well). You can also buy your paint at this time. Don't wait until the last minute. It can take hours to mix many gallons of all your colors. Remember that traffic triples at your home-supply and hardware stores on weekends. Buy on a weekday if possible.
A gallon of paint costs $15 to $40 and covers about 350 square feet with one coat. Designer varieties can run over $100 per gallon. Your contractor pays 50 percent less than what it runs in a home improvement store. You’ll also need to spend another $20 to $100 on supplies like brushes, rollers, masking paper and plastic. A professional will have these items on-hand.
Latex paint refers to water-based paint, the most popular and environmentally friendly paint. Since latex paints provide great color retention, they’re ideal for exterior walls that face a lot of weathering. Latex paints are also a good option for interior walls that are subjected to a lot of moisture, such as bathrooms and laundry rooms. Additionally, latex paints dry faster than oil-based alternatives and produce fewer odors.
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?
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.
In addition, paint features such as mold and mildew resistance are important cost factors. Many mold-inhibiting bathroom paints, for instance, cost substantially more than ordinary latex-acrylic paint—sometimes close to twice the cost. Also, paints that come with warranties from the manufacturer may be more expensive depending on the length of the warranty. (A two-year warranty is standard.)
It is helpful then to outline your wall with 2 or 3 inches of primer around the edges and frames before priming entirely the wall. Such a technique should help create a professional look by eliminating drips and splatters. A handheld brush is the best choice for this. For the actual primer application, roller paint can provide extra convenience. Spread the primer pain in V or W-shaped strokes. Once the primer has dried, sand down the bumps and wipe the walls down with a damp sponge.