Prime. Dark colors, stains (once sealed), and previously unpainted surfaces (drywall, spackle, etc.) will need a primer coat, usually white. NOTE: most paint stores & home improvement centers will now tint primer (at no charge) to match fairly close to the color of the finished coat, that way two coats of primer need not be applied.[6] Although not all surfaces need a prime coat, skip this step at your peril! Dark colors will likely show through the first -- or even the first couple-- topcoats of paint. Sealants and unpainted surfaces like spackle patches will absorb or repel moisture in a topcoat at a different level than the areas surrounding them. Applying a good primer coat will help even out these differences. Primer equalizes a wall to a uniform surface. It's like erasing a canvas before drawing a new picture. Although some will argue the point, you generally don't need to spend a great deal on primer or buy special primer. A cheap, 5 gallon (18.9 L) bucket of plain, flat white paint will usually do the trick and cover a large area. Give your primer at least 24 hours to dry (follow its instructions) before applying a topcoat.
The average cost to paint a house exterior is $2,500 for a 2,400 sq. ft. two-story home, with most homeowners paying between $1,800 and $3,200. The final cost comes out to around $0.60 to $1.60 per square foot. With so many variables in pricing, you need to take them all into account before coming to your own estimate on how much your painting project will end up costing.

A. Many homeowners purchase small sample cans of interior paint at a local home improvement store and apply each one to a different section of the wall. You should look at each color under different lighting conditions, such as natural daylight and nighttime lighting. You'll also want to consider the general color scheme of the furnishings, artwork and flooring that will be in that space.
The Ceiling. For ceilings, flat is recommended, except semigloss or satin should be used in bathrooms with showers/tubs. Some customers opt to go with a different finish for ceilings in general, to create a specific design look, i.e. high gloss ceilings on dining room tray ceiling to make a statement, or eggshell ceilings throughout to look modern and make a statement. 
Choose the best quality paint you can afford; it lasts longer. Experts estimate that the outside of a house should be painted every 5-7 years, but less-expensive paint may start peeling or fading in 4 years or less while really high-quality paint will hold up a bit longer. Better Homes & Gardens[1] describes and compares the different types of exterior paint while FastFacts.com[2] reviews specific brands.

Get estimates from several contractors, request and contact references, search for complaints at the Better Business Bureau[12] and check that the company is properly bonded and insured, as well as licensed in your state[13] . Only pay a small deposit, and don't pay the entire amount until the job is finished to your complete satisfaction (both painting and cleanup).
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.
Paint can be expensive. Buying too much paint is particularly frustrating since paint stores won’t refund an already tinted gallon of paint. That’s why it’s recommended to first buy around 80% of the estimated paint you need and then purchase the remainder when you’re almost finished. Factors such as square footage, surface type, and quality of paint all play into how much paint you’ll need. Paint stores should be able to help you determine how much paint you need for a specific job. If you aren’t sure how much paint to buy, ask a salesperson for advice.
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.

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.
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There are a few ways to prevent your interior house paint from fading — or stop it from getting worse. One simple fix is to install shades or curtains to block incoming sunlight. If you don’t want to shut out the light, you can also tint your windows with a UV protectant. However, fading shouldn’t be much of an issue if you use high-quality interior house paint.

Even if you hire a professional, you may need to play a small role in your house painting process. This could be anything from moving your furniture to the center of the room to removing switch plates and outlet covers. Ask your painter how much prep work is expected of you before hiring. The amount of work you’re willing to do could help you narrow down the right painter for the job.


There are a few ways to prevent your interior house paint from fading — or stop it from getting worse. One simple fix is to install shades or curtains to block incoming sunlight. If you don’t want to shut out the light, you can also tint your windows with a UV protectant. However, fading shouldn’t be much of an issue if you use high-quality interior house paint.
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.
However, some water-based paints are easier to work with than others. The first coat of paint may not provide complete wall coverage, or the color may not be quite as saturated. Some of these problems can be addressed with a separate primer coat, but this is a time-consuming project. The ideal solution is using a higher-quality paint that combines a primer and a finish paint in a “one coat” product.

Your homeowner’s association might limit you as to how unique you can be with your exterior paint choices. Check with them first to make sure you don’t have to redo your hot-pink-plus-unicorns murals. It can help to drive around your neighborhood to see what your neighbors have chosen and come up with a color scheme that fits in. If you’re not sure, stores can give you small cans of paint so you can paint patches of color in discrete parts of the exterior to see how they look before purchase.


Homeowners report that painting a home’s exterior costs an average of $2,923 with a typical range between $1,734 and $4,119. The average price per square foot ranges from $0.50 to $3.50 depending on your location, condition of your exterior and accessibility. Stucco and brick cost an average of $1 per square foot more than vinyl or wood. The average 2,500 square feet home costs an average of $4,000, though it can range from $1,250 to $8,750.
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