If your home’s exterior could use a facelift, the first step might be a fresh coat of paint. Here’s how to estimate what a new paint job will cost, and tips to save.

How much does it cost to paint a house?

To determine how much it costs to paint a house, first consider whether you plan to hire a professional painter or tackle the project as a do-it-yourself job. 

Leaving the painting to the pros

The national average for professionals to paint the exterior of a 1,500- to 2,500-square-foot home ranges between $1,000 to $6,000, according to HomeAdvisor. That breaks down to around $0.50 to $3.50 per square foot. When you hire painters, labor costs account for most of the expense, anywhere from $25 to $75 per hour. 

Your cost will also depend on your location, the size of the home, the surface you’re painting, and the type of paint you choose. For example, for a 1,000-square-foot single-story home, you might spend $1,500 to $3,500 on an exterior paint job, according to HomeAdvisor. However, for a 2,500-square-foot, two-story home, your cost might range from $3,000 to $6,200. 

Likewise, brick is a more expensive surface to paint, ranging from $3,500 to $10,500 for a 1,500- to 2,000-square-foot home, according to HomeAdvisor. The same-sized home with vinyl siding would run you between $600 and $3,500. 

DIY paint job

If you decide to DIY, you’ll have to do a bit more work to estimate your costs. In general, it can cost between $500 and $1,000 to paint the exterior of a 1,500- to 2,500-square-foot home yourself, according to HomeAdvisor. Of course, that doesn’t factor in the time commitment, which can be extensive. 

How to calculate the cost to paint a house

If you’re hiring professional painters, ask for an itemized quote showing what they’re charging for prep work, paint, and other materials, and what they’re charging for labor. 

If you’re going the DIY route, a good place to start is an online paint calculator. Home improvement stores and paint manufacturers often offer paint calculators to assist with estimating costs. After you enter the measurements (including the number of doors and windows) of the area you wish to paint, the calculator provides an estimate of how much paint you’ll need.

Once you know your material costs, consider the costs of:

Prep work

It’s almost guaranteed that the surface you’ll be painting will need some prep work. If it’s an exterior job, this might look like:

Source: HomeAdvisor
Cleaning or power washing $200-$400
Scraping, sanding, stripping $0.50-$2.50 PSF
Caulking  $0.50-$1.00 PSF
Patching $0.50-$1.50 PSF

For an interior paint job, you’ll still need to clean and tape off areas and potentially do some patch work, before paint can be applied.


If you’re doing the work yourself, you’ll need to purchase all the necessary supplies. The costs for these items vary depending on the quality you spring for. Here are some items to consider for your painting toolbox:

  • Brushes
  • Buckets
  • Caulk
  • Drop cloths
  • Ladder
  • Masking or painters tape
  • Paint pans
  • Rollers and roller handles
  • Sandpaper
  • Scrapers
  • Sprayer

How to save on house painting

Painting a home is a relatively inexpensive project, but there are ways to save even more. Here are five tips:

  1. If hiring painting professionals, do not accept time and materials bids. Require contractors to estimate the time to complete the job and quote accordingly. This’ll help save you from unexpected costs if the painter takes twice as long.
  2. Consider a paint color similar to what’s already there. If the colors aren’t too different, this can reduce the need for primer and multiple coats of paint. 
  3. Ask for referrals from family and friends, then seek multiple bids to find the optimal price. 
  4. Ask the professional for references and look the contractor up online to see if you can find customer reviews. This might help you avoid hiring someone who’ll do a poor job and cost you more in the long run. 
  5. Do the prep work yourself. This step can help save you money, and takes up more of your time, so consider that trade-off.