How much does it cost to paint the exterior of a house?

The average cost to paint the exterior of a house will mostly depend on the square footage. Experts weigh in on whether it's worth doing, DIY or by hiring a pro.

Woman painting outside of a house DIY
(Image credit: Getty Images: Guido Mieth #: 1152409215)

Sun, wind and rain all take their toll on the outside of your home. If yours is beginning to look shabby – or you simply want to give it a fresh new look with a different color – you’ll want to know about the cost to paint the exterior of a house.

Naturally, the size of your home will influence the final bill, but so will factors such as the style of the home, the state of the exterior, and the type of siding it has. Some types are easier and quicker to paint, reducing cost. 

We’ve put together all the details here, so you can see what you might expect to pay when you're painting the exterior of a house, along with expert advice – including whether you should DIY or not.

The average cost to paint the exterior of a house

The cost to paint the exterior of a house is between $0.75 and $2 per square foot, according to Bailey Carson, home care expert at Angi. ‘But it can range from $0.50 to $3.50 per square foot,’ she says. 

To get an idea of what it might cost for your home you can do some simple math. ‘Find the total finished area – the perimeter of your home multiplied by the height – and the total paintable area – subtract the area of doors and windows from the total finished area,’ says Andre Kazimierski, CEO, Improovy Painters Glenview. Multiply the result by the high and low values in the range of costs above for an estimate for your home.

However, be mindful that there are additional elements that play into what you will pay. ‘Factors like location, accessibility, siding material and the condition of your home all play a role in determining the overall cost of the project,’ Bailey explains. Take a look.

How does house size and style affect the cost of painting the outside?

As you would expect, the cost to paint the exterior of a house generally increases with house size since painting is priced by the square foot. However, there are additional elements that impact the final bill.

‘Accessibility also plays a big role in cost, so a three-story house will likely be more expensive to paint than a single-story house,’ says Bailey.

The style – and therefore layout – of a home is a further factor. ‘For example, ranch-style homes are typically one floor, making them less expensive than mid-century modern split-levels, which will require accessing and painting additional stories,’ explains Bailey. 

‘It typically costs between $1,500 and $3,500 to paint the exterior of a ranch-style home, while that range increases to $3,000 to $6,200 for a two-story home and $4,500 to $10,000 for a three-story home.’

How does the type of siding affect the cost to paint the exterior of a house?

Siding material is another major factor in the cost to paint the exterior of a house. ‘Some materials take very little time and effort to paint, while others can be more stubborn,’ explains Bailey. ‘Brick, for example, is a more porous material, so it will take more paint to thoroughly cover a brick wall than it will a vinyl one.’

To assist your budgeting, Bailey provides the following cost guide for common siding materials:

  • Metal: $1.50 to $2.50 per square foot
  • Wood: $1 to $3 per square foot
  • Vinyl: $1.25 to $3 per square foot
  • Concrete: $1 to $3.50 per square foot
  • Stucco: $1.80 to $3.60 per square foot
  • Brick: $1.50 to $4.50 per square foot

Which other factors determine the cost of painting a house?

Alongside considerations about the area to be painted, the layout, and the type of siding, another crucial determinant of the cost to paint the exterior of a house is where you live.

‘Location is a huge factor when determining the cost of your exterior painting project, mainly due to the cost of labor and materials,’ says Bailey. She gives the following examples of costs to paint a 1,500 square foot home by region:

  • Far West: $4,500
  • Rocky Mountain: $2,900
  • Southwest: $2,400
  • Plains: $2,300
  • Great Lakes: $3,000
  • Southeast: $3,315
  • Mideast: $4,300
  • New England: $4,800

If you’re calling in a contractor to paint your home, Bailey emphasizes the importance of getting in-person estimates from local pros before committing. ‘Quotes will be more accurate if the pros have seen your home and can take into account its size, layout and the condition of your siding,’ she says.

Can you save by painting the exterior of your home yourself?

Painting the exterior of a house is a job you could DIY, of course. ‘If you’re handy and you have a one-story house, you can save money by painting your house exterior yourself,’ says Bailey. ‘The average cost of hiring a pro is $3,000, while DIY usually costs between $500 and $1,000.’

However, above one story and the job becomes more complicated with safety at height also an issue, and calling on a pro could well be worthwhile. 

Considering selling your home soon? ‘I typically recommend my clients hire a professional to paint the exterior of a home if possible because curb appeal is everything and that first impression is the most important,’ says real estate consultant Chase Michels of Compass, The Michels Group.  

‘It is also very time-consuming to paint an entire exterior and I don’t think most people realize how long it will take,’ he says.

Case study: historic Charleston home

Design expert Beth Martin recently finished a project on a one story 1,200 square foot house built in 1937 in Charleston, SC. 

‘It still has original siding and windows, and over time, the humid weather and brutal sun had caused damage to the paint job,’ explains Beth. ‘The owners also allowed vegetation to grow into the siding and roof, which added a ton of extra prep work. Even though the house was not large, it cost just over $10,000 due to the previous environmental damage. This could have been avoided by maintaining the growth of the greenery around the house and pressure washing yearly. Historic homes need to be re-painted more frequently, typically about every five years, due to the age of their materials.’

Sarah Warwick
Sarah Warwick

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes – long enough to see fridges become smart, decorating fashions embrace both minimalism and maximalism, and interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves testing the latest home appliances, revealing the trends in furnishings and fittings for every room, and investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper. For Realhomes.com, Sarah reviews coffee machines and vacuum cleaners, taking them through their paces at home to give us an honest, real life review and comparison of every model.

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