Ashburn, VA

How Much Does Exterior House Painting Cost?
$1,800–$3,200

Painting the exterior of your home costs an average of $2,500 (for a 2,400 sq. ft. two-story home), with most homeowners paying between $1,800–$3,200. In general, the average cost per 100 square feet is $60–$160. Get free instant estimates from professional painters near you.

How Much Does It Cost To Paint a House Exterior?

Author: Daniel W.
Millions of people ask HomeGuide for cost estimates every year. We track the estimates they get from local companies, then we share those prices with you.

Whether you have a new home and it needs your unique colors added to it, or your home’s exterior is in a sorry state, a paint job can give it a completely new look. Of all the remodeling jobs you can do on a home, painting the exterior is one of the cheapest, instant returns on your resale value compared to other projects. It can even make the difference between buyers wanting to see your home or electing to not go at all. Painting can also protect your home from inclement weather, mildew and mold, insect damage, and corrosion; and a good paint job can last 10–15 years.

This pricing guide covers:

Average Cost to Paint a House Exterior

While it can be easy to read a stated cost per sq. ft. to paint your home, there are so many variables in pricing that you need to take them all into account before coming to your own estimate on how much it will end up costing. 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–$3,200.

Exterior Painting Cost by Square Foot

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.

In general, without adding any extra costs for painting doors, trim, windows, and different types of siding, it can cost the following to paint your home’s exterior.

Home Size Square Feet Average Costs
One story 800–1,800 $780–$1,750
Two story 1,800–2,400 $1,750–$2,330
Three story 2,400–4,500 $2,330–$4,370

The average for painting labor across the country is $30–$40/hour before you pay for paint, painting supplies, location costs, and equipment. On average, expect to pay $60–$160 /per 100 square foot for exterior painting.

Exterior House Painting Brown

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Cost Breakdown To Paint a House

Prep work – Added into the basic cost of a paint job is a power wash of the exterior, repair of minor cracks and holes in trim and siding, and priming.

Paint and painting supplies – Paint costs come from two painters in one hour and one gallon of paint/100 sq. ft.. Experienced painting contractors will already have the main supplies needed. Average paint cost is $21/gallon. At 1 gallon/100 sq. ft., an 1,800 sft home using 18 gallons of paint will spend $380 on the paint alone. What quality of paint are you willing to pay for? Some budget-priced paints will only look good for a few months while others will last for many years.

If you’re going from a darker to lighter or lighter to darker color, you’ll need two apply at least two coats of paint.

Labor – The US average is $30–$35/hour for painting. If it takes two painter hours per 100 sq. ft., an 1,800 sq. ft. home will take about 36 hours to prep and paint, coming to $1,080–$1,260 for the labor.

Scaffolding/boom lift – Sometimes these have to be rented if extra precautions are needed. Boom lift rental is $825–$1,330/week.

Siding replacement and removal – Some siding on older homes might need so much repair that it is more cost-effective to replace the siding rather than repair it all and then paint over it. Expect to pay  $1,550–$3,050 for the removal and disposal of old siding and $4,000–$14,000 for new siding and installation. And more if the wood underneath is wet and rotten and needs structural repair work.

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Average Costs to Paint Siding

The type of trim and siding on the home will dictate how much prep work is need, which types of paints to use, and how much repair work needs to be done before even primer is put on. What is the siding made of? Not all paints can be sprayed and look good because they need to be thinned to work in the sprayer. Spraying, although cheaper, isn’t as precise as painting with a roller or brush, and masking can take hours. Here are the common siding materials, prep work needed, and price to paint:

Cost to Paint Metal or Aluminum Siding

Metal will have to be sanded and primed with two coats of oil-based primer before it can be painted. To clean it, they’ll scrub it with a solution of TSP and water. Hose it off and wait for it to dry before painting. Spray paint doesn’t stick to metal well. You can expect to pay $29 /per 100 square feet to brush paint metal siding.

Cost to Paint Brick Masonry Siding

Brush painting brick and masonry costs $30 /per 100 sq. ft., whereas roll painting costs $52/ per 100 sq. ft., and spray painting costs $18 /per 100 sq. ft.. Your contractor will sweep or scrub the concrete first with a dry brush, and then clean it thoroughly with trisodium phosphate (TSP) and warm water, then let it dry.

Cost to Paint Wood Siding

Wood is probably the most time-consuming when it comes to preparing it for paint. It has to be scraped and sanded until there isn’t a single chip or bit of loose paint in sight. Any wood siding or trim with wood rot will need to be replaced, and all cracks and holes need to be filled with epoxy filler. Brush painting and roll painting wood siding costs $43 /per 100 sq. ft., and spray painting costs $34 /per 100 sq. ft.

Exterior House Painting Yellow and Blue

Your painter should use an oil-based primer to lock in wood extractives and may consider first painting stripped wood with a water sealer/preservative if working in regularly wet conditions. It will protect the siding until its ready to be painted. Gray wood will not hold paint and will need to be sanded down to the fresh wood before it’s primed.

Cost to Paint Vinyl Siding

While vinyl siding salespeople claim it never needs to be painted, it does lose its color strength over time, and the degree of fading can vary depending on which sides get the most exposure to sunlight. Perhaps it still hasn’t faded but you don’t like the color much. You can’t go any darker than its current color, though, because the siding is designed to absorb only so much heat, and a darker color could cause it to buckle. Vinyl paint is available in many colors. Brush painting and roll painting vinyl siding costs $43 /per 100 sq. ft., and spray painting costs $34 /per 100 sq. ft.

Know that painting over your vinyl siding might negate the warranty. Check on the manufacturer’s site for guidance.

Cost to Paint Stucco Or Plaster Siding

If the house is new, you’ll have to wait for at least a month or two for the stucco to dry before you can paint it, because the uncured stucco will be too dusty and chalky to let the paint stick to it. If you’re in a rush, you can keep it wet by washing/spraying it every day in order to cure it in 7–10 days. Power washing is usually safe on stucco.

A moisture meter will let your contractor know if there’s moisture in the stucco before starting. The wetter the material, the less ready it is to be sanded, painted, finished or covered. Your contractor will use a premixed stucco repair patch material to fill any small holes and will paint on dry days so as to avoid sealing in water. Painting rough stucco requires more paint. Brush painting stucco costs $112 /per 100 sq. ft., roll painting costs $55 /per 100 sq. ft., and spray painting stucco costs $25 /per 100 sq. ft.

Cost to Paint Concrete Siding

Your contractor will sweep or scrub the concrete first with a dry brush, and then clean it thoroughly with trisodium phosphate (TSP) and warm water, then let it dry. TSP is a mostly alkaline solution that does a great job cleaning grease and oil off concrete surfaces. Brush painting concrete siding costs $138 /per 100 sq. ft., roll painting costs $50 /per 100 sq. ft., and spray painting $32 /per 100 sq. ft.

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Cost of Paint for Exterior Painting

Paint quality

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/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.

Exterior House Painting Dark Blue

Buying better paint means you may get away with fewer coats and the color won’t fade as much. It’s more durable and probably won’t harden or blister. Your paint may emit fewer VOCs. and it’s less likely to allow mildew.

While latex/acrylic paints are more popular now because of the points above, oil-based paint is still good on steps and high-traffic areas. It has a high resistance to foot traffic and works well painted on steel and cast-iron railings. Many professionals will add sand to paint for porch and patio steps for extra traction.

Based on 1 gallon covering 100 square feet and factoring in 2 coats of paint, your average cost for paint will be:

Home Size (Square Feet) $30/gallon paint cost $80/gallon paint cost
800–1,800 $240–$540 $640–$1,440
1,800–2,400 $540–$720 $1,440–$1,920
2,400–4,500 $720–$1,350 $1,920–$3,600

Painter + primer

Another type of paint is on the market that claims to be a primer and paint in one. Basically it’s just thicker paint and costs twice as much as regular paint. Most painters aren’t fans, but if you have exterior walls in excellent condition already, and the self-priming paint is the same color as the original paint color, it could certainly save painting time with one coat going on instead of two.

Primer quality

The quality of your primer can make a big difference too—it must live up to its promise of acting as a preventative and preservative and give paint good traction. According to Handyman’s Garage, the top three primers are $9–$19/quart. They are designed to resist peeling and mildew growth.

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Costs to Paint House Features

Because of the extra painting time for anything other than walls and siding, expect to pay the following average prices for each item. Price are for paint application only and do not include setup, masking, or cleanup.

Home Feature Average Cost
2’ x 4’ shutters or blinds Brush $40; Spray $13
Flush exterior door, frame and trim $53
Exterior French door, frame and trim $109
Gutters and downspouts $2.13/foot
Roof overhang to 30” wide Roll and brush $0.67/foot; Spray $0.26/foot
Roof overhang over 30” wide Roll and brush $0.51/foot; Spray $0.18/foot
Molding or trim $1.95/foot

Eaves and cornices

Add 50% for repainting overhang or painting overhang with exposed rafter tails or second color or for painting second-story overhang from scaffolding (multiply the area by 1.5). Add 100% for second story with no scaffolding or exposed rafter tails (multiply the area by 2.0).

Exterior Windows Painting Costs

This depends on the size of the window and the number of panes. To calculate the price for windows larger than 15 sq. ft., add 1’ to each side of the window and then multiply width x length. Add 2 sq. ft. for each window pane for painting the mullions, muntins, and sash and then multiply your total sq. ft. by $84/100 sq. ft.. So a 4’ x 4’ window with 4 panes will come to a total of 44 sq. ft. x $84/100 sq. ft. = $37.

Exterior House Painting Modern

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Additional Exterior Painting Costs

Height of the house

The height of your house could call for additional expense. You’ll notice that some contractors are OSHA certified, which can give you peace of mind about workers painting higher portions of your home.

According to Craftsman National Estimator, "High time difficulty factors for surface preparation and painting. Painting takes longer when heights exceed 8' above the floor. Productivity is lower when application requires a roller pole or wand on a spray gun or when work is done from a ladder or scaffold. When painting above 8', apply the following factors:

  • Add 30% to the area for heights from 8' to 13' (multiply by 1.3)
  • Add 60% to the area for heights from 13' to 17' (multiply by 1.6)
  • Add 90% to the area for heights from 17' to 19' (multiply by 1.9)
  • Add 120% to the area for heights from 19' to 21' (multiply by 2.2)

Additional prep work

Any additional time your painter needs to ensure your exterior is prepared properly for its new coat of paint will add to your cost. You’ll pay more for additional work removing old cracked or peeling paint, sanding, replacing rotting wood, etc.

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Home Exterior Paint Prep Costs

At least 90% of painting time goes into setup, prep work, and priming. The type of prepping required varies for each type of exterior material on the home, but every type must be patched and cleaned. The more thoroughly you prep and prime your hone’s exterior, the longer your paint job will last. You could save quite a bit if you do this part yourself, but it must be done properly or your contractor will have to go over what you missed. The prices mentioned are based on paying a contractor to do each job rather than one overall quote for the work from start to finish.

  • Patching – $0.51–$1.20/sq. ft.. Fill all holes and cracks with a patching compound for repairs. All patching will need to be sanded down to the same level as the painting surface.
  • Repairs – $30–$40/hour for labor. Repair or replace all loose or rotting bits of broken fascia, siding, trim and soffits.
  • Scraping/sanding – $19–$34/100 sq. ft.. Put down drop cloths, tape off and cover all windows and trim (if the trim’s to be a different color). Mist plant leaves, water the ground, and cover with fabric drop cloths. (Plastic can kill them.) Use masks when scraping to stop dust from entering your lungs, and a respirator if you are using a sander.
  • Stripping – $54–$151/100 sq. ft.. “The principle of paint strippers is penetration of the paint film by the molecules of the active ingredient, causing its swelling; this volume increase causes internal strains, which, together with the weakening of the layer's adhesion to the underlying surface, leads to separation of the layer of the paint from the substrate.”— Wikipedia. All the stripper will do is soften the paint. You’ll still have to scrub or scrape it off.
  • Power washing – $0.42–$1.40/sq. ft.. You might think you can save some money by power washing the exterior yourself, but homeowners can get a bit trigger-happy with a power washer in their hands. The pressure from the washer can take them unawares, breaking windows, leaking water into window frames and siding joints, and gouging wood. It’s probably wiser to use a hose and scrubbing brush. Rinse off any cleaning solutions completely.
  • Priming - $30–$40/hour for labor. Many of the materials above need to be primed, but not all do. If you’re changing paint colors from dark to light or light to dark, use a color similar to the top coat. That way you’re less likely to need extra coats over the standard two. Prime with a flat or eggshell paint. You can ask your paint store to add tint to the primer to match it with the top coat color. Hammer in exposed nails and spray them with a metal primer to prevent rust.
  • Caulking - $58–$99/100 ft. Once everything has been cleaned and primed, caulk every gap under ¼” wide where different materials meet, window frames, door frames, fascia boards, molding, etc. using urethane acrylics caulk that is made to withstand exterior conditions. Add extra for digging out old caulk and residue.
  • Masking – $94/sq. ft.. Protect everything that will not be painted with drop cloths, plastic sheeting, and painters’ tape.

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Choosing Your Exterior House Paint Colors

You might be limited by your homeowner’s association 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 discreet parts of the exterior to see how they really look before purchase.

Exterior House Painting Yellow

If you’re painting your house the exact same color it was before, peel off a bit of paint and bring it to your local paint store. They are very good at computer matching the color. Paint stores are better at this than general hardware stores, and they have hundreds of brochures to help you pick the best exterior house paint colors.

Lead Paint Testing & Removal

Any home built before 1978 could very well have lead paint on it, which is toxic if ingested or if the dust is inhaled while scraping it off. Removal can be costly, and you might have to move out of the home altogether for a while. “You can buy a DIY lead paint testing kit for $20–$40. There are only two widely available and EPA-approved kits: the Klean-Strip D-Lead Paint testing kit and the 3M Lead Check Swabs.” — Lifehacker.com.

Alternatively, you can pay for a home inspection. It will cost more, but the inspection will cover every possible area of toxic material contamination in the home. If your testing kit shows up positive, you’ll need to hire an inspector anyway to determine your next steps.

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Exterior House Painting Tips

When is the most cost-effective ime of year to paint a house?

Painters will agree that you should always aim to paint in the part of the year when it’s least likely to rain, has low humidity, and when the temperatures are above 50 F. Rain can wash wet latex paint off a wall, and temps that are too low can affect the way the paint sticks to the walls. Some painters will add additives to the paint if working in very high temperatures to slow down the drying time.

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.

Paint with brushes, sprayer, or roller brushes?

As you’ve seen above, the cost to paint with brushes, rollers or sprayers varies.

  • Brushes - Professionals recommend brush paint because of the mess sprayers can make and the likelihood of doubling up in some spots with paint while leaving paint thinner in other areas. They also say the finished look is better than with any other method.
  • Sprayers - Paint sprayers are messy, but with a thorough setup of sheeting, painter’s tape, and drop cloths, the mess can be caught. Most contractors speed up the spraying process by having two people doing the work—one to spray and one to follow with a roller brush and spread the paint into any cracks and corners it missed.
  • Rollers – These come in all widths and can be very useful when trying to get a straight line on trim or filling in paint on rough surfaces. They’re precise, especially in trim.

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DIY Exterior House Painting Costs

The scope of work from start to finish is huge, and painting the house yourself can end up costing more than if you hire a professional if you don’t go about it in the right way.

  • 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.
  • Your time - Two or three painters can do in 3–4 days what might take you three weeks to do because of your work schedule. What is your time worth per hour?
  • Paint cost - $30–$80/gallon per 100 sq. ft.. Keep in mind that painters can get discounts on your paint whereas you have to pay retail prices.
  • Cleanup – If you don’t set up the exterior in the right way before painting, cleanup can be a bad experience. Some DIYers have even found paint on their cars after the project.
Compare all that to your cost of $1,800–$3,200 to hire a professional exterior painter.

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Selecting Your Painting Contractor

To find your painting contractor, look for them to fulfill as many of the following requirements as possible. Then ask for a detailed proposal from your top three to include paint and cleanup costs, and pick the one that appears best.

  • Licensed contractors
  • Have a great portfolio
  • Offer a warranty on labor and materials
  • Are bonded and insured
  • Have an A or A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau
  • Have excellent ratings on HomeGuide and Google
  • Don’t ask for a large downpayment
  • Include setup and complete cleanup costs in the quote
  • Provide excellent communication from your first phone call or e-mail

Find your painting contractor today, and we hope your house will soon look amazing.

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