Couple with paint swatches

Cost To Paint A House In 2021

Hanna Kielar8-Minute Read
December 10, 2020

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Whether you’re looking to add curb appeal to your house before listing it on the market or make a new home feel more like your own, painting can make your home feel like new.

However, if getting your house painted is something you’ve never had experience planning before, it can be useful to learn what your options are and how much it will cost to paint a house.

Professional Painters Vs. DIY Paint Jobs

While there are plenty of home improvement tasks that can be taken on by an average homeowner, painting your home is a job that may be better handled by a professional.

One reason for this is that the life of the paint job will increase and the likelihood that there are significant errors will decrease if you hire a seasoned professional.

This can be well worth the cost if you are going to stay in your home for many years, or if you want to impress potential buyers.

However, if you’re highly motivated and determined to handle the work yourself, there is still a great deal of planning that should take place in order to ensure that the job is done correctly and cost-effectively.

The Cost Of House Painting

The current average cost to paint a house exterior is $2.50-$4 per square foot. To paint the interior, the average cost is $1.50-$3 per square foot. These prices are contingent on the market in your area and what the features of your home are.

For example, the price of painting the interior of a home may be more if you are looking to have the trim, ceilings, and walls done rather than just the walls. The average cost of painting just the walls typically falls around $.50 per square foot, but does not include the cost of taping and other preparation work.

Exterior Painting

If the average cost for painting the exterior walls of your home averages $3-$4 per square foot, then a 2,400-square-foot home would cost about $7,200. The Painting and Decorating Contractors of America’s most recent estimates for the average cost of labor and materials to have your house professionally painted include all costs in this estimate.

If you were to paint the exterior of your home on your own, you should purchase paint that is specifically engineered for that purpose. You should also purchase a primer. You will also want to consider if you need to purchase gutter paint, porch paint or stain, a different color for the trim or front door, and the material that your home is made of. Stucco and brick will use about 50% more paint than a home that has aluminum siding. The average can of paint or primer will cover about 400 square feet, and most professional painters recommend one coat of primer followed by two coats of paint.

With all of that in mind, a 2,400-square-foot home will likely cost $2,000 – $6,000, depending on what your home is made of, how many supplies you purchase, and the quality of the supplies. You’ll also want to consider all the supplies you require and ask a professional if you need to clean the exterior of your home before painting it.

Interior Painting

If the cost for painting the interior walls of your home averages $1.50-$3 per square foot, then a 2,400-square-foot home would cost about $4,000.

This number could vary greatly depending on if you have a lot of walls or open spaces, if you plan to have the details such as trim and windows updated, and the quality of the materials used.

If you were to paint the interior of your home yourself, you should know all the supplies that you need to purchase. In addition to paint, you will want to cover and protect your floors with plastic covers, you may need a ladder, gloves, ventilation, tape and different types of brushes.

Professionals recommend one coat of primer followed by two coats of paint for interior surfaces. A can of paint covers about 400 square feet of a wall, so one can of paint typically equates to one coat of every wall in a 12-foot by 12-foot room. The average cost of painting the interior of a 2,400-square-foot home yourself will be about $1,500-$2000.

Find a pro to help.

Find a top-rated painter to help give your home a fresh look.

What You’re Paying For: Hiring A Professional Painter

When you pay for a high-quality paint job from an experienced professional, you’re likely going to be paying a good deal more than if you were to paint your home’s exterior or interior by yourself.

While it’s certainly a worthwhile investment, it can be helpful to have a sense of where exactly your money is going in this transaction.

Labor Costs

Hiring a professional painter to do the work on the exterior and/or interior of your home, the biggest cost you’ll incur will be for the time and labor they put into the job. Many professionals charge an hourly rate for their services, while others charge a flat rate.

Most painters will also charge additional fees for any travel required, for short-notice jobs, or for excessive prep work they’ll be required to complete.

Square Footage

The more square footage you have in your home, the more work a professional is going to have to do, and therefore the more expensive the paint job is going to be.

It is important to note that not every 2,400-square-foot home has the same amount of wall space, so this will affect the pricing from one home to another.


The cost of the paint you use on your house can vary. The finish, the color, and whether or not you choose to use a primer can all affect the cost. If the paint is being applied to the outside of your house, what kind of exterior siding you have on your home will affect the price as well.

What You’re Paying For: Doing It Yourself

If you do decide to forego a professional’s assistance, the process of painting your house can still be expensive and time-consuming. It is helpful to have a sense of what you’re getting yourself into before you get started.

Prep Work

In order to make your interior or exterior walls ready for painting, you’ll likely have to put a fair amount of time and money toward sufficiently prepping them. This can include purchasing cleaning supplies and scrubbing the walls. If you are painting external walls, you will likely need to power clean them. You may also need to sand any uneven wall surfaces or repair minor holes and cracks.

Paint And Supplies

While you’ll be saving a significant amount in labor costs, you’ll still have to shell out a substantial amount of money for materials needed to do the work properly. These supplies include brushes and rollers, ladders, painter’s tape, drop cloths and more.

Additionally, just as you would if you hired a professional, you will also see varying prices for paint depending on the type and quality you choose.


Time isn’t technically a monetary expense, but it’s still a cost of painting your house yourself that you need to plan for. It might be a process that eats up a weekend or two of your time, or it might require you to take a few days off work should it prove to be more complicated or labor-intensive.

Regardless, it’s important to acknowledge that DIY house painting could end up costing you more time than hiring a professional would.

Unforeseen Expenses

Unfortunately, there are sometimes unexpected circumstances that will increase the cost of having your home painted. For example, you may need to have certain repairs made to the exterior or interior of your house before it can be painted.

Examples of this are mold removal, rot or water damage repair, fixing major holes or cracks or replacing parts that may be damaged.

However, even if you plan to paint your home yourself, these kinds of repairs are better left to professionals.

Find a pro to help.

Find a top-rated painter to help give your home a fresh look.

How To Save Money On House Painting

If you decide to hire a professional painter to complete the job, there are several ways you can still make the process more affordable. If you live in a city, there are likely plenty of professionals to choose from in your area, and it helps to know what to look for in a painter.

Choose Your Professional Painter Carefully

It is important to start by doing your research upfront to avoid headaches down the road. You should start by selecting a professional painter who is highly rated by previous clients and provides their services for a reasonable price.

You may want to find multiple painters who have great reviews and get estimates from each of them. This will help you get a strong sense of what your best available option is. Don’t be afraid to ask them lots of questions regarding their process and their standard rates for the work you want to be done.

Get Estimates Ahead Of Time

Getting price estimates from your professional ahead of time can help you to gain a more accurate sense of how much the job is going to cost you. This can make it easier to build a budget around your project and will help you stick to it.

It can also be helpful to work with your hired professional under a set contract, outlining each task to be completed and an estimated cost for each of those tasks. That way, you’ll have a concrete sense of how much the process will cost you before you get started and won’t have to worry about racking up additional project costs that don’t fall within your original terms.

Test Your Paint Swatches First

When you’re trying to decide on a color, it’s wise to apply a few large test swatches on the wall you’re painting first. This will help to give you a sense of which one is your favorite. Not only that, but it can be difficult to tell in the store’s lighting what colors will look best on your wall.

Testing swatches will save you a great deal of time and money in the long run because you won’t have to repeat the entire painting process.

Testing swatches is also a way to assess the most sensible color for your space. If you can get away with fewer coats to get your desired coverage without sacrificing the longevity of the paint job, you might be able to save a little bit of money on paint cost.

Repaint In A Timely Manner

You should not wait too long to repaint your home. If you wait for visible signs of wear and tear to appear on the exterior or interior walls of your home, it can mean a whole lot more time and money spent on damage repair and prep work in addition to painting.

Planning to repaint your home before its condition noticeably worsens will also mean that you’re keeping better track of any damages that need to be fixed, which will ultimately save you money when it comes to home maintenance and avoiding surprise repairs.

The Bottom Line

It’s a good idea to weigh your options when it comes to repainting your home. Depending on your skill level and the condition of your home, it may be more cost-effective to hire someone to do the job for you rather than taking on the task yourself.

There are many ways to gain an understanding of the cost, including speaking with professionals and taking a trip to your local hardware store. At the end of the day, you should choose an option that is not only cost-effective, but leaves you happy with the finished product.

Find a pro to help.

Find a top-rated painter to help give your home a fresh look.

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Hanna Kielar

Hanna Kielar is an Associate Section Editor for Rocket Mortgage focused on personal finance, recruiting and personal loans. She has a B.A. in Professional Writing from Michigan State University.