How Much Does It Cost to Paint a House? The Prices Explained


Painting a house is no small task. When you consider what the exterior of a home must withstand, given the elements, paint is a vital part of the home. It has to stand up to the strong rays of the sun and be resilient against torrential downpours of rain, snow, or ice. 

So, when it comes to the cost to paint a house, you'll find it's difficult to pinpoint an exact number. Of course, the square footage comes into play. The type of paint (from oil-based to latex, and various brand names) will also sway things. 

Then, you have the cost of materials (i.e., drop cloths, painter's tape, paint sprayers, rollers, and brushes). It's a bit of a process, but we're happy to walk you through it, providing helpful tips for painting a house as we go.

Below, you'll find a loose idea of the required supplies and a rough estimate within each category. Let's get to it. 

A Note On Our Cost Estimates

What you're about to find below are loose estimates, brought to you by your neighborhood, friendly Lowe's or Home Depot. For each of the steps we're about to break down, we went and did the research for you and tallied up some sample pricing. 

Of course, this is going to vary wildly, depending on things like the brand of primer and paint you'll choose. It's also going to vary if you go for the 3M painter's tape or the generic brand.

Still, we went with some of our favorites just to give you a rough estimate. (We apologize in advance because you're going to hear us say that a few more times.) 

Prepping the Home

Before you begin painting, it's important to prep the home. That is, it's wise to cover any items in the surrounding are that may be damaged in the process.

Drop Cloths and Plastic

You'll want to look at trees and bushes, and consider placing a drop cloth over them. HVAC units should definitely be covered with plastic wrap and tape. Here are some price estimates:

  • Canvas drop cloth for bushes = $22.98
  • Plastic drop cloth for HVAC unit = $2.98
  • Multi-surface tape to secure the plastic = $7.98

Scraping the Paint

Then, you'll have to examine the surface of the home. If you suspect the last time it was painted was prior to 1978, then you may have lead paint on your hands. That should be sanded off before you go any further. 

  • 4-amp sander = $99

Wood Filler

Aside from that, prepping the home also includes a close examination of the siding. If there are visible signs of damage, you'll want to use wood filler on any cracks along the surface. 

Finally, this is also the time to examine your windows. It won't do you any good to have a wonderful, fresh coat of paint on a home that has windows with cracked seals.

Along with your wood filler, you may need to invest in window glaze to fix any seals that appear to be cracked or dried out. This will come with the cost of the window glazing and putty knives:

Power Washer

Once everything's sanded, filled, glazed, and neatly tended to, you'll want to give the surface a thorough cleaning before you apply primer or paint. The average cost to rent a pressure washer is $144/day.

Estimated Total to Prep the Home = $302


With a beautifully clean surface, you're nearing closer and closer to the best part - laying down that first coat of paint. But, first, let's discuss primers. The job of a primer is so seal in stains, create an even finish, and allow the paint to adhere better. 

The first point for consideration here is color. White, gray, or even tinted primers can provide a nice, even base for topcoats to adhere to.  

Then, you have to decide between latex primer and oil-based primer. Latex primer can be used if you're painting over sanded-down wood or existing latex paint. However, if you're painting over oil-based paint, then you'll have to go with an oil-based primer. 

Here's where the prices varies drastically. These are sample prices on primers, but the numbers can vary from $20 to $80.

Also, the square footage of your home will determine how many cans of primer you need. A good rule of thumb is that two gallons of paint can cover roughly 800 square feet.

So, let's say you have a 2,500 square-foot home. Then, you'll need to budget for approximately seven cans of primer.

If you're using latex primer, that makes the estimated total to prime the house = $165.


When we're doing the painting, we try to go with water-based acrylic latex paint. It's our preference because it applies smoothly, dries quickly, and can be cleaned up with soap and water. 

Of course, oil-based paint is just fine, too. Although it may not apply as smoothly, it does tend to be more durable than latex paint. So, it may allow you to go a little longer before you have to take on an exterior paint job again.

You also have your sheen to consider. As a rule, paint with a high sheen tends to deflect damaging rays from the sun. It also does well in areas with high traffic, like the front porch, door and window frames. 

Paint with a satin sheen is also a nice option. It adheres nicely to shingles and clapboards, creating a nice finish. 

Painting Tools

You'll also need a few tools of the trade here. You might consider a paint sprayer to make the job go faster. In our opinion, you'll also want a paint roller.

There's a method called spraying and back-rolling. This is a two-man job where someone uses a sprayer to put down an even spread of paint across the surface. Then, someone follows behind, running a roller over the area that was just sprayed.

This delivers a nice, even finish, especially on homes that have textured surfaces. Finally, you'll also need paint brushes for smaller surfaces, like window trim.

While we're on the subject of windows, you'll also want to cover windows with plastic. So, you'll need more of that plastic wrap you bought for your HVAC unit, as well as tape.

The tape will be necessary for securing the plastic, but it can also be used to trim certain surfaces. Here's a breakdown of all these tools:

Estimated total to paint the house = $552.

This is a very conservative estimated total for paint and supplies. You will likely need several plastic drop cloths and a few paint brushes. 

The Final Cost to Paint a House

When all is said and done, here's the final figure for each of the above categories: 

  • Estimated Total for Painting a House = $1,020.

Here we go again, sounding redundant. But, we have to reiterate that this is a very loose figure. It's difficult to pinpoint a hard and fast number when there are countless variables (i.e., the need to sand, the need for wood filler and window glazing, the square footage). 

Still, if you have the time and desire, learning how to paint a house is within your reach. We always tell people to be prepared for a several days' long process. Take it slow and easy, and it's possible to have a lovely finished product. 

Is It Within Your Reach?

And there you have it! There's your rough estimate on the cost to paint a house. What do you think? Is this something that's within your reach?

If you don't have a lot of free time on your hands and you'd like to hand it over to the experts, then we invite you to contact us today. We'll be more than happy to provide you with a free estimate.

What you may be saving in labor by DIYing it, we can absolutely save you in stress and uncertainty. If you live in or around Venice, Florida, we're prepared to roll up our sleeves and offer you the best service you've ever experienced. 

While we specialize in residential repaints (indoors and out), we also do pressure washing, pool cage painting, driveways, garage floors, and drywall repair. So, you know we're ready to pressure wash the house for you before we dive into the paint job. 

Come take a look at some of our latest projects. You'll quickly see we're meticulous, clean experts that treat all our customers' homes with the care it deserves. We look forward to giving new life to your house, too!