General Contractor & Custom Home BuilderCharleston | Mt. Pleasant | Sullivans Island | Isle of Palms | Daniel Island
Painting Cost Calculator
There are a lot of factors that impact the cost of painting a house. And while an experienced contractor may be able to walk into your house and estimate the price of your house painting job in a few minutes there are years of experience that go into that estimate.
We put this article together to give you a better idea of what a painting contractor is looking for when giving an estimate. We also want to show you what you can do to lower your painting cost. Finally, we wanted to create an easy tool (our Painting Cost Calculator) for you to estimate the cost of your next painting job yourself.
Ready to figure out how much your painting project is likely to cost? Great, then let’s get to it!
What are you painting?
This may seem like a dumb question at first but you’d be surprised how many people don’t have a complete answer for what they are planning to paint.
Let’s start with the basics. Here are some questions you should be ready to answer as they will impact the cost of your painting job:
Are you painting the interior of your home or the exterior?
It surprises most people that it typically costs more to paint the interior of their home than the exterior. There are a few factors that cause the price difference. First, a home’s exterior typically has significantly less surface area than its interior. Think about all of the additional walls on the inside of your house. Those add up fast!
Second, the interior of your home has something the outside doesn’t have: ceilings. Ceilings require a lot more time to paint and also add extra surface area which means more paint.
Finally, exterior painting jobs tend to be cheaper because there are fewer obstacles in the way. Furniture, ceiling fans, and light fixtures can all lead to extra paint time on the inside of your house. On the outside things like shutters, windows, and gables can do the same.
What is the square footage of the area to be painted?
Contractors generally quote based on square footage so it’s good to know how many rooms you’ll be painting and the square footage of each. For the exterior, the square footage of your house should be fine but make sure to note if you have any brick or stone areas that won’t be painted. Make sure you have a good idea what your square footage is (it’s the first question in our Painting Cost Calculator!).
How much does the paint cost?
While the paint itself doesn’t typically have a huge impact on the cost of your painting job, it can have an impact. How much paint you’ll need can depend on square footage, how drastic of a color change you are making, what material you are painting, and the quality of paint you choose.
Here are some general rules of thumb for estimating paint cost:
- Big color changes equal larger paint cost (especially when going from dark to light)
- Absorbent materials like porous brick require a lot more paint
- Low-quality paint means more paint required
How much non-painting work is required?
Another big factor that most people don’t consider when estimating the cost of their paint jobs is the amount of non-painting work required. Labor is the largest cost of painting and any extra work the contractor needs to do adds to the cost of painting your house. In our Painting Cost Calculator, we have accounted for an increase of up to 20% in the price of the job if your walls are in poor condition.
Here are some things that can raise the price of your painting job:
- Having to remove or re-arrange furniture before prepping the area for paint
- Any permanent obstructions like fans, light fixtures, or arched roof sections
- High ceilings or elevated areas
- Un-even or awkward surfaces that make it difficult to set up a ladder
- Dust, dirt, or other grime on your walls
- Damaged wood or drywall
Who did you hire to paint?
We’ve already mentioned that labor makes up the highest percentage of your painting cost and who you hire can have a big impact on that. While painting the house yourself or hiring a handyman to paint for you can eliminate or decrease the cost of labor, you may be risking quality and causing expensive rework. We recommend getting a few different quotes and comparing the quality of the work before hiring someone for your paint job.
How to lower your painting cost
Up to this point, we’ve covered most of the factors that affect the cost of painting your house. Now let’s talk about some easy steps you can do to reduce that cost before you call to get an estimate.
Tips for lowering the cost of painting your house:
- Clean the area as much as possible. Pressure wash the exterior and dust and clean the interior.
- Choose similar colors if at all possible.
- Remove any furniture or non-permanent obstacles yourself before your estimate.
- Trim trees and bushes outside your house to make it easy to access the exterior.
- Repair damaged wood or drywall before painting.
- Choose a high-quality paint to avoid having to add additional coats and re-paint before you have to.
Painting Cost Calculator
Now that you know what factors can impact the cost of painting your house you can use our Painting Cost Calculator to estimate the cost yourself. This will give you a ballpark figure for your painting job and prepare you for talking to contractors.