How Much Should a Quality Paint Job Cost?

How Much Should a Quality Paint Job Cost?
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Painting the exterior of your home is a major project. Not only is it a sizable job – assuming you don’t live in a tiny house – but it needs to be done quickly, once all of the prep work has been completed. Interiors are a different story, as in most cases, only one room or area may need painting. In other cases, all rooms may require painting within a specific timeframe – such as if you’re selling your house.

However, painting your house – exterior or interior – isn’t a project you do on a frequent basis. If it’s been awhile since the last time, you’re probably wondering how much a good paint job should cost if you hire a professional. While painting is a big part of our business at The Paint Manager, there are numerous reasons you should go with a pro rather than do it yourself.

Advantages of Hiring a Professional Painting Contractor

As a homeowner, you can take up many types of home improvement projects on your own. But painting is one that requires skill and experience. There are many advantages to hiring a professional painting contractor. Our colleagues at Marc Poulos Painting, Chicago, provide the following list.

A pro does the prep work – In order to ensure a high-quality result, a home’s exterior needs to be prepped before the first drop of paint goes on. This includes the following:

  • Recaulking windows to provide a proper seal, as caulk deteriorates over time.
  • Scraping off chipped paint.
  • Repairing holes, surface cracks, etc.
  • Removing window screens (if applicable).
  • Covering plants around the house to protect them from paint splatters.


They know how much paint the job will take – Unlike a typical homeowner, a professional painting contractor can accurately estimate the amount of paint a project requires. Homeowners who take the DIY approach often over- or underestimate, resulting in a desperate run to the paint store or home center in the latter case, or cans of unused paint stored in the garage in the former.

Assistance in selecting paint colors – Experts recommend using a palette of three colors for house exteriors. If you haven’t yet selected one from paint manufacturers’ color guides, a professional painting contractor can help you choose the best colors to complement the architectural style and surroundings of your home.

High-quality paint application – Assuming you take the time to do your homework and hire a reputable painting contractor, a professional has the expertise to apply paint evenly and without runs or splotches of paint in the wrong places. A pro knows the correct methods to prevent the base color from getting onto the trim and vice versa – and will do a thorough job of cleaning paint spills while working.

Safety first – A professional painting contractor has the proper work equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) to perform each phase of the job safely. Homeowners taking the DIY approach aren’t likely to have the appropriate equipment, and often will try to “make-do” with the wrong ladder for the job – for starters.

Licensed and insured – A legitimate professional will be licensed and insured to protect the homeowner from liability should an accident or mishap occur. Think about this if you’re considering hiring your neighbor to help you out should you decide to DIY. How confident are you that he won’t sue if he falls off a ladder and injures himself?

Complete cleanup – After the job is finished, a professional painting contractor will put anything that needed to be removed (such as window screens) back in place, clean up the property and remove work-related debris.

A pro saves you time, labor and money – Last – but certainly not least – hiring a professional saves you the time and labor involved in trips to the paint store/home center, buying or renting equipment, prep work, the paint job itself and cleanup. While you may consider quotes from professional contractors to be expensive, keep in mind that performing all of the above tasks yourself could wind up costing more – even assuming that nothing goes wrong.

Many of the same situations apply to interior paint jobs, which also can be more complex than meets the eye. A professional painting contractor knows how to prep and paint trim, baseboards, moulding, millwork and ceilings – as well as determine the number of coats of paint needed.

How a Professional Painter Determines the Cost of the Job

This raises the reasonable question of how a painting contractor determines the cost of an individual residential project. HomeGuide provides the following breakdown for estimating the cost of an exterior painting project. If you click on the following links, please understand that pricing for each category is very general, and varies according to region, town and other factors.

  1. Average Cost to Paint a House Exterior
  2. Cost By Square Foot
  3. Cost Breakdown To Paint a House
  4. Labor Costs
  5. Paint and Supplies
  6. Costs to Paint Siding
  7. Cost of Paint
  8. Costs to Paint House Features
  9. Additional Exterior Painting Costs
  10. Home Exterior Paint Prep Costs
  11. Exterior House Painting Tips
  12. Choosing Your Paint Colors
  13. Lead Paint Testing & Removal
  14. DIY Exterior House Painting Costs


For interiors, HomeAdvisor provides detailed data for the following:

  1. Interior Painting Cost Calculator
  2. Home Interior Painting Costs
  3. Room Painting Costs
  4. Professionals Labor Rates
  5. Average Labor Time
  6. Painting by Room Size
  7. Cost to Paint a Bedroom
  8. Bathroom
  9. Living Room
  10. Kitchens and Hallways
  11. Cost to Paint a Wall
  12. Interior Painting Pricing Factors
  13. Average Paint Prices


Average Costs for Exterior and Interior Painting

We want to again emphasize that the following represent the national average costs, and are not intended to be taken as The Paint Manager’s pricing. To get our estimate for painting your home, use our convenient Cost Estimator on our website. The Cost Estimator can also be used for any of the home improvement, property improvement and cleaning services that we offer.

The following figures are provided courtesy of Rocket Homes:

Exterior 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.

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.

Interior painting

If the cost for painting the interior walls of your home averages $1.50-$3 per square foot, 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.

In order to show how widely national averages vary, This Old House reports that the cost to paint a room can run from $2 to $6 per square foot. Typical range is $955 to $2,890, with $1,892 being the national average.

The Take-Home Message

Hiring a professional painting contractor is the best way to ensure your home looks its best and incorporates the highest possible quality to provide years of beauty and protection. Our blog post – “What You Need to Know Before Hiring a House Painter” – provides valuable information on hiring a reliable, trustworthy professional contractor.

The Paint Manager has served Central Florida since 2000 with quality professional residential and commercial painting services. Visit our website to learn about many other services we provide – including pressure washing, roof cleaning and stump removal. Become a member of The Paint Manager to receive a 15% year-‘round member’s discount. Contact us to learn more about our services and membership discount offer.

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