How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Painter?

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How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Painter?

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Reviewed by Irene Pomares. Written by

A fresh coat of paint does not just give your home a brand new look. It also provides protection against pest damage and harsh weather, helps siding last longer, maintains structural integrity, and increases the resale value of your home. That said, painting is still a significant investment and requires a lot of careful consideration and planning in order to get the best results. From choosing the right color and finish for a room to buying painting supplies, there are a number of things you need to keep in mind before hiring a painter.

If you are planning to hire a painter to work on an exterior painting project, you are most likely to be charged a fixed rate, which is calculated on the basis of the square foot area to be covered. However, most painters charge by the hour for interior projects. Depending on the location, specific project, and season, labor costs around $40 to $60 per hour for a standard painting job. Painters in areas with a higher cost of living may charge up to $75 per hour.

Painter Hiring

Painter Hiring Costs
National average cost$50 per hour
Average range$40-$60 per hour
Minimum cost$38 per hour
Maximum cost$84 per hour

Painter Cost by Project Range

Painting in ideal conditions
Average Cost
Painting in non-optimal conditions
Painting in difficult conditions

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Professional Painters Costs

Home Interior Painting Costs Per Project

Wondering how much you should expect to spend on different types of painting projects around the house? Check out the table below. All data given below is for a standard two-story home with 1,500 sq.ft. area and wood siding.

Stairway (walls only)$400
Hallway (148 sq.ft. of wall)$581
Popcorn ceiling 1 removal$700-$1,500
Dining room (270 sq.ft. of wall)$1,060
Living room (312 sq.ft. of wall)$1,225
Bathroom (360 sq.ft. of wall)$1400
Bedroom (400 sq.ft. of wall)$1,568
Kitchen (430 sq.ft. of wall)$1,705
Wall mural$4,000
Wall decorative finish (120 sq.ft. wall)$6,800
House interior (2,300 sq.ft. home)$6,900

Home Exterior Painting Costs Per Project

An exterior paint job, whether just a touch-up or a whole house makeover, can improve your home's appearance and value. Several variables affect the cost, namely, size, location, paint choice, and siding materials. The following cost table offers national averages for a variety of exterior components.

Shutters$60-$80 each
Door$125-$150 each
Fence (200ft long x 4ft high)$800-$2,000
Metal Roof (1,700 sq.ft.)$2,550-$4,250
House exterior (1,500 sq.ft.)$3,000-$6,000

Painter Costs Per Hour

Labor costs for painting vary widely, depending on region, season, type of painting project, and experience level 2. On an average, you can expect to pay around $50 per hour for house painting projects. However, highly experienced painters can charge up to $70 per hour for specialty projects like murals. A 2,300 sq.ft. single-story home will require around three to five painters to paint the entire house and will take a minimum of five days to complete for a total cost of $2,400-$7,000. With new construction projects, unless you are acting as your own general contractor, painting costs will be slightly higher due to administration and hiring costs for the project manager or contractor. General contractors usually charge a markup of 10 to 25% on the total cost of a project.

Painter at work taking color with a paint roller from the bucket

Painter Materials Costs

Typically, materials account for 15% of the cost charged by painters. Buying the painting supplies yourself may help you save a lot of money down the road. Be prepared to buy 2-3 gallons for painting the interior walls of an average-sized room. In addition to paints and primers 3, you will need paint brushes, rollers, face masks, rubber gloves, painter’s tape, drop cloths, sandpaper etc. While you can pick up disposable painting brushes for under a dollar from home improvement stores, reusable higher-end brushes can cost as much as $20. A standard roll of 1 inch painter’s tape (60 yard) will cost around $5. Equipment such as ladders or scaffolding 4 can be rented for a small cost. An interior scaffold 4 with adjustable platform heights from 2’ to 12’ in 2” increments can be rented for around $10 per hour, or $165 per week.

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Cost Factors of Hiring a Painter

The final cost will heavily depend on the size and nature of the painting project. For estimating the quantity of paint required, you will need to know the room wall sizes (length, height, and width), the number of windows, size of windows, the number of doors and size of doors. A standard living room (12’x8’) will require 2-3 gallons of paint using the industry average of 350 sq.ft. per gallon. Depending on the brand of the product and finish type, the cost can range from $30 to $100 for two gallons. If you plan to have a different color on the ceiling, trim or an accent wall, that will have to be calculated separately and would again add to the final cost.

If you are planning to paint the exterior of your home, you need to factor in the house’s size, style, location, and siding type while calculating cost. A standard two-story house with 1,500 sq.ft. area and wood siding will set you back by $2,500-$3,000 for painting the exterior.

Textured walls and decorative finishes tend to require more labor and are hence more expensive. You can expect to pay $2-$4 per square foot for a basic textured wall, labor and material costs included.

Professional painting wall with paint roller

Paint Costs by Type

Most of the paints that you use around a home can be classified as oil-based or water-based. For the uninitiated, here’s a quick comparison table listing the pros and cons of both options.


Oil-based paints

($42 per gallon)

Excellent adhesionUse mineral spirits for cleanup

Water-based paints

($33 per gallon)

Dries fasterLess durable

Types of Primer Paint

A primer 3 is essentially a protective layer that you apply before the first coat of paint. If you are painting over an already-painted surface, you may be able to avoid a primer 3 altogether by using a 2-in-1 paint and primer 1 3 product. However, if you are painting a surface that has never been painted before or changing the paint or finish type, it would be a good idea to prepare the surface using a traditional primer 3. Primers 3 should also be used when painting over hard, smooth surfaces like glass or tile. All three types of primers 3, oil-based, latex-based and shellac-based can be used under latex paint.

Primer Paint Price

Primer Paint Price

Latex-basedStays flexible even after drying$15-$50/gallon
Oil-basedPenetrates the wood surface deeply. Covers damage.$17-$60/gallon
Shellac-basedProvides odor and mildew control


Types of Finishes and Costs

Paints come in several finishes that determine how the final product appears and wears. Do not forget that choosing the right paint finish is just as important as choosing the right color:

Professional Painter Cost

Professional Painter Cost

Flat/matteAbsorbs light, makes paint look darker, covers imperfections well$25-$40 per gallon
Eggshell and satinShiny, suitable for smooth, well-prepared surfaces without imperfections$27-$45 per gallon
Gloss/semi-glossReflects light, makes paint brighter, suited for areas with lesser imperfections$33-$60 per gallon

Surface Prep Work Before Painting

Surface preparation is extremely important if you want your painting project to have the best possible results. If done correctly, the new paint will not chip, crack or peel before time.

Painters usually find it hard to estimate the cost of prep work accurately. This is because the amount of work required varies greatly from job to job. The more the damage, the greater the amount of prep work required and hence, greater the cost. Dirty walls covered with grease have to be thoroughly cleaned for the new paint to adhere properly. Wood surfaces should be sanded 5 along the grain and dusted clean ($1.80 per square foot). Any cracks and holes in the drywall will also have to have to be repaired ($1.50 to $3.00 per square foot).

Typically, your painter will charge you an additional $300 per room for preparations tasks such as wallpaper removal. Pressure washing the exterior of a standard single-story home will cost you around $275. Cleaning a smoke-stained ceiling can cost you another $100. You may be able to save some money if you do some preparation tasks yourself, such as moving furniture away from the wall, removing pictures etc. Professional painters usually charge around $100 per room if there is a lot of furniture to be removed.

Wall Preparation Before Painting

The area that you want painted could be made of any number of materials. A professional painter will know what method of surface prep will achieve the best result and ensure the lifespan of the paint. For instance, there are a variety of solvent cleaners that pros use for things like aluminum, copper, Hardie board, or steel. If you are painting stucco 6, especially if it is exterior, it will require 10 to 30 days after cleaning to thoroughly dry before applying paint. Depending on the level of build-up, bricks, mortar 7, and concrete may require power washing to get them clean enough for paint to adhere and stay put. The material, age, and condition of the surfaces to be painted will also dictate the amount of time and work that are required for proper preparation. An experienced professional is the best person to ascertain what prep will give you the best end result.

MaterialPreparation work
AluminumUse solvent cleaner to remove surface stains

Remove loose mortar 7, cement, and dust.

Clean away grease or oils and power wash or scrub by hand.

BrickUse a wire brush and soapy water to remove dirt and loose mortar.
CopperRemove dirt with a cloth and solvent cleanser. Tough grime can be removed with 400 grit sandpaper or a scrubbing pad 8.
Drywall 9Fill nicks, nail heads, and seams 10 with spackle 11. Sand 5 the spackle 11. Remove dust with the brush attachment of a vacuum.
Hardie boardRe-caulk joints 10 if necessary and then clean with a good solvent or pressure wash.
Plaster 12Repair where needed with patching compound and mesh tape, sand 5 smooth, and clean away dust with cloth and a water/vinegar mixture.
SteelUse mineral oil to remove oil, grease, and dust.
Stucco 6Repair any damage with a dry stucco 6 repair kit. Clean away dust and debris with a soft brush and mild detergent. Let dry for 10 to 30 days.
Vinyl 13Clean with trisodium phosphate (TSP) and water solution.
WoodIntact paint can be cleaned and treated with TSP. Chipping paint should be stripped and sanded 5. Replace any rotted sections before painting.

Paint Debris Removal and Landfill Usage

Though painting often creates a mess, a professional painter will ensure that your home is maintained as clean as possible during the entire project. Unless otherwise specified in the contract, most painters will clean up and take care of paint debris removal. However, there may be additional charges for using the landfill. Standard landfill fees range from $20 to $50 per ton.

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Color Consultation Costs

Choosing the right color for a room can be tricky. No one wants to make a costly mistake and then have to live with it for the next couple of years. This is why many professional painting companies have an in-house color consultant on their team to help clients make the best color choices that are in line with their tastes, lifestyle, the mood and purpose of the room, and lighting. While some companies offer free color consultation for clients, others charge anywhere between $75 to $350 for this service.

Color consultant with a client choosing color in a color swatch samples chart

Lead Removal Before Painting

If your home was constructed more than 30 years ago, there are chances that the existing paint contains lead. If that is the case, you may have to hire a professional lead 14 4 testing and removal contractor to come over and inspect the house for traces of lead 14. This will cost you an additional additional $300 on average.

Final Touch-ups

During the final walkthrough, keep an eye out for areas where the paint is sparse or has dripped into places where it shouldn’t go. Most painters will agree to do a quick touch-up for zero added cost.

DIY vs Professional Painting

While painting is something some homeowners choose to do themselves, hiring a professional certainly has numerous advantages. Not only can professional painters complete the job in half the time it would take an amateur, they also have the skill and expertise to pull off a painting project with clean lines and zero brush marks.

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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Drywall Repair

If your walls are damaged, you may also want to estimate for drywall 9 repair, which may come up to $50 to $70 per square foot.

Plaster Repair

Re-plastering will cost you around $60-$90 per hour or a fixed rate of $200 to $300 for minor to medium jobs. The actual price will depend on the extent of damage to your walls.

Cleaning Mold and Mildew

If mold is detected during the paint job, be prepared to pay anywhere between $1,500 to $3,500 based on the size of the area and level 2 of mold infestation.

Filling Holes

If your walls are damaged, you may have to pay around $10 per square foot for resurfacing and repairing holes and cracks in the wall.


Wood surfaces have to be sanded 5 before painting and may cost around $1.80 per square foot.

Custom Paints

A number of companies now offer custom texture and metallic paints ($75 to $130 per gallon).

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Get multiple quotes. This will give you a better idea about the market, the extent of work involved, and how much it costs.
  • Look for a licensed painter who has worked on similar projects before and can give you a written estimate. The estimate should ideally include cost of labor, cost of materials and supplies, cost of prep work with details, brand of paints and primers 3 (if the painter is responsible for the supplies), payment schedule, final inspection, and cost of cleanup and debris removal after project completion.
  • Ask the painter to give you a bid that lists the costs of labor and materials separately.
  • Most painting companies offer a final walkthrough with the homeowner at the time of which areas requiring additional touch-ups or cleanup will be noted down.
  • Your painter can be a freelancer, a painting contractor or an employee with a painting company. If you are hiring a painter through a painting company, find out whether the painter is an employee or a contractor. According to the Bureau of Statistics, nearly 45% of painters in the country are self-employed.
  • Always ask about general liability insurance and workman’s compensation for the painter.
  • Don’t forget to ask for references and contact information for previous clients.
  • It is always advisable not to pay more than one-third of the total costs upfront as this poses a considerable financial risk. Thirty percent of the project costs will secure the job and cover the cost of supplies.
  • While warmer weather is usually preferred for exterior painting projects, winter can be a good time for painting the interior of your house. This is because winter is traditionally an off-season for painting contractors and you may end up getting a good rate when you hire someone during this period.
  • While building permits are generally not required for painting projects, you may require one if your house is located in a historic neighborhood. You can avoid a penalty by confirming the requirement with your municipality.
  • If given an option between a fixed price and a daily rate, choose the former. In case of the latter, your budget can take a big hit if the project takes a longer time to complete than initially estimated.
  • If you are a tenant and tired of the plain, boring paint in your rental apartment, you may choose to have the walls painted in a color of your liking, provided your landlord gives you permission to do so. However, you may have to repaint the walls to the original color when you move out and it would be wise to account for that in the final costs.
  • Using a trompe l’oeil technique, a trick of the eye, artists and muralists can transform small, dark, boring, or otherwise challenging interior spaces with creative paint applications. Transforming a blank wall into a 3-D vision is something that requires talent and years of experience. At minimum, a qualified artist will charge $30 per square foot for this type of application.


  • How much does it cost to paint a room?

Depending on the complexity of your painting project, a standard living room 312 sq.ft. of wall) will cost you an average of $1,225. This includes labor charges as well as cost of supplies.

  • How much does it cost to paint the interior of a house?

The interior of a standard single-story home with 2,300 sq.ft will cost you around $6,900, assuming the walls have been sufficiently prepared for painting.

  • How much does a house painter charge per hour?

A house painter typically earns $50 per hour.

  • How much does it cost to paint the exterior of a house?

A typical two-story home with common wood siding and 1500 sq.ft. area would cost $2,500 to $3,000 to paint the entire exterior.

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Popcorn Ceiling 1 Popcorn ceiling: A spray-on or paint-on treatment for the upper interior surface of a room which has a rough curd-like texture and is used to hide imperfections, absorb sound, and reduce echoes
2 Level: The process of evening out the ground's surface, making it either flat or sloped.
glossary term picture Primer 3 Primers: Preparatory coat applied to materials (drywall, wood, metal, etc.) before painting to ensure paint adhesion, extend paint durability, and help seal and protect the surface to be painted
glossary term picture Scaffolding 4 Scaffolding: A temporary structure used during construction/maintenance/painting projects to raise and support workers (or one worker), required materials, and equipment
glossary term picture Sanding 5 Sanded: Process of removing the top surface of a material, such as wood, using sandpaper and/or a specialized sanding machine (for large surface areas)
glossary term picture Stucco 6 Stucco: A type of durable plaster finish made of aggregates, a binder, and water (traditionally Portland cement, sand, and water) used on masonry, walls, ceilings, and decorative moldings
glossary term picture Mortar 7 Mortar: A mixture of Portland cement or lime or a combination of both, sand, and water used to bind bricks, stones, and concrete masonry units together
glossary term picture Padding 8 Pad: A cushion placed under a carpet to absorb impact, thus extending the life of the carpet
glossary term picture Sheetrock 9 Drywall: Type of plasterboard, commonly used to build walls and ceilings, composed of gypsum that is layered between sheets of heavy paper
10 Joints: (Also known as Seams) A fold, line, or groove where two pieces of material join together
glossary term picture Spackle 11 Spackle: A paste, composed of gypsum plaster, glue, and water, used to repair holes and cracks in plaster before painting or wallpapering
glossary term picture Plaster 12 Plaster: A paste composed of sand, water, and either lime, gypsum, or cement, which forms a smooth hard surface on walls, ceilings, and other structures upon drying
glossary term picture Vinyl 13 Vinyl: A synthetic plastic made from ethylene and chlorine. Vinyl has many applications in the construction industry and it is widely used in sidings, window frames, roofing and gutters, among others
glossary term picture Lead 14 Lead: A naturally occurring heavy metal that is highly toxic to humans, and has been used in paint, gasoline, piping, and other applications

Cost to hire a painter varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources
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Cost to hire a painter varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources