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The Definitive House Painting Cost Guide

Welcome to the ultimate guide to house painting costs.

If you want to learn…

  • 3 strategies for negotiating a cheaper house painting project

  • If premium paint is worth the money or just a big scam

  • How much it costs to paint your own home vs hiring a professional

  • The secret behind painter guarantees and what they cover

  • Steps you can take today to begin painting your own home

Then this guide is for you. 

So without wasting any more time, let's dive in!

Table of contents

Chapter 1: How much does it cost to paint your own home?

  • Materials and cost for interior painting

  • Materials and cost for exterior painting

  • Additional material cost

Chapter 2: Is It Worth It To Paint Your House Or Hire A Professional Instead?

  • How much does it cost to hire a professional painter?

  • Why does hiring a professional painter cost so much?

  • How to decide between hiring a professional and doing it yourself.

Chapter 3: Interior vs. Exterior house painting - what's the difference?

  • Steps for exterior painting

  • Steps for interior painting

  • What is the homeowner responsible for in the painting process when hiring a professional?

Chapter 4: How do I prepare my house for a painter?

  • Take care of serious damage ahead of time

  • Prepare a staging area

  • Consider vacating your house while painting

Chapter 5: Can you negotiate with a house painter?

  • Be prepared with multiple quotes

  • Set your budget

  • Offer to do prep work yourself

Chapter 6: Do painters guarantee their work?

  • Painter guarantees explained

  • Paint manufacturer warranties explained

  • Is expensive paint worth it?

Chapter 1: How Much Does It Cost To Paint Your Own Home?

In this section, we’ll walk you through step-by-step to calculate the cost of painting your own home. 

We’ll use the example of calculating the cost of a single room which you can apply to the rest of your home. Then we’ll compare this DIY rate to a professional painter so you can decide which option is best for you.

Materials And Cost For Interior Painting

Calculate the surface area

We’ll use a small bedroom as an example to start.

Let's say the room measures 3m X 3m with a standard 2.4m high ceiling.

That would put the total surface area of the walls + ceiling at 37.8m2.

To account for windows and doors, subtract 1.5m2 for each window and 2m2 for each door from your total.

So for a room with 2 windows and 1 door plus the ceiling, we have a total area of 32.8m2.

Calculate the amount of paint

You can expect 1 litre of paint to cover about 6.5 m2 in one coat. But this will depend on the type of paint and manufacturer.

So 32.8m2 / 6.5 = 5.05 litres of paint for one coat.

Paint can cost anywhere from $14 to $20 per litre. 

Using a price of $17 per litre with 2 coats, paint for walls and the ceiling is $171.70

For trim, you can include about 1 extra litre of paint + another 5.05 litre of primer at the same cost as the paint.

That brings our total to $275 or $8.40/m2

You can use this methodology to get a precise estimate for the rest of your home.

Materials and cost for exterior painting

Estimating the surface area of your home’s exterior gets a little tricky. To give you a general idea, the area of livable space in your home will be roughly equal to your exterior area within about 40m2.

On average, 1 Litre of exterior paint will cover between 6m2 to 9.7m2 

That would total up to 18.4L of paint for 1 coat.

So a single-storey 1000m2 home with 2 coats of paint and 1 coat of primer at the same rate of $17/litre would total $978.

Additional material cost

In addition to paint, you’ll also need to factor in supplies like…

  • Drop cloths & tape

  • Putty filler for holes

  • Plastic & paper for covering

  • Ladder

  • Paint trays and sticks

  • Brushes & rollers

For these extra supplies, you should budget an additional $200 or more, depending on what you already have on hand.

But luckily, you can use most of these materials in more than one room so that will bring down your average cost.

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Chapter 2: Is It Worth It To Paint Your House Or Hire A Professional Instead?

Now that we’ve covered the costs of raw materials and paint involved in painting your home, the next section will explore the benefits and drawbacks of doing the project yourself versus hiring a professional to do it for you.

How much does it cost to hire a professional painter?

The cost to hire a professional painter will vary based on several factors including…


  • Interior vs. Exterior painting

  • Accessibility of the property

  • Number of stories on the house

  • Types of surfaces that need to be painted

  • Level of required detail work

  • Number of colours and finishes being applied

A painter’s average cost for paint and materials per m2 is $38.

If you prefer higher quality work it can cost up to $110 to $1000+ per m2.

And that all depends on how many coats of paint, primer, and undercoat the house will need plus the current condition of the walls and surfaces.

Repairs and patchwork will add to the time and cost of the job when it comes to working with a contractor.

Why does hiring a professional painter cost so much?

When understanding the pricing of painting contractors, remember to consider their expenses as a business along with the convenience and expertise that they offer.

Painters work with a variety of clients, so they're highly tuned into the latest colour trends since they see what everyone else wants for their houses. So if you're struggling to make a final decision, your painter can help you decide the most flattering option for your house.

Painters also have access to wholesale pricing for paint and materials. So when calculating the upfront cost for a project, the material cost will likely be lower when going with a painter.

Professional painters must also be legally certified by the Queensland Building & Construction Commission (QBCC) to work in QLD.

This is to protect you as well as themselves.

They're also required to have their Master Painter’s Certification and carry insurance.

This alone means they carry financial responsibility for any mistakes during the project. Something that you would have to deal with if you were to choose to do the work yourself.

How to decide between hiring a professional and doing it yourself.

When making this choice, you need to consider 3 important factors:

  • Price - What's the true cost of painting your own home, and how does it compare to hiring a professional?

  • Quality - Do you have the skills and patience necessary to paint your home to the quality you want? Or will you wish you called a professional instead?

  • Speed - How much time are you willing to invest in your paint job? Depending on the area you need to cover and the number of coats you need to apply, it could take several days or even a few weeks.

If this is your first time painting, then sure, it could be a great way to save some money. But make sure you're happy with the quality.

But it could also become a weeks-long DIY disaster that twists your arm into hiring a professional to go back over your work.

So if you want to get that photo-worthy finish, you should consider whether you have the time and knowledge to make it a reality.

Chapter 3: Interior vs Exterior house painting - what's the difference?

Steps For Exterior Painting

  1. Repair - Inspect the side of your home and repair any damage you find. Peeling and cracked paint may need to be sanded to provide an even surface. Look for any bug nests or evidence of termite damage, water damage, and mildew or mould. Make sure you address these before continuing to paint. Depending on the issues, your painter may be able to help. But any major reconstruction will need to be worked on by a different contractor.

  2. Clean - A crucial step for exterior painting. Power washing will remove dirt and debris along with chipping and peeling paint. A clean surface is necessary for the paint to adhere properly. Allow at least one day to dry.

  3. Clear - Walk the perimeter of the house and verify that there are no tree branches, shrubs, or other vegetation pushing up against the house. Make sure that the ground surrounding the home is passable for ladder use.

  4. Prime - Once the house has dried, it's time to apply the primer. Always required on bare surfaces, primer is necessary for the paint to adhere to porous surfaces like wood, masonry, and stucco. But it's required for metal surfaces as well. If your home already has a decent coat of paint on it then primer may not be necessary. Only on areas that have been sanded down due to poor paint condition.

  5. Paint - You should almost always apply at least 2 coats of paint plus an undercoat for ideal coverage. Trim work should be neat using plastic and tape to protect windows and doors as necessary.

  6. Clean up - Remove all empty paint cans, tarps, plastic, ladders, and other tools used during the job.

Steps For Interior Painting

  1. Prepare - Remove as much furniture from the rooms as possible to create a clear path around the walls. Large pieces such as beds or couches should be moved towards the centre of the room. Remove all pictures and other decorations from the walls.

  2. Clean - Clean your walls. Clear out cobwebs and scrub out dark stains or spots with soap and water. Don't paint over any mould or mildew. Treat it before painting or it can continue to spread and ruin your paint.

  3. Repair - Inspect the walls for damage like cracks, holes, and dents. Patch and sand any holes you come across. If you’re repainting, then consider sanding any areas with excessive paint to smooth the texture.

  4. Protect - Remove light switch covers, outlet covers, and cover light fixtures if painting the ceiling. Lay down drop cloths to prevent paint from spilling and dripping.

  5. Prime - An optional step but necessary on brand-new walls. You should consider priming if you intend to paint a lighter colour over a darker one. This will help the light colour stand out more.

  6. Paint - Apply 2 coats to the walls while giving sufficient time in between to dry. Paint trim after the walls have dried.

  7. Clean up - Once all paint has dried, remove drop cloths, return all light switch and outlet covers, and move furniture back into rooms.

What Is The Homeowner Responsible For In The Painting Process When Hiring A Professional?

Cleaning your home and preparing it for work is the most important step for you in the process. Make sure your home is ready when the painters show up.


Move or secure anything fragile and sentimental since these are the hardest things to replace, even with insurance to fall back on.

Failing to do so will result in a wasted day and additional labour costs

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Chapter 4: How do I prepare my house for a painter?

We briefly touched on some of these points in the last section. 

In order for your painting project to go as smoothly as possible and to reduce costs as much on your end, there are a few key things you should take care of before having your painters arrive.

Take Care Of Serious Damage Ahead Of Time

Dark stains on the ceiling, rings and discoloured areas on your walls are all symptoms of leaks and water damage.


If your home is showing signs of water damage, then you should have it addressed by a specialist immediately.


Typically caused by leaks in plumbing or your roof, water damage can extend past the plasterboard on your walls and should be investigated before completing any finish work.


And where there's water, there can often be pests.


Termites love humid environments and will be attracted to the dark and damp environment of your walls.


Inspect areas in your home that are likely to be more humid. Bathrooms, laundry areas, and even kitchens are more likely to form mould and mildew due to their proximity to water.

Prepare A Staging Area

Your house can get crowded quickly when painting day arrives. If you have room to spare, designating a staging area can help the painters work more efficiently and stay safe.


By having a designated area to mix paint, store tools, and access supplies, you can help reduce the chance of accidents and help the workers finish their job faster.


This means you’ll have your newly painted house all to yourself in no time.

Prepare A Staging Area

If you've correctly prepared your home for painting, then your furniture will be moved out of its normal places or completely covered up.


This also goes for other electronics and appliances like your TV. So your home is not very usable in its current configuration.


This is why it might be best to stay with a friend or go on a short holiday while the painters do their job.


But if you insist on staying around and have a spare room, try to adjust where you spend time in your house so that you won’t get in the way.


And if you have pets, be sure to secure them! The last thing you want is a trail of paw prints all over the house.

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Chapter 5: Can You Negotiate With House Painters?

Most professional painters have the experience to know what a job will cost them to perform. This quote is calculated from a combination of your material choices plus their labour costs and taxes.


But there can be some room to negotiate depending on the scope of your project and the work you're willing to do yourself

Be Prepared With Multiple Quotes

If you plan to find the best deal for your home painting service, you’ll need to prepare.


Get quotes broken down by labour and expenses from several painters. Compare the differences and make sure their offers look similar in scope.


If one quote looks way more expensive or significantly cheaper than the others, it would be worthwhile to ask and find out why.


It's possible that they either misunderstood your expectations or are charging for some hidden cost you were unaware of.

Set Your Budget

Be clear about your budget.


Make your expectations known to your painter and tell them you don't have room to budge.


With this in mind, they can make suggestions to adjust the costs to meet your requirements. This could be in the form of using less expensive paint, reducing the number of paint colours being used, or reducing the scope of the project.


You may find that your budget only allows for a certain amount of work to be done at one time. That’s ok. Your painter should be able to adjust their quote and help find the best solution that meets your needs.

Offer To Do Prep Work Yourself

Preparation is a huge part of the painting process. So offering to do some of the work yourself could help shave a significant portion off your bill.


As mentioned earlier, cleaning your walls, moving your furniture, and even doing some repairs could all help bring down the price of the job.


But make sure this is alright with your painter, as most will have strict requirements for their preparation and don't want to be held liable if anything is done incorrectly and could affect the outcome of the finish.

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Chapter 6: Do Painters Guarantee Their Work?

Guarantees are common in the painting industry. But they can take different forms depending on who you work with.


Some will be based on workmanship, others will honour manufacturer warranties or help remediate mistakes and damage during the job.

Painter Guarantees Explained

Workmanship guarantees will typically extend between 2-8 years.


On average, your home's paint should last between 5-10 years. 


But this range will depend on a combination of your choice of paint, the materials being painted, and the weather of your area.


It's recommended that you have your home repainted at least once every 7 years to outpace the rate of deterioration so your home is never left exposed.


Some painters may put stipulations on their guarantee, requiring maintenance and scheduled washing at certain intervals of time.


Make sure to get their guarantee in writing so you can see exactly what you’re getting when working with them.

Paint Manufacturer Warranties Explained

Paint manufacturer warranties are generally not very extensive and will only cover defects in the product itself.


When the paint has been on a home for several years and begins to fail, it will be nearly impossible to prove it was the paint at fault.


Manufacturer warranties will generally not cover physical damage or deterioration from the weather.

Is Expensive Paint Worth It?

When it comes to paint, you get what you pay for.


Premium paint will have more binders and pigment. This results in a fade-resistant paint with a more vibrant colour and a greater effective coverage area.


Premium paint will generally take fewer coats. You’ll want to consider premium paint if you intend to paint over darker colours, as cheaper, thinner paint will take far more coats.

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Chapter 7: Conclusion

That concludes The Definitive House Painting Cost Guide by B Painters.


We hope this resource has been valuable for you as you explore your options for home painting. 


But in case we missed anything or you have some additional questions about the topics we covered, reach out and we’ll gladly help!


Thanks for reading!

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