How much does it cost to paint a house? A breakdown of material and labour costs to help you budget

We show you exactly how to work out your exterior painting budget

Green and beige house
(Image credit: Future PLC / Colin Poole)

If your home is in sore need of a spruce up, giving the exterior a lick of paint could do just the trick, but how much does it cost to paint a house? 

Unlike front door ideas, repainting the whole exterior of a house is a big job, and the budget can be influenced by many factors. ‘The price of repainting your home can fluctuate wildly based on the shape and dimensions of the house, the complexity of the property structure, and the need for surface preparation or repairs,’ Ben Thomson, manager at paint distributor Promain explains.

Cost can be a major deciding factor when considering whether you want to try painting the exterior of your home by yourself or would prefer to call on the professionals. If you go down the professional route, Ben says, ‘I advise seeking out estimates from multiple contractors to compare the prices and services so you can come to a fully informed decision regarding the best path forward.’

How much does it cost to paint a house?

Indeed, a variety of estimates can be helpful, but even these can vary if you’re not extremely clear about what exactly you’re looking for upfront. Trevor Mangan, owner of TJ Painting and Decorating suggests getting an ‘exterior decorating specification’ when asking for a quote. He explains, ‘This is basically a how to guide outlining how you would like someone to carry out the work. What materials to use, working hours etc. This is the secret to receiving quotes and estimates that you can compare on an eggs with eggs basis.’

Green and beige house

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Of course, carrying out the work yourself will cut labour costs, but will require a lot of time and effort in exchange. So, to decide if DIY or professional is the best option, we’ve collated a selection of experts to ensure you make the right decision.

What impacts the cost of painting a house exterior?

Trevor from TJ Painting and Decorating gives us a breakdown on the different factors that could contribute to costs. He explains;

  • The Size: Smaller homes might see starting estimates around £1,500. However, for sprawling estates, be prepared that quotes could soar far beyond £6,000.
  • Materials: Whether it's wood or masonry, each material demands a unique approach and, of course, incurs different expenses.
  • Awkward Areas: Any existing damage can escalate costs. Intricate fascia’s, other detailed woodwork, multiple floors, and getting over outbuildings or conservatories can all add to additional costs
  • Preparation Work: Before any painting can begin, all the necessary preparation work needs to be carried out, this is where a lot of money can be spent and saved. It is essential this work is carried out thoroughly as it’s the most important part of the job.

White house exterior with blue door

(Image credit: Future PLC)

How to calculate the costs of painting the exterior

So how much does it cost to paint the exterior? When working it out, first decide if you want all exterior walls of the home painted or just the front and consider if you also would like to include window trims in the painting job.

To get a good idea of costs, you then need to measure the exterior of your home. Many brands have online paint calculators to let you know how much product will be required and they mostly work in square metres. 

To work out the square metre measurement of an area with a tape measure, remember there are 100cm in a metre. Once you have the height and width in metres, times them by each other to get the square metre measurement, ie, height 5m x width 3m = 15sqm

On average, you can expect to cover around 5sqm (two coats) per litre of masonry paint. Tins of paint are on average between 5-10 litres.

What are the supply costs involved?

Costs can vary considerably, but we spoke to Sean Saunders from Sean Saunders Painting & Decorating, a Checkatrade-approved member, to get a rough idea of how much supplies would be to paint the exterior of a two-bedroom semi-detached house:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
MaterialsAverage Price
Sealing coat/primer£1,000
Masonry paint£300
Brushes and accessories£40
Scaffolding hire£330

As is clear in the table of costs, the actual masonry paint itself is not where the main outlay comes from, instead preparation can be costly and is something that may well be overlooked when first putting together a budget. However, according to Sean, this expensive stage shouldn’t be skipped if you want the best results, ‘Sealers and primers are essential when painting the exterior walls of a house. They help create a smooth surface for paint to sit on top of, and help ensure that the paint wears well over time, throughout the changing elements,’ he says.

What are the average labour costs?

Sean also gives us an idea of the cost of hiring a professional to paint the exterior of your home:

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Painter hourly rate£27.50 - £50
Painter daily rate£220 - £400
Row 2 - Cell 0 Row 2 - Cell 1

These prices are a ballpark and can vary depending on which city you live in. But with a daily rate in mind, the next task is to work out roughly how long you’d need a painter for to complete the exterior paint of your home.

Rachael Doyle, spokesperson for Wetherby Building Systems gives us a guideline to work from;

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House sizeTimeframe
Small terraced house (2-3 bedrooms)3-5 days
Semi-detached house (3 bedrooms)4-5 days
Detached house (3-4 bedrooms)4-8 days
Larger properties or complex designsUp to 2 weeks

What other factors will impact the cost of painting a house exterior?

The exterior paints and finishes used plus the condition of the walls will play a part. The costs will grow if you need to fill cracks or remove old, flaking paint. This is why it is a could idea to keep an eye on how often you need to repaint your exterior to avoid an unnecessarily expensive job.

Plus, adding design elements such as contrasting trims can also increase the costs as can your location with big cities such a London having higher labour costs than elsewhere in the UK. 

White house exterior

(Image credit: Future PLC / Colin Poole)

The number of storeys can also impact the price, not just because more paint may be needed to cover the exterior, but extra scaffolding could be required for tall homes too.

Delays of course also drive up the cost, Rachael explains the factors that can slow down progress;

  • Size of the house
  •  The complexity of the design
  •  Condition of the surface
  •  Number of painters
  •  Number of coats applied

Lastly, weather can cause significant delays when painting the exterior of your home, especially here in the UK, which, if paying your painter a day rate, can quickly cause costs to soar. 

Trevor from TJ Painting and Decorating explains that there is a way to avoid bad weather causing your budget to spiral by confirming painter rates, ‘At the start of the work agree a day rate you would pay them should there be bad weather. This approach could be worth considering if you want the work completed by a specific date,’ he explains.

Now, get your pen and paper out and start drawing up the budget so you're not caught out by surprise expenses.