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How much does house painting cost in 2023?

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Samantha is a Sydney-based real estate and home improvement writer. She is currently Head of Marketing at OpenAgent.

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cost to paint a house

When you're looking to refresh or update your home, especially before putting it on the market, a lick of paint is usually a good starting point. But how much does it cost?

If you ask painters or your neighbours this question and you may get wildly different answers. Why would one exterior or interior paint job cost twice as much as another? It's not just because of the size of a job. Painters have to take a number of factors into consideration to come up with an accurate quote.

Why house painting is a good investment

One exterior may cost as little as $4000 to paint while another can cost up to $20,000. However, the cost of painting the home often reflects the value of the home. Whatever the cost, a paint job can far more than its cost to the value of your home. If your home value is $500,000, you may make $25,000 to $50,000 more and the increased value goes up with the value of your home.

Indoors, you want your home to look light, airy and as large as possible. A new paint job in a light, neutral colour will appeal to the widest number of buyers. The light colour will make any room appear brighter and larger.

You're not just selling a home, you're selling a lifestyle, and buyers will pay more for a home they feel they can move into. If the paint is peeling or faded, the only buyers who will be interested in your property will be buyers looking for a house to flip and make a quick profit on. Consider painting an investment and you can make the extra profit instead of the bargain hunter.

How much does it cost to paint the house exterior?

Two houses that cover the same square metres of land can get very different quotes even from the same exterior painter. Some of the things a painter will factor into their quotes include:

  • Prep work
  • Fascias
  • The number of windows
  • The type of surface they are painting
  • The height of the building
  • Flat versus a sloping block

The quality of the paint they use will be another cost, but it will be a minor cost.

A reputable exterior painter will not paint your home until they have completed all the prep work. They may only need to clean the walls or they may need to remove old paint. They will do whatever it takes to ensure your new paint lasts as long as possible.

You may want your fascias and windows to be a different colour, but even if they are the same colour, painters consider them a separate job. In most cases, they will use semi-gloss paint. Window trims, fascias and decorative elements need to be painted with brushes. They are more time consuming than walls and the painter must take extra care when painting them.

The type of surface will also be a factor an exterior painter will take into consideration. They will also charge more for a two-storey home than for a single storey home because they may need scaffolding and the work will proceed more slowly. If a house is on a sloping block, it may cost more because it can be more difficult to work on the sloping sides of the house.

With all these factors to consider, you won't know what a painter will charge until they have a chance to inspect your property.

The range of prices can be:

  • $15 to $45 per square metre for brick exteriors
  • $12 to $60 per square metre for timber exteriors
  • Weatherboard may cost about the same as timber

The spread is greater for timber exteriors because timber may need more prep work and can involve more detailed painting. Weatherboard, too, may need extra work. Although brick is an uneven surface, it usually needs less prep work and painters know how to paint brick fast and efficiently.

A simple exterior paint job on a three-bedroom home might cost only around $4000. A more complex job on a two-storey, three-bedroom home can cost between $10,000 and $20,000. You will need to get quotes from painters to know the price of painting your home, but expect to pay more for a complex job on a two-storey home.

Read: How landscaping can add $15,000 or more to the value of your property

interior painting cost

How much does it cost to paint the house interior?

Interior painting is similar to exterior painting. One interior that's the same number of square metres as another can cost twice as much to paint. Some things a painter will consider when they prepare a quote include:

  • Prep work
  • Windows
  • Architraves and other trim work
  • Doors
  • Ceiling height
  • Feature walls
  • Desired paint colour(s)
  • The type of surface they are painting

When they take all of these things into consideration, their rate can vary from as low as $10 per square metre to $30 per square metre or more, including the ceiling. On average, interior painters charge $18 to $30 per square metre in Australia.

For example, one living room may have only one large window, skirting boards and no doors. If it has a low ceiling, you may want to paint the ceiling white and use a glossier paint to make the ceiling appear higher. A job like this might cost around $14 per square metre.

If you have a period home, such as an Art Deco or Federation style home, your painter may have more detailed painting to do and the cost could be closer to the high end of the scale. If you have very high ceilings, your painter may need to erect scaffolding, which will cost extra.

If you want to have a feature wall, it may need decorative painting (such as sponging), which will cost more. If you want to go from a dark colour to a light colour, your painter will need to apply more coats and it may cost more.

It's a good idea to calculate the cost of selling your home to help you budget accordingly.

Things to consider before hiring a professional painter

As you can see, there are a lot of variables that'll influence the final cost of painting a house. For this reason, it's a good idea to first consider several things before you start your search. This way, when it comes to receiving quotes, you can compare apples with apples.

Here are some things you can ask yourself before you begin your search:

  • What type of paint finish do you want?
  • What colour(s) do you want?
  • Do you plan to also paint your doors, windows, skirting boards or other decorative elements?

For more tips on ways to increase the value of your home, read: 10 ideas to increase the value of your property before you sell.