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Paint Job Estimate - Full Cost Guide

Last Updated Jun 7, 2018 · Written by Rob Schneider


How much does house painting cost? You can estimate the cost of interior or exterior painting and come up with a figure that will be close to the figure a professional house painter will give you. These are general guidelines for interiors and exteriors and the painters you get quotes from may charge less or more.

Exterior or interior painting can add value to your home. If you're planning on staying in your home, painting can be a great home improvement and will improve the appearance of the home.

  1. How much does interior painting cost?
  2. How much does exterior painting cost?
  3. How much does decorative painting cost?
  4. Choosing exterior and interior painters

How much does interior painting cost?*

Some costs for interior painting might be:

  • $4500 to $7000 to paint a 3 bedroom home with 2 bathrooms with plasterboard walls
  • $7500 to $10,500 to paint a 4 to 5 bedroom house with 2 to 3 bathrooms and plasterboard walls. The cost will include the kitchen and laundry room
  • $7000 to $10,000 to paint a 3 bedroom home with VJ walls and ceilings. The cost will include hallways, the kitchen and the living area
  • New builds cost between $5000 and $15,000

The cost may be more for a single room because painters can move from room to room as the paint dries in another room, which makes a more efficient workflow. If you remove the furnishings from a room, it can save money because the painters don't have to spend time moving furniture. Also remove blinds and curtains and door handles if you can so the painters don't have to work around door handles.

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Interior painting will depend on several factors:

  • Whether it's a new paint job or repainting
  • The size of the area that needs painting
  • The number of colours used
  • Whether you want ceilings painted as well as walls
  • Window frames will cost extra

All of these factors will play a part in the cost of painting an interior. In general, a small job like a bedroom will cost more than a larger job because of travel and setup time. A new paint job will require a base coat while a repainting job may require some sanding and scrubbing. The number of colours used will affect the cost because the painters have to switch colours and be careful when they're painting. Window frames generally have an oil based paint and a glossier level of paint. They have to be painted with brushes and can take longer than a single wall.

The costs will be higher if the walls are dirty and need repairing. Holes and scratches will need to be filled and that can be time consuming. The colour may affect the cost. Dark and bright colours generally need at least two coats of paint, which will cost more. Some other things that may make painting cost more include:

  • Oil paint versus acrylic paint
  • Unprimed walls will need a primer coat
  • Caulking of VJ boards, block or brick walls or pressed tin
  • A floor that doesn't have a carpet may cost less to paint than a carpeted floor.

The best way to get accurate quotes online is to describe the job in detail, including the square metres that need painting, the condition of the walls and whether you want more than one colour. Also mention if you want the ceilings painted and window and door trim. Doors, too, will cost extra, so mention if you want the doors painted. You will get an approximate online quote, but painters won't give a firm quote until they have seen the job in person. Good painters have years of experience and can give you quotes on the same day.

How much does exterior painting cost?*

Exterior painting can be trickier than interior painting. The exterior walls may need to be washed and possibly sanded. Ladders alone won't be enough for 2 storey homes and scaffolding may be needed. As with interior painting, you can get online quotes from exterior painters, but they will need to inspect your property before they can give a firm quote.

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Some average prices for exterior painting may be:

  • Eaves and fascia for an average sized home could be between $1500 and $2000
  • A small bungalow might cost between $4000 and $7000
  • A weatherboard home or home in good condition might cost between $7000 and $10,000
  • A small Victorian home can cost between $12,000 and $18,000
  • Larger homes and mansions can cost between $18,000 and $45,000

The price differences can be due to the condition of the existing exterior paint or whether it's on a flat or sloping block of land. The size of the home will also affect the cost and the number of colours used. This is why Victorian homes cost more because they generally have more colours than modern homes.

The cost of painting an exterior will depend on several other factors:

  • Preparation work
  • Fascias
  • The number of windows
  • The type of surface
  • The height of the building
  • A flat versus sloping block

All of these factors can slow painters down and add to the cost of exterior painting. If you have a house on a sloping block with a number or windows, it might cost closer to the higher end of the scale. Windows and doors will cost extra and fascias and eaves will also cost extra.

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How much does decorative painting cost?*

You may have a feature wall you want to paint in a decorative pattern or you may want walls in the living room or bedroom painted decoratively. Decorative painters will charge by the type of job you want done. They can achieve a variety of looks:

  • Sponging gives a two-tone look to a wall
  • Metallic paints can make a feature wall shine
  • Decorative painters can give a wall a faux finish that makes it look old, but beautiful
  • Some decorative painters can paint murals on walls

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The cost of each of these techniques and others will depend on the length of time it takes to create the look you want. Sponging may be the least expensive because it involves a base coat and then a sponged coat. Faux finishes can be harder to do and a mural will depend on the complexity of the project. Because decorative painting is dependent on the look you want to achieve, you will have to get quotes from decorative painters in your area to find out how much your project will cost. You may have to ask a paint shop in your area if they know of any decorative painters because they tend to work alone and will give local paint shops their cards to advertise their services.

Choosing exterior and interior painters

When choosing exterior or interior painters, don't look at the price alone. Both exterior and interior painters should have a wealth of experience behind them and be able to give you references. Many will have photographs of their previous work and any painter should be insured. Trade licences are required in most states, but some restrictions may apply. To find out what licences are needed and what the minimum cost is in your state, visit Licensed Trades: Painters and scroll down to your state.

*Costs and prices in this article are indicative and should only be used as a guide. They also vary locally and are subject to market forces.

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