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How Much Do Painters Cost?

Last Updated Feb 28, 2018 · Written by Craig Gibson

Painting is one of the most popular and cost effective ways of giving a wall, room or home a makeover.

But how much do Aussie painters charge and how do they arrive at their rates? If you've ever got quotes for painting, you've probably asked yourself these questions. Here we look at how professional painters calculate their rates so you can better understand their process and assess a quote properly.

This article will help you figure out:

  • What jobs a painter can do
  • Planning your painting project
  • What to look for when hiring a painter
  • What you can expect to be quoted


What jobs can a painter do?

Painting might seem like a pretty simple job, until you give it a go. There is more to it that than meets the eye. There are different surfaces, paints and materials to consider - all of which have a real impact on your final finish. Any painter will tell you - getting surfaces properly prepared for that first coat is actually more important than anything else.

A professional painter can help you get the right finish on a whole range of projects around the home, including painting or repainting your interiors. The outside of your home will also need to be painted on average every five years, or less if you live near the coast. The same goes for the timber elements of your home, which require different preparation, paint and ongoing care to ensure they last. The same applies to your fencing, be that timber, metal or PVC which needs the right care and coat of paint or stain to look its best. And roof painting, which is a specialised job requiring dedicated equipment and safety protocols. The same applies to larger commercial projects, like new builds and commercial spaces, where you should consider hiring a painter who specialises in these jobs.

You should also keep painters on your radar for interior decorating related jobs, like colour consulting - which can make all the difference to the look and feel of your home. The same applies to hanging wallpaper, a specialised service that can many painters can help with. Painters can also help with special finishes and effects for your more creative projects, such as spray painting a surface.


Planning your painting project

Before you start getting quotes for your painting job, take the time to consider a few practical points that will affect the outcome of your project. These include:

  • Do you need a colour consultation? This service can give you an idea of what colour scheme might suit the interior or exterior of your home.
  • What type of paint to use? Gloss, low sheen or matt each have a unique finish and character, so decide what look you are after and where you will use each type.
  • What about all your timber doors, windows, and skirting boards? These all need a dedicated gloss or semi-gloss paint or wood stain, available in oil or water-based versions.
  • Do you need any special finishes or effects, such as wallpapering. Not all painters will offer this service.

Learn more: How Much Does an Interior Decorator Cost?


Hiring a painter

When it comes time to hiring a painter make sure they are right for your job. Some questions to ask then include:

  • Are you licensed?
  • Are you insured to work in my home?
  • How long will my job take?
  • Can you provide a written quote?
  • Do you have references I can follow up?

Does my painter need to be licensed?

The short answer is, it depends where you live - not all states require a licence. Currently New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia require painters to be licensed. To obtain a licence painters must typically hold a recognised qualification, such as Certificate III Painting and Decorating. Painters can obtain this qualification by completing a painting apprenticeship, or by having their existing skills assessed to this qualification.


Find a local Painters now

Advice from a painter

What advice would a professional painter give?

We asked hipages painter Nathan Waldron, who has over 15 years experience in the trade and he advised us not to be too price-driven when getting quotes from painters. “Preparation is everything for a quality finish. Some people may go for a cheaper quote, but if the preparation is not up to scratch you are going to see the results after a year or so. You also need to be very careful to match the correct type of paint with the surface.”

How do painters calculate their rates?

A painter will usually quote for your entire job. This is typically calculated on a per square metre basis. In most cases, the job quote includes paints and all other supplies. The per square metre charge is deceptive as takes into account all the work that goes into a painting job.

For interiors, factors they take into account include:

  • Is there any surface preparation or repairs required?
  • Are their architraves and trim?
  • How many doors need to be painted?
  • How high is the ceiling?

For exteriors, factors they take into account include:

  • Is your house on a level block? How easy is access?
  • Is it a multi-level house? If scaffolding is needed, the cost of the scaffolding and extra labour will need to be factored into the quote.
  • Do exterior fascias require separate treatment?


How much does a painter cost?

It is not uncommon to find a wide discrepancy in pricing when it comes to getting quotes from painters. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, an experienced painter is likely to be able to quote more accurately to account for all the prep work required. They are also likely to use better quality paint and materials. The big BUT, is that they should be able to justify all this in a detailed written quote. If your painter is unable to convince you of their value, or provide a written quote then best to carry on your search.

So, how much will a painter cost you?

The cost of interior house painting

Based on a single undercoat and two finishing coats, the average cost of interior painting in Australia is about $20 - $30 per square metre, including the ceiling. The lower end of this estimate is based on using a single colour with minimal prep and trim work. For a more difficult job that requires multiple colours, gloss architraves and a separate colour for the ceiling trim, a quote might be $30 or more per square metre. Expect to pay even more for special finishes like wallpapering, or to achieve crackle or sponged effects.

  • For a 2 bedroom unit with 1 bathroom and a laundry expect to be quoted in the region of $2,500 - $3,500.
  • If you only want a few rooms painted, say 2 bedrooms and the kitchen/dining area expect to be quoted in the region of $800 - $1500.


The cost of exterior house painting

For exterior painting of brickwork expect to be charged anywhere from $15 to $45 per square metre, while timber surfaces could range from $12 to $60 per square metre. Expect to pay:

  • $5,500 - 8,0000 for a 2 storey, 3 bedroomed house
  • $10,000 - $20,000 for a two story weatherboard home, depending on the size of the home and the condition of the surfaces

These prices would include prep work and painting all previously painted surfaces.

Read: What Colour Should You Paint the Exterior of Your Home?


The cost of roof painting

Expect to pay in the region of $2,800 - $4,500 for roof painting, assuming a 3 bedroom home with a metal, tile or terracotta surface. The existing condition of your roof will play a big part in the final cost. Roof repairs like repointing will add to the final cost.

Getting quotes from painters

The best way of finding out the cost of your painting job is to get quotes from local painters. This will give you a sense of what market rates currently are. The more information you give them the more accurate your quote. If your painter has a complete picture, the quotes you get are likely to be more realistic and you won't be in for any nasty surprises when they come and inspect your home before giving you a final price.

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