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How Much Do Painters Cost?

Last Updated Oct 11, 2017 · Written by Kat Tate

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
  • What to look for when hiring a painter
  • What they might charge

(Want an exact cost to paint a house? Click here to receive three quotes from experienced painters in your area.)

© Dimpat Construction

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:

Interiors: the most common job for most painters is painting or repainting the interior of your home.

Exteriors: the outside of your home needs to be painted on average every five years, or less if you live near the coast.

Colour consulting: getting expert advice on what colour scheme to paint your interiors or exteriors can make all the difference to the look and feel of your home.

Commercial projects: for large projects like new builds and commercial spaces, consider hiring a painter who specialises in these jobs.

Timber maintenance: timber requires different preparation, paint and ongoing care to ensure its longevity. 

Fence painting: your fence could be timber, metal or PVC and needs the right care and paint to look its best.

Roof painting: roof painting is a specialised job requiring dedicated equipment and safety protocols.

Special finishes: painters can help you get that special effect for your creative project, such as spray painting a surface.

Wallpapering: hanging wallpaper is a specialised service that can many painters can help with.

Wallpaper can add a different dimension to a room. © Wayne Hack Electrical Services

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 and the overall cost to paint a house. 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.


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.

A well executed exterior colour scheme can add real kerb appeal to your home.  © Royal Sydney Painting

#hiptip: Proper preparation of surfaces is crucial for a quality paint finish

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?

Find a Local Painters now

Advice from a painter

What advice would a professional painter give?

Former Tradie of the Month, Nathan Waldron of Phoenix Colour has over 15 years experience in the trade and advises 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.”

Cleaning and preparing detailed outdoor surfaces are crucial to a quality finish.  © Mark Macinnis Architect

Painters quote based on a rate per square metre taking into account all the prep work required

How do painters calculate their rates?

A painter will usually quote for your entire job when calculating how much it will cost to paint a house. 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?

(Want an exact cost to paint a house? Click here to receive three quotes from experienced painters in your area.)

Window frames in an accent colour add personality to this bedroom. © Roth Architecture

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 it cost to paint a house?

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 $10 - $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.

A colour scheme with a feature wall can help add visual interest. © SmartSpace Interiors

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.  In terms of pricing for a 2 storey, 3 bedroomed house expect a quote in the region of $5,500 - 8,0000, including fascia. For a  weatherboard home expect to pay in the region of $10,000 - $20,000, depending on the size of the home and the condition of the surfaces. This would include prep work and painting all previously painted areas

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

Roof painting is a specialised job best left to a professional. © Supreme Roofing Group

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.

(Want an exact cost to paint a house? Click here to receive three quotes from experienced painters in your area.)

This will give you a sense of what market rates currently are. 

* All the costs and prices quoted were sourced at the time this article was written. They are indicative, may vary locally, are subject to market forces and should only be used as a guide.



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