Paint EstimatorUse the Paint Estimator tool to get the cost of professionally painting all rooms in an existing or new construction home.
This price also includes the following: repair of damaged walls, and 1 coat of new paint for closets, staircases, moldings and ceilings. Estimated cost includes Labor and Materials.
How to use the calculatorThe Paint Calculator is designed to provide accurate interior painting cost per square foot for the entire house.
Prices are based on 8' ceiling height. If your ceilings are higher, you should add about 9% per additional foot to the total price.
If you do not change the Color / Ceiling setting, costs are calculated assuming application of 2 coats of light color paint on all walls, and 1 coat on all standard ceilings.
Moving or covering furniture, painting moldings, repairing drywall and exterior wall damages, or painting doors/windows, is not included in the initial price. However, you can change these settings to include those items in the total cost.
If you want to paint rooms in darker colors, this will require more than 2 coats to get proper coverage and color saturation, thus increasing the cost.
If you have Cathedral / Vaulted ceilings, painters will have to spend considerably more time setting up staging, and getting up to paint such ceilings, thus costs will further increase.
Average interior painting cost per square footOn average, homeowners across the US report spending $3-3.75 per square foot on professional painting labor and materials. Thus, painting a 2,000 sq.ft. home costs about $6,000-7,500
Depending on total square footage, job complexity and the quality of primer and paint used the cost can go up to $5-6 per square foot.
When it comes to painting projects, labor constitutes 75-80% of the total cost.
IF you want to have textured walls or ceilings, expect to pay at least 50% more for the job per square foot: $6-7.5 per sq.ft. Interior paint really varies in price and quality. Cheap paint by brands like Valspar can cost as little as $20-30 per gallon for flat/matte paint. High-end brands, such as Farrow and Ball, that have very high quality pigments that don't fade overtime as well as unique colors can cost as much as $100-120 per gallon. However, you can get very beautiful results and lasting quality with middle of road, trusted brands such as Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore (sold at your local Lowe's or Home Depot). Depending the type of paint, these brands cost $40-55 per gallon.
How much do painters charge?Hiring a painting pro costs $30-50 per hour and depends on the scope of work as well as local labor rates. A pro can cover about 100-120 square feet of flat wall space per hour. If you have a very small painting project, like painting one room, you can easily hire a handyman for the job and pay $20-25 per hour.
It may be surprising to learn that painting contractors can give very different estimates for a paint job, depending the cost of living in their particular area as well as the cost of overhead to run their business.
A seasoned, well established interior painting contractor will have 15-20% higher painting estimates than a small company that is just starting out.
Keep in mind that many painting pros charge per square foot rather than per hour of labor. Painting prices for multiple room will be $2-4 per square foot, depending on the scope of work.
When you get price estimates from different painting pros, its usually safe to go for a middle of the road estimate. You will most likely get the best value: good job quality for a reasonable price.
Always be sure to ask for at least 3 local references of recently completed jobs. Its also a good idea to call at least one of these references and find out how the job actually went down and whether the homeowner was overall satisfied doing business with this contractor.
Once you find a painting pro you want to hire, be sure to have a detailed contract that includes the scope of work and prices for all materials and paint that is being used. Find out how many coats of paint will be applied as well as the brand of paint that will be used. Most decent painting pros will use quality brands like BEHR or Sherwin Williams. The contract should also spell out the time frame to complete the project and as well as set up clean up details.
Downsides of hiring a cheap painting proBecause interior painting may seem like a fairly easy job, unlike electric or plumbing work, its tempting to try to save money and go for the lowest bid. After all, how bad can a professional painting job be?
The truth is that there are a lot of things that can go wrong with a sloppy painting job and the crappy results will be instantly visible. Prepping the ceiling and walls as well as carefully repairing any damages is 50% of a successful job. However, cheap painters typically rush through this part of the project. Consequently, you see small holes in the walls, paint stains, bubbling paint and other ugly errors.
Lastly, small but important details such as trim and moldings are very easy to mess up if you don't have the precise skills and patience to get it right. Most, low budget painters don't do a good job painting more complex architectural details or room configurations.
Cost of lead paint removalIf your home or apartment is more than 30 years old (constructed prior to 1978), there is a high chance that the current paint on the walls and window/door trim contains lead. This is a serious health hazard, especially if there are small children living in the home. If you suspect that there may be lead paint on your walls, its best to test for it and remove it, before putting on new coats of paint.
Professional lead testing costs $350-500 for a three bedroom, 2 bathroom house. Be sure to ask the assessor if the lead found actually poses a risk and needs to be removed. Lead removal is very expensive and costs $8-15 per square foot. On average, removing lead from a 2,000 sq.ft. house costs $9,000-10,000
If you are planning to rent out your property, removing lead is necessary in order to comply with state regulations.
Cost to paint one roomAs a rule of thumb it is much cheaper per square foot to paint multiple rooms or the entire house, as opposed to just one room (especially if its small). Hiring a pro to paint one standard size room costs $450-650, depending on the scope of work and local labor fees.
Painting cost per square foot averages at $2.75-4 for one room, if you include the cost of painting the ceiling, window and door trim as well as crown moldings.
Painting one room is so expensive because a pro has to include the cost of set up and clean up as well as his overhead into a small job. For him, this cost remains the same whether he is painting 200 sq.ft. of space or 2,000 sq.ft. of space.
Wall repairsSince every house is different, this option includes minor or major repairs. Most painters will charge per man-hour for this service, so we estimated our cost formula based on how many hours it will take to do small or large repair to sheet rock / drywall, over the entire house area.
The average cost to fix wall damages is about $40-45 / hour.
Cost to paint crown moldingsEach house has a different type and quantity of moldings. To simplify the estimating process we include 2 options - paint floor moldings only, or no molding painting at all. If you have moldings on walls or on ceilings, you can price those at $0.65 / linear foot.
Accurate paint job estimateSee our demo video on how a painting estimate is determined:
Most professional painters charge for their work either per square foot, or for the entire house (horizontal square footage). However, if you are looking to paint only a small area (one or two rooms), your cost per square foot will go up, as the area goes down.
As with most other home improvement projects, economy of scale determines the cost of your job. Get in touch with painting pros in your area, for a free estimate.
Thus if you want to paint 2 rooms of approximately 150 sq. ft. each (300 sq.ft. total), you will be paying about $4 per sq. ft. However if you are painting the entire house, your base price is about $2.25 per sq.ft. for a 1 storey home with a total of 1700 sq.ft. of living area to be painted (including closets / staircases). A 2+ storey home of same size will cost about $2.45 per sq.ft.
However, as the house area increases, your cost per square foot goes down. For example, painting a 2400 sq. ft. house will cost $1.85 per sq.ft., and a 3,000 sq.ft. home will cost about $1.65 per sq.ft.
To account for these price differences based on home size, we've included an intelligent computation formula that gradually changes the painting cost per square foot, based on house size. You can test this out by gradually increasing or decreasing the Home Size setting in increments of 10 / 20 / 30 sq.ft., etc.
DIY interior painting costRepainting a room or even the entire home is one of the most popular DIY remodeling projects. This is because many budget conscious homeowners would rather spend time and effort to paint their house then spend $2,000+ on a professional paint job. The truth is you can easily save 50-60% off the cost of professional painting if you go the DIY route.
While huge costs savings is the biggest upside to DIY house painting, there are some serious drawbacks to consider before you decide what you want to do:
- The paint job will take you much longer compared to the painting speed of the pros. An experienced paint crew can paint the entire house in 2-3 days (depending on square footage and job complexity). However, if you only paint on week nights and weekends the same job may take you 2-3 weeks. During this time, the area that you are painting will not be usable and the house will be in a general state of disarray.
- Set up and clean up are very time consuming and labor intensive. Moving furniture is also a big ordeal.
- While its fairly easy to paint a rectangular or square room with 8 ft ceilings, more complex interior design makes the paint job much harder. For example, painting vaulted or cathedral ceilings requires special equipment and skills. Painting trim and crown moldings well is also a task that calls for expert skills and is easy to mess up.
- Unless you have already done many paint jobs and are really good at it, its usually very easy to tell when a novice does interior painting,compared to a pro. Unfortunately, it just doesn't look that great and there are many visible errors that can really diminish the overall aesthetic appeal of your home.
- If you are repainting your house interior before putting your home up for sale, most realtors recommend hiring a painting pro and not trying to save money on this project.
Return on investment
Compared to most remodeling projects, repainting your home interior is relatively inexpensive, yet it brings in a very high ROI of 80% or more. Putting on a fresh coat of paint is a must if you want your home to sell fast and for the asking price.
Real estate brokers can't say enough about how much impact a newly painted home can make on a prospective buyer's desire to buy the property. Follow these tips for best results:
- Paint ALL rooms. This will create a sense of unity, flow and design consistency throughout the home. Many people will be disappointed if they see a freshly painted living room and kitchen, but dingy looking bathrooms and bedrooms. In today's market, most buyers are looking for a turn-key house.
- Paint trim, ceilings, doors, windows. While it will cost more and will take more time, your space will get a real face lift. If you just do the walls, the room will not look as presentable and modern.
- Go for neutral colors. Every person has their own color preferences, so there is no point in trying to impress with the trendiest hues of the current year. Instead, go for time tested, classic and neutral colors, such as beige, taupe, cream, shades of grey, off white. If you want to add more color on an accent wall, shades of blue, green, or warm earth tones always have a nice general appeal.
Average Interior Painting Costs:
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