How much does it cost to paint the exterior of a house? A primer from the experts

Wondering how much it costs to paint the exterior of a house? We get the low-down

Exterior of pink Chelsea mews house
(Image credit: Billy Bolton)

How much does it cost to paint the exterior of a house? With summer approaching and the urge to get your house looking its best, this might be the question on your lips.

Whether you are looking to express yourself through vibrant color or spruce up an otherwise tired façade, painting the exterior of your house is an easy way to up your home's curb appeal

If you’re looking to paint the exterior of your house, here’s everything you need to know about how much it will cost, along with top tips from the experts for the perfect finish.

How much does it cost to paint the exterior of a house?

According to HomeAdvisor, the cost to paint the exterior of a house typically falls between $1,771 and $4,347. Per square foot, it typically costs between $1.50 and $4.

Multiple factors affect this cost, including:

  • How large your house is
  • Whether you will be painting anything extra – like the garden fence, or any garden furniture at the rear – to match
  • The exterior material of the house
  • Where you're based

The cost can be calculated by multiplying the paint tin price by how many you will need.

But painting the exterior of your house isn’t just about painting the façade: 'a fresh coat of paint for railings, gates, fencing, decking or a front door can immediately impart your style or improve curb appeal,' says Matthew Brown at exteriors specialist Sadolin & Sandtex.

Likewise, keep the rear of the home exciting by painting the accessories: 'Look to be a little more adventurous by painting items of furniture such as seating, railings or even an interesting feature such as an old wheelbarrow or ladder to create a piece of individual flair,' Matthew says.

How can I work out how much paint I need?

'To work out how much paint you need to paint the exterior of your house, first calculate your square meters,' recommends Anna Hill at Fenwick & Tilbrook.

If you have already chosen which paint you want to use, often the brand will have a coverage calculator on their website – this will give you the most accurate answer on how many liters or gallons of paint you will need.

'The Fenwick & Tilbrook website enables you to input your dimensions to help calculate square meters and then advise number of liters required based on applying 2 coats,' Anna says.

A thatched roof cottage painted pink

(Image credit: Sadolin & Sandtex)

How many coats of paint should you use on the exterior of a house?

'We would always recommend using two coats of paint on the exterior of your home, even if you’re seeing great coverage with just one,' says the decorating team at Lick. 'That second coat adds durability and longevity to your paint job.'

Ensure you account for at least two coats of paint when working out how much you will need. 

'Note that some darker or brighter colors may need three coats, as the covering power might be lower,' Lick adds. 'Such colors can also fade more quickly in the sun, so that third coat gives you a little more durability.'

What type of paint works best for the exterior of a house?

When painting the exterior of a house, it is important to choose paint that is durable, waterproof and UV resistant.

'We would recommend a high-quality masonry paint that is made using UV resistant pigments to ensure the color doesn’t fade over time,' says Anna at Fenwick & Tilbrook.

'Our water-based Ultimate Masonry finish has elasticity allowing for natural movement and is outstandingly durable, designed to protect exterior surfaces even in the harshest conditions,' says Anna. 'Our Masonry paint is self-priming so does not require the use of a primer prior to application.'

Does the house’s exterior need to be primed before painting?

The short answer is no, but Lick’s decorating team adds: 'Proper preparation is crucial to how flawless your exterior paint job will be.' 

Prepare your surface by following these steps:

1. 'Thoroughly clean and dry the surface. If the walls have been painted previously, remove any flaking or peeling paint with a pressure washer or wire brush'.

2. 'Repair any cracks with exterior fillers'

3. 'Move any climbing plants and trellises out of the way as much as possible.' 

'Once all the cleaning is done, leave the surface to dry completely before you start painting,' says Lick.


Olivia Emily is one of the most exciting new talents in consumer lifestyle journalism. Currently finishing off a Masters in Journalism at the City University, London, she has quickly proved herself at being adept on reporting on new interiors trends. A regular contributor to Livingetc, she is brilliant at being able to decode information for our audience.