DIY or Hiring a Painter: The Average Cost to Paint a House Exterior

calander Sep 12 , 2022 user-iconAnderson Painting
Exterior of a large painted house.

When your home’s exterior needs a fresh coat of paint, you know it will cost you something. To save a buck, you might consider tackling the project on your own. And yet, a do-it-yourself (DIY) home painting project isn’t free by any means – it requires your time and effort (plus, you’ll be on the hook for materials). At the same time, the estimates you receive from a professional painting company can give you serious sticker shock. But what is the average cost to paint a house exterior, exactly? So many variables play into this total cost that it’s hard to come up with a reliable figure, DIY or otherwise.

Let’s go over which factors determine exterior painting costs so you can decide for yourself if it makes more sense to do it yourself or hire the experts.

Factors that Determine Exterior Painting Costs

Tools and Materials

Paint is the primary material required for an exterior painting project, but it’s far from the only product you’ll need to get the job done. At the very least, you’ll need applicators to get the paint on your siding, trim, doors, etc. (e.g., brushes, rollers, sprayers). Beyond these tools, you’ll need the right stuff to prepare your home for painting, including sanders, scrapers, drop cloths, painter’s tape, ladders, buckets, personal protective equipment (PPE), and more. Moreover, the cost of these various tools and substances can range widely depending on their quality, branding, and scarcity. If you want to provide your property with long-lasting, beautiful exterior house paint, prepare to pay more upfront. And the larger your project, the more materials you'll need.

Labor: From Preparation, to Cleanup

All the right materials won’t mean a thing if there’s no one to use them. Indeed, labor often constitutes more than half of the total cost of exterior painting, and preparation is a major reason why. The best paint jobs require a fair amount of prep work, from power washing to siding and trim repairs to caulking and so much more. Then there’s the painting itself (often requiring at least two coats with time between drying) and the final cleanup. If you do all the work yourself, you won’t have to worry about dishing out for these labor costs, which can range from $50-100/hr – rather, you’ll have to take time out of your own busy schedule, and time is money. If you don’t mind spending your free time getting down and dirty, this trade-off might be worth it. If, however, you stand to gain more by outsourcing this work (either in finances or joy), hire a painter instead.


The total cost of residential exterior painting also depends on where you live. After all, markets and regulations can differ quite a bit from region to region. If you live in a more populated area with a higher cost of living, steeper tax and insurance rates, and harsher winters, it’ll cost you more to hire painters than in places with warmer weather and lower costs of living. These details can account for a 10-50% difference in exterior painting labor costs, all else being equal. In Raleigh, NC, exterior painting costs are relatively low due to warmer temperatures and other factors.

Time of Year

Exterior painting rates often fluctuate throughout the year, too. This is especially true if you live in a region that experiences all four seasons. Exterior painting requires the right conditions for safe and proper execution – extremely cold temperatures, snow, rain, and high winds are a no-go. As such, many areas see a sudden surge in demand for exterior painting services starting in the spring, which in turn increases rates. Sometimes it pays to get in early, and sometimes it’s better to wait until later in the summer or early fall to nab the best prices. If you decide to do it yourself, just keep an eye on the forecast before you begin.

Quality of Work

The final factor to consider when determining the cost of exterior painting is quality. As mentioned earlier, the quality of materials can make a big difference in terms of the longevity of your paint job and its initial cost – the same is true of the quality of work. Technique and efficiency cannot be overlooked here. You might be drawn to DIY projects, but professional painters bring invaluable expertise to the table. Of course, the more seasoned and reputable your residential painters, the more they can charge for their services. Whether or not this premium is worth it to you depends on your current situation and long-term goals. Keep in mind that painters charging the lowest rates might not deliver the results you desire.

The Bottom Line

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for your exterior painting needs. Therefore, there’s no way to know what such a project will cost until you start digging into the details. DIY projects tend to cost less on paper, but they might cost you more in the long run when you consider factors like durability and opportunity cost (i.e., the loss of potential gain by going another route). Residential painting companies in your area will charge different rates depending on their experience and processes, so it’s best to receive multiple estimates from promising candidates before making the final call.

At Anderson Painting, we keep our prices competitive while offering high-quality products and services to keep your home looking its best for the longest amount of time possible. We’re happy to provide a free estimate for all our potential customers. And if you have questions or concerns regarding your property’s exterior, call today at 919-610-1855 or email us at!

If you enjoyed this content, browse our other articles:

Five Ways to Customize Your Concrete Flooring for the Perfect Look

Beyond its durability and versatility, a concrete floor offers a blank canvas for customization. Learn five ways to cust...

Choosing the Right Colors for Commercial Spaces: Psychology and Branding

The paint colors you choose for your commercial space can make or break your business. Make sure to pick a color that wi...

Hiring Professional Painters for Winter Interior Projects: What to Look For

Avoid botched painting jobs and get the best bang for your buck. Learn several variables to consider when searching for ...