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Ask Angi: What affects the cost of exterior painting?

by Tribune News Service | May 21, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Protecting edges and working around windows and doors are important parts of home painting. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Spring and summer bring to mind freshening up your home's exterior with a new coat of paint. And indeed, a brand-new paint job can liven up your home, improve curb appeal and generally upgrade your look at a fraction of the cost of other significant visual improvements.

On average, exterior house painting costs about $3,100, with most jobs ranging between $1,800 and $4,400. Here are some of the options for home painting that can raise or lower the price:

Home height: Single-story homes are, of course, the easiest and least time-consuming to paint. And most painting companies are experienced and equipped to handle two-story homes, though the price will increase. The price goes up quite a bit for three-story homes, which tend to require scaffolding, much taller ladders, and more paint to cover.

Home square footage: This is self-explanatory. Regardless of the number of floors, a bigger home requires more time, effort, and paint.

Siding type: Metal and cement/Hardie boards are fairly easy to paint. Wood siding takes paint and stain very well, though it requires some prep time. Stucco requires the most extensive prep time and usually costs the most to paint.

Additional features: Some parts of your exterior simply take more time and effort to paint. Porches require a lot of extra effort, for instance, and fascia is often weather-damaged and must be repaired or replaced before being painted. Shutters, window sashes, and doors also add some extra time, though these are easier to work with.

Age of your house: When working in any home built prior to 1978, a painting pro will have to take extra steps to safely work with the possibility of lead paint. Don't hire a pro who claims they can skip those steps; lead safety measures are required by the Environmental Protection Agency for all pre-1978 residences. Anyone skipping those steps doesn't take the work or your safety seriously.

Questions to ask painting pros

Ask your painting professional these five questions before you hire.

1. How will you protect my home?

Exterior painting projects can be messy. This makes preparing susceptible parts of your home, like landscaping, decks, and porches, an essential part of any painting project. Only hire a pro who has a plan to care for your home.

2. Are you insured?

Painting a home's exterior can be dangerous work. If an accident happens, hiring an insured pro will protect you and your home. If your contractor has a crew, be sure they provide workers' comp as well.

3. Do you offer a guarantee?

Guarantees are a sign a contractor is trustworthy and committed to quality work. While it's not a deal breaker if a pro doesn't offer guarantees, it's always best to work with ones who do.

4. Can you walk me through your process?

Exterior painting projects can involve several phases. Working with a pro who will walk you through each step will ensure they are diligent, experienced, and prepared for your job.

Don't hire a contractor unwilling to share their painting process. This can be a sign of inexperience.

5. Do you offer design services?

Some painting contractors offer help with choosing colors. It's not a deal breaker if your pro doesn't, but it can be a major plus -- especially if your home has accents like decorative trim.

Tweet your home care questions with #AskingAngi and we'll try to answer them in a future column.

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