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Professional Painter Prices

Professional Painter Prices

Most professional painters charge $2 to $6 per square foot of paintable area. Less commonly, they’ll charge anywhere from $20 to $50 an hour. In some areas with high costs of living, you might even pay upwards of $100 an hour. Most of this is for labor. Ask your pro to break out prices in an estimate into materials, labor and paint.

Professional’s total cost:

Paint and other supplies: 15%.
Labor: 85%.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 45 percent are self-employed. More information regarding rates and associated factors is included below.

Painter Cost Per Hour for Labor
Hiring a painter costs $20 to $50 per hour. In some locations, you might pay as much as $75 per hour or more. More commonly, they’ll charge per square foot at $2 to $6.

How Much Do Painters Charge Per Day?

You can expect to pay a pro $200 to $500 per day. Most don’t usually charge a per-day, or per diem, rate. More often, you’ll find they either charge a per square foot, hourly or project price.

Price Per Square Foot for Painting a New Construction

You’ll pay anywhere from $2 to $4 per square foot for new construction. However, your general contractor takes care of all subcontracting needs. Unless you’re acting as your own general contractor, you won’t need to worry, it’ll all be included in the total home price.

Residential Painters Cost Per Project

Painting residential projects costs anywhere from $1 to $6 per square foot or $150 to $4,500 for the project. Pricing varies between jobs. Consider the amount of time each takes.

Common home project pricing includes:

Painting a home interior room and walls costs $1,000-$2,800 total or $2-$3 per square foot. Obstacles like stairwells and kitchen cabinets might increase prep time and thus cost.
Painting home exterior siding costs $1,700-$4,000. Up to 25 percent more than an interior.
Small home project painting costs $350-$1,100. Might include one accent wall, a door, cabinets or paneling.
Painting a mural or trompe l’oeil costs $800-$1,700. Consider the artist’s cost and fee structure, and the size of the space.
Ceiling painting prices: $150-$350. Cheaper if included with a whole home project.
Paint handrail or porch railing costs: $1-$5 per linear foot. Highly detailed rails might run twice as much.
Cost to stain or paint fences: $700-$4,500.
Deck staining costs $500-$1,000.
Deck waterproofing or sealing costs $550-$1,200.
Trim painting costs $500-$1,500 or $1-$3 per linear foot.
Painting an Apartment or Home as a Renter
If the responsibility is yours, you’ll pay $1,000 to $3,000 on average to repaint an apartment. Some buildings and landlords have pre-selected painters, while others will contract companies on an as-needed basis. If your landlord or building doesn’t have a regular pro, see if you can DIY it to save up to 85 percent on labor.

If you’re moving in and selecting a non-neutral color, understand that your landlord may require you to redo the walls the original color when you move out. Be ready to make that investment down the road.

There are cases where apartment complexes allow you to choose from a color wheel of neutral hues before you move in. Some charge a fee for calling in a handyman or other pro to do the walls, while most offer it as a benefit of signing a lease.

Commercial Painting Costs Per Square Foot

Commercial painting costs $2 to $6 per square foot. Exterior jobs on multi-level buildings might run you twice that much due to setup time and accessibility. Commercial and residential projects are priced similarly.

Hiring Cheap House Painters
You may want to save a few dollars by hiring the lowest bid that comes in. Remember that cheap work usually gives cheap results. Take the time to talk to each pro to find out what they charge per square foot or hour, and what materials they’ll need and use.


Saves money. You’ll save a few bucks going with the cheapest bid. But the cons usually outweigh the savings.

Cheapest paint. They’ll use the cheapest supplies they can get. You’ll typically need to redo the job in as little as half the time of a quality paint.
Rushed work. Brush strokes, peeling paint, bubbling up, and missed areas are all signs of rushed work and bad prep.
Hiring an expensive professional doesn’t always mean you’ll get the best materials either. Make sure you always check your pro’s credentials and past work. You’ll also want to ask:

What brand and type of paint are you using?
How many coats are you applying?
Will you guarantee your work?
Will you fix any holes or damage?
Can you separate materials and labor on the bid?
Affordable Handyman House Painting Prices
For small jobs, you might hire a handyman for $20 to $25 per hour. Always hire a pro who does nothing but paint for any delicate or detailed work that you want done correctly.

Student Painters Costs
Student painter rate vary depending on your location but are usually cheaper than any pro. Despite the savings, it’s usually not a great idea. Painting is a skill learned over time. Homeowners, who have hired student painters, reported both pros and cons, which include:

Low bids. Often far below professional level work.
Lack of experience. .
They may not prep the surface properly and you could see roller and brush marks.
Quick turnaround. They usually slap a fresh coat on and move onto the next job.
Expect student painter quality to vary by location and crew. If you do go with students, make sure they’re from an accredited school and overseen by a foreman with a good reputation and experience. Always check references, reviews and licenses before hiring any contractor.

Surface Preparation
Proper surface preparation is key to a quality job. Without sanding, washing and scraping, your fresh coat will start peeling quickly. You’ll also need to have any damage or underlying concerns, like leaking gutters, fixed.

Here are some recommendations for surface preparation by wall type:

Aluminum: Remove any dirt, stains and other grime with solvent cleaner.
Concrete or cinder block: Remove loose mortar and clean off dust, dirt and loose cement.
Brick: Clean off dirt, excess mortar and any foreign grime.
Concrete: Remove grease, loose cement and oil; then, either power wash or clean by hand.
Copper: Clean off grease, dirt and other grime with a hand cloth and solvent cleaner.
Drywall: Spackle nail heads, sand joints and remove any dust.
Hardie board: Use a solvent cleaner and remove any waxy material.
Plaster: Patch any damaged areas; clean with vinegar and water.
Steel: Remove rust, oil, grease and salt with solvent cleaner.
Stucco: Clean off any loose stucco and allow to dry for 30 days.
Wood: Make sure it’s dry, check for any rotted areas, patch any holes and caulk as needed.
Vinyl: Scrub with soap water solution and rinse.
How much paint do I need?
You’ll need 1 gallon of paint per 350 square feet of coverage.

Typical amounts per room size:

Small room (200-400 sq. ft.): 1 gallon.
Medium-sized (400-800 sq. ft.): 2-4 gallons.
Large (800-1,200 sq. ft.): 5-gallons or more.
How much do painters make?
Painters usually make $20 per hour on average or about $40,000 per year. Independent contractors might pocket a little more. However, they must charge for overhead, such as vehicles, equipment, insurance, marketing and association dues.

All the above cost vary from painter to painter and from town to town. This is a general rule.

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