How to Estimate the Cost of a Painting Job

Painting Estimate

 

Estimating the cost of painting is a complex task. There are many factors that need to be considered, including the size of the space, surface condition, type of paint required, etc.

Typically, a painting contractor can approximate the cost of your project based on similar projects he has done in the past. However, this method is not very consistent and may not be fair to you as a homeowner or the painting contractor. Fortunately, Homespree offers simple forms that enable you to get 3 instant bids from quality local contractors for your next painting project.

As you review these estimates, or evaluate the costs when you perform the work yourself, here are some considerations to keep in mind.

Scope 

Assess the scope of the project carefully to determine exactly what’s involved. For example, if the surface involves painting from a ladder or scaffold system, the painting price will rise. If the painting surface could contain hazardous materials, the price will also be greater. Other situations that could also result in a higher painting price include:

  • Large obstructions
  • Wallpaper removal
  • Surface imperfections

Preparation

Before applying any paint or primer to the surface, the surface will need to be prepared properly. The preparation required depends on the condition of the surfaces that need paint. Prep can also include clearing the space for work. An easy way to save some money when performing the work professionally is to remove the furniture in the room before your painter arrives. The overall price to paint must include all tasks performed to prepare for and clean up after painting.

Materials

If you choose not to hire a professional, the cost of materials not only includes the price of paint and primer, but also items necessary for application. These can include the following.

  • Paint scraper or power washer
  • Drop cloths
  • Industrial vacuum cleaner
  • Drywall compound
  • Caulk
  • Putty knife
  • Sandpaper
  • TSP
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Painter’s tape
  • Paint tray
  • Paint roller
  • Paint brushes
  • Ladder
  • Scaffolding

Surfaces

Most people paint their rooms to give it a fresh new look. To do so, however, you’ll need to look beyond just painting the walls. Consider also the trim, ceiling, doors, and built-ins. Obviously the more surfaces that require paint, the higher the cost, but applying a consistent and fresh look to all surfaces can really make your space pop.

Whether you proceed with a do-it-yourself painting project or you decide to hire a professional, make sure you understand the associated costs to ensure your project stays within budget.

Why Do Painting Prices Vary So Much?

Stressed Homeowners

When you request estimates from more than one contractor for the same painting job, the range of prices submitted may often amaze you. It is not uncommon for high bids to be twice as much as low bids. This range of prices can lead you to considerable uncertainty and anxiety in the decision-making process.

You’re left with important, but complex questions. Why do the estimates vary so much? Can I trust the low bid for basic quality? Can I trust the high bid for value? 

By understanding the factors behind price variation, you will be better able to identify risky or predatory pricing in the estimate process.

Common factors that drive price variation in home services include:

Estimate Approach­

Prior to Homespree, there was no standard way to estimate painting job prices, but many painters have traditionally used a cost-plus approach. Variations in the costing and markup will create significant job cost variations. Some painters use material and labor costs from recent, similar jobs they have performed. Others estimate from a standard cost/productivity reference book. Others may have portions of the work bid by a subcontractor(s). Once a cost total is estimated, the markup or profit (usually in the range of 10% – 20% of the costs) is added to create an estimate.

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How Much Does a Gallon of Interior Paint Cost?

Interior Paint

 

 

It depends. Paint costs vary by brand, ease of application, adhesion, durability, and eco-friendliness.

However, across most paint brands and types, the average cost of a gallon of interior paint is $31, ranging from $20 on the low-end to $55 on the high-end.

Below is a list of prices as of July 2013 for 1 gallon of interior paint-and-primer-in-one in an eggshell finish from each major U.S. brand:

Paint and Primer in One

Olympic – $26 Olympic Interior Eggshell Paint and Primer in One

Glidden –  $27 Glidden DUO Interior Eggshell Paint & Primer

Clark + Kensington – $31 Clark + Kensington Paint and Primer in One Premium Interior Eggshell Enamel

Valspar – $33 Valspar Signature Interior Eggshell Paint and Primer in One

Behr – $33 Behr Premium Plus Ultra Eggshell Enamel Interior Paint

Benjamin Moore – $39 Benjamin Moore Regal Select Waterborne Interior Paint

Sherwin Williams – $39 Sherwin Williams Super Paint Interior Acrylic Latex Paint Eg-Shel

Below is a list of prices as of July 2013 for 1 gallon of mid-grade interior paint in an eggshell finish from each major U.S. brand:

Interior Eggshell Paint

Valspar – $21 Valspar Contractor Finishes 2000 Gallon Interior Eggshell White Paint

Glidden –  $23 Glidden Premium Eggshell Interior Paint

Olympic – $24 Olympic Gallon Interior Eggshell White Paint

Behr – $25 Behr Premium Plus Pure White Eggshell Interior Paint

Sherwin Williams – $38 Sherwin Williams Cashmere Interior Acrylic Latex Medium Lustre

Benjamin Moore – $39 Benjamin Moore Regal Classic Premium Interior Paint

Clark + Kensington – Not available

How Much Does a Gallon of Exterior Paint Cost?

Exterior Paint

 

It depends. Paint costs vary by brand, ease of application, adhesion, durability, and eco-friendliness.

However, across most paint brands and types, the average cost of a gallon of exterior paint is $31, ranging from $20 on the low end to $55 on the high end.

Below is a list of prices as of July 2013 of 1 gallon of exterior paint in a satin finish from each major U.S. brand:

Exterior Satin Paint:

Valspar – $33 Valspar Duramax Exterior Satin Paint and Primer in One

Glidden – $30 Glidden Premium High Gloss Interior and Exterior Paint

Olympic – $25 Olympic Exterior Satin Paint

Behr – $32 Behr Premium Plus Satin Enamel Exterior Paint

Clark + Kensington – $35 Clark + Kensington Paint and Primer in One Premium Exterior Satin Enamel

Sherwin Williams – $38 Sherwin Williams SuperPaint Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint

Benjamin Moore – $39 Benjamin Moore Regal Select Exterior Satin Paint