How much do Painters charge to paint a house interior? There are as many answers to this question as there are painters. The prices that are mentioned here are for reference purposes. To prepare an accurate painting estimate, a professional estimator needs a lot of detail. What is the size of the house? Is it empty or occupied? How much prep work is required to achieve a great paint job? Is the home downtown or in the suburbs? Are there time constraints and deadlines? Are there any custom colour or paint preferences? These factors and many more will influence an estimator’s pricing.
The intent of this blog is to discuss prices for interior painting only. We will share some current, average and sample pricing by Ecopainting but in no way this constitutes our price list. As always, we welcome your questions in the comments section.
How Do Painters Estimate?
- Why is there such a big difference between estimates?
- Do some contractors make way more money than others?
- Is there a right price and a wrong price?
The old adage says that you get what you pay for. With that in mind, does an expensive paint job guarantee the consumer better quality? Surprisingly, the difference in pricing does not reflect quality differences. Accurate price depends on the estimator’s business knowledge and estimating skills. The estimator of a successful painting company should know his or her “numbers”. How much a customer pays for the job is critical to the success (and often failure) of a contracting business. What is the right price for one contractor could put another out of business.
Four Basic Steps an Estimator Follows to Calculate the Accurate Price
- Measure and count what needs painting, including all related prep work and clean-up.
- Calculate how much time (hours) it will take based on well known production rates.
- Multiply the hours by the company’s hourly rate. The hourly rate is comprised of the painters wages including payroll contributions, the company’s overhead and the projected net profit.
- Add to the above the cost of all paint and materials. Any equipment rented specifically for this job is also a job cost and should be taken into account.
So… What is the Cost of Painting my Toronto Home?
Our hypothetical, 2 storey 2,000 square foot home is 5 years old and located in the suburbs. The home is lightly furnished and the basement requires no painting. The scope of work includes two coats on the walls of 3 bedrooms, the bathroom & powder room, the stairway and hallways. The main floor has an open space kitchen & a living-dining room with an adjoining family room. The laundry room needs to be painted.
- Our price for painting two coats on the walls of the noted areas is about $4,000 to $4,500. This would assume no major repair work and a mid grade paint from a major manufacturer like Benjamin Moore or Dulux.
- Painting non textured ceilings (in good condition) will possibly bring the cost to over $5,000.00.
- Add the painting of basic style doors, baseboards and window frames and you are over $6,500.00.
- Upgrading the paint, using many colours and highlight walls will also increase the cost.
An empty home is less expensive as the painters don’t have to move the furniture and cover it. If the customer does not live in the house, the crews appreciate the opportunity of starting work early or finishing later. The easier scheduling and flexible timelines is a win win for both parties and and our estimator brings this to the client’s attention. Ask the contractor how you and your family can help by preparing your home for the painting crew.
How Much to Paint an Average Sized Room?
How does an estimator measure the size of a room to be painted? A house is comprised of several rooms of different size and a few common areas such as hallways and stairways. In order to provide an accurate estimate, the estimator must measure the size and the quantity of all the areas that need painting.
An easy way to calculate the square footage of a room, is to measure and add the total length of the all the walls, then multiplying that total by the height of the room. If there are big areas within that space that are not getting painted, it’s a good idea to deduct their square footage from the total. Examples are: a large window wall, double doors, or a wallpapered wall. If two coats are required, the measured square footage is doubled. In a 10 by 14 room the walls have a linear length of 48 feet. Multiplying 48 times 8 (the height of the walls) will give us 384 square feet of paintable wall.
- Ecopainting would paint two coats on the walls for about $450 including the cost of paint.
- Add 20% to the price of the room if your ceilings are 10′ high or 30% if your ceilings are 12′ high.
- Wall repairs, priming over porous builders paint and a lot of furniture will add to the total.
- Painting the ceilings with white ceiling flat paint will cost $120
- Simple small size closet – $100
- Medium size closet – $140
- Walk in closets and closets with organizers will cost more, depending on their size and difficulty of working around shelving. Some of the walk in closets we painted are as big as some bedrooms. Here is some more information about painting closets.
The Cost of Painting Bathrooms, Powder Rooms and Laundry Rooms
There is very little wall area to paint in a bathroom and even less in a typical powder room. The laundry room in a typical home is a small utility room.
Considering the size of these rooms, one would assume that painting them is quite inexpensive. Sometimes it is inexpensive but more often than not, it is not the case. The reason is mostly because of the more detailed work in tight spaces. Painting around bathtubs, light fixtures and cabinets takes a lot of time and careful brushwork. Getting up close and personal with a stranger’s toilet and painting behind it takes a certain “je ne sais quoi”. In a laundry room the difficulty depends on how the washer and dryer are installed and if the painter needs to move them to access the walls behind them. Keep in mind that many painters do not like taking small jobs as they are not profitable on their own. A few small jobs packaged within one project is a good solution to this.
- Our price for the walls of a small powder room is $280
- Most bathrooms walls can be painted for $420
- Laundry rooms with easy access behind the appliances are about $420
What could add to the price? Ceilings, especially ones with moisture damage. Glossy paint that requires extensive prep-work to look good. Signs of mildew that needs to be treated.
Sometimes bathrooms walls are covered with ceramic tile with minimal wall space to paint. After masking the ceramic tiles painting them does not take long and is considerably cheaper.
How Much Does it Cost to Paint a Door?
Painting the doors and the door frames is not always part of the main paint job. There are two main reasons for that. Doors are painted in more durable semi-gloss or satin paint which last longer and is washable. The other reason is cost savings. Painting trim such as doors and door frames is time consuming and relatively more expensive than walls. There are three basic types of painted doors.
Note: The cost of painting doors and frames can be affected by the prep-work needed.
Flush (flat) Doors
These are the easier of the doors to paint. A painter will use a brush to cut-in around the hinges, the frame and the door handles. Sometimes the door handles are removed and other times they are masked. The main part of the door is rolled with a fine roller. Our average price per door and simple frame is $80-$100.
Painting multi panel doors requires more skill and more time with a paint brush. The individual panels are carefully brushed in before the entire door gets rolled. Today’s paints dry faster and allow less working time, which makes these doors challenging for a slower painter to work on.
Our average price for these doors with frames is $100 to $120.
It takes a lot of skill to paint French doors well and to do it within reasonable time. A painter not only has to be careful with the hinges, door knobs etc, but also be mindful of the adjoining glass surfaces. French doors and casings can cost the customer an average of $250. Please note that casings for french doors tend to be wider and sometimes ornamental.
What is the Cost of Painting the Kitchen?
“ We like our kitchen painted, it shouldn’t cost too much. It’s just one wall really, and the rest of it is cabinets, ceramic backsplash, the fridge stove, etc.” We often get this type of request. The assumption made by the customer here, is that since this is a small surface, the cost would be inexpensive.
Most of the time, the reality is different. Painting the bulkheads around cabinets is alone more time consuming than painting an entire wall. We dread having to move the appliances and paint behind them. Moving an older fridge is like opening a Pandora’s box. Sometimes the wheels are broken and the refrigerator may damage the floor. Other times, the surfaces behind the appliances are greasy or dusty. In a small kitchen, there isn’t much room and working behind the appliances is uncomfortable. For all the reasons that were mentioned, pricing a kitchen is unpredictable. A range of $320 to $480 should cover most possibilities.
Pricing the Painting of Kitchen Cabinets
Painting kitchen cabinets provides the customer great value. Refinishing them can be about 30% of replacement. The majority of cabinets that we paint are made of varnished wood and need a good quality bonding primer. Before we apply the primer the cabinets get washed and degreased as necessary. Depending on the customer’s situation, the doors and drawers can be removed or they can be painted in place. Professionals prefer to remove them, along with the knobs, hinges and all hardware. If possible the doors are transported to a shop where they get spray painted under a controlled environment. They are brought back to be reinstalled after the paint is cured. We recommend two finish coats of cabinet grade enamel paint.
- The Least Expensive Option – $1,800 to $2,400. This is an affordable option for rental properties and smaller kitchens. Cleaning, prepping, and painting by brush and roller happens in place without removal. Usually the cabinets are previously painted and all they need is couple of fresh coats of paint.
- Mid Price – $3,200 to $4,500. This involves removal of hardware, prep and paint of doors, drawers and frames. The customer can choose to re-install the existing or supply us with new hardware. Most of our customers decide to use this package.
- Spray Option – $3,800 to $5,500. This package involves removal and spraying of all the doors, drawers, frames and boxes. It’s a good option for high quality existing kitchen cabinets and it’s the closest you can get to a factory finish. Spraying happens off the site, but on site painting can be arranged if the customer prefers it. We suggest installing new and upgraded hardware.
What about the Cost of Paint?
The cost of paint is about 15-25% of the cost of the contract. Mid grade paint costs about $45 per gallon with contractor pricing. If you are painting your home for real estate purposes and you don’t want to spend a lot of money, there is cheaper paint available. Stay away from anything that costs less than $30, you are buying watered down colour that is difficult to use. If you are thinking of using the most expensive paint available, you can spent over $120 per gallon from manufacturers like Farrow & Ball. Whatever you decide, keep in mind that since labour is your biggest expense, why not use the best paint your budget will allow.
There are great choices out there. Different manufacturers with so many colours and great looking sheens for every room of your home. Low pollution zero VOC products, scrubbable and washable paints, the choices are all yours.
Why do Painters Price by the Square Footage of the Floor?
You may have seen some painters advertising a price by the square footage of the floor. Considering all the elements in a room, and all the factors involved, how would anyone price a home interior by the floor space? Maybe if you were painting the floor (or the ceiling) that would be accurate. Stay away from this type of pricing, you are likely dealing with an inexperienced estimator or a company trying to “get the foot in the door” and raise prices later.
Factors that Would Bring the Price Higher
- A lot of prep work and surface repairs
- Painting over cheap builder’s paints
- Using top quality paints like Aura eggshell or similar
- Residue and repairs from wallpaper removal
- Water stains on the ceilings
- Textured and popcorn ceilings, especially when never painted before
- Special trim such as wainscoting, fireplace mantles and crown molding
- New wood trim that needs priming, sanding and filling
- A lot of furniture to move around and protect
- Are you painting the basement? That’s a lot of extra space to add to the scope.
- High ceilings and tough to reach stairway walls
- Expensive parking costs, especially during a lengthy project
- Very large homes with big rooms and a lot of custom work
There are different painting companies, small medium and large. They price a paint job based on numbers that their company needs to be profitable, or at least we hope they do. One thing to keep in mind is that a small company has bigger overhead expenses per project than a bigger one.
This blog on pricing was first published in 2013. It is updated on May 21st 2017. Companies change their prices often. For more accurate pricing it is better to contact Ecopainting and schedule a home consultation.
You can call us at 416 733-7767.