Cost to Paint Walls - A Pro Painter Breaks Down Interior vs. Exterior Rates

man painting one wall

So, you’re contemplating giving your walls a fresh coat of paint but wondering about the cost? As a seasoned painter in Sydney with over a decade of experience, let me tell you, the price tag for painting walls isn’t as straightforward as it seems. Sure, you might have heard of some ballpark figures, but trust me, there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.

Average Cost to Paint Walls

Let’s start with the basics. According to The National Institute of Painting and Decorating, the average cost to paint house in Australia can range anywhere from $10 to $60 per square meter. Now, that’s quite a range, isn’t it? And there’s a good reason for it. See, this price includes a single undercoat and two finish coats, but there are numerous factors that can sway this figure.

Factors that affect the cost include the extent of prep work needed, the type of paint chosen, and who’s doing the work. For instance, if your walls need extensive repairs or if you opt for premium paints, you can expect to see that price climb. And let’s not forget about those intricate colour schemes or textured walls that can add complexity to the job.

Cost to Paint Interior Walls

So, what should the typical Aussie budget be for a standard interior paint job? Based on my experience, most professional jobs fall somewhere between $25 to $45 per square meter if you want it done properly.

I put entry-level pro jobs around $25 per square meter – repainting drywall or plasterboard in decent shape with acrylic paint, maybe a simple feature wall, standard ceilings, minimal trim. Easy access rooms like bedrooms and offices often fall in this range.

For more intricate areas like a formal dining room, kitchen, lounge with higher ceilings, moldings, awkward nooks and premium paint upgrades – you’re likely looking at $45 per square meter. More complexity means more labour is required, so the cost creeps higher. Things like French doors, bi-fold doors, and interior entry doors can also drive up the cost to paint doors compared to normal walls.

Now I’ve seen quotes outside $25 to $45 per meter square. But here’s my insider professional take: anything below $25 likely means shoddy prep, cheap paint that will peel quickly – real cowboy stuff. I’d avoid it despite potential upfront savings.

And quotes over $45 per square meter? Well you better be getting museum quality work on heritage plaster ceilings! Otherwise you may pay too much for a standard job I could complete beautifully and affordably.

Once we walk through your rooms and discuss the specifics, I can narrow down a per meter estimate. But generally, $25-45 per square meter is the going rate for professional interior painting here in Australia.

Exterior Wall Painting Cost

Based on my 10+ years of experience transforming Australian home exteriors, you can expect to pay in these general ranges:

  • $25-$35 per m2 for single story homes with easy access and straight-forward surfaces like wood or vinyl siding. Quick prep and paint work keeps costs down.
  • $35-$45 for typical 1-2 story houses of average size with a mix of siding and masonry. Some prep work needed, along with painting intersecting trim, windows and such adds labor time.
  • $45-$60+ per m2 for large/multi-story homes with greater heights, architectural details, and surfaces requiring heavy prep. The complexity factors add expenses for scaffolding rental, extra labor hours, larger paint quantities.

Now within those ranges, there’s still variability depending on the specific materials and scopes involved. Things like antiquated stucco, hazardous material abatement if lead paint exists, or intricate details like turrets can tack on additional costs too.

The extreme high end with heritage restorations could even exceed $100 per m2! But those unique preservation projects involve fine artisan work.

Cost to Paint One Wall

Taking on single-wall painting projects just isn’t practical for most established professional painters. We base our pricing around completing full interior paint jobs to maximise workflow efficiencies. Things like set up/tear down time, prep work, colour mixing, equipment and staging costs get spread across painting the entire home.

Amortizing those fixed project costs across repainting one bedroom versus the whole house allows us to offer competitive meter square pricing. Asking us to quote painting just one wall here and there throws off our pricing model. Materials alone would start around $100 for quality paints and supplies. 

Now if you’re keen to just paint one wall on a budget, I’d suggest considering handymen or side hustlers trying to build skills. Expect to pay around $150-$300 cash for such odd jobs. Just be aware that hiring amateur painters does risk subpar preparation and rushed paint application that could leave visible lap marks or brush strokes. And the finished quality may not match your vision.

My best advice is go the DIY route for one-off small painting projects! For $100 bucks, you can get top quality paints and supplies at Bunnings. Then look up some YouTube technique tutorials on prepping surfaces, using painter’s tape and applying finishes smoothly. Take your time and be detailed – you can definitely handle one wall beautifully yourself to save a few bucks. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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Owner at Painters Parramatta | + posts

I'm Ibby, the lead painter at Painters Parramatta. I'm not just a professional painter; I'm a passionate writer with a deep love for all things related to painting. As the proud owner of PaintersParramatta.com.au, I've dedicated my career to the art of transforming spaces and enhancing the beauty of homes and businesses in the vibrant city of Sydney, Australia. With nearly two decades of experience in the painting industry, I've left my artistic mark on countless homes and spaces. My love for painting is evident in the meticulous craftsmanship I bring to every project, creating stunning transformations that captivate the eye and enrich the soul.

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