Finding an Impossible Answer –
The Cost to Paint a House
This is one of the leading questions we hear when people contemplate a coat of fresh paint for their home. In this article, we explain why this question is almost impossible to answer without a full assessment of the property – but we’re going to try to answer it anyway!
Table of Contents
Understanding the Industry in South Africa
The painting and waterproofing industry in South Africa is a dynamic and diverse sector that offers a range of options for consumers. However, it also comes with its fair share of challenges.
This colourful landscape of painting and waterproofing highlights the need for diligence and informed decision-making. To strike the perfect balance between affordability and quality, homeowners should be cautious of contractors offering prices that seem too good to be true, or sky-high pricing that doesn’t necessarily guarantee top-notch work.
Six Reasons to Paint Your House
When it comes to ongoing maintenance, it’s generally accepted that you’ll need to re-paint your interiors and exteriors every 5 to 10 years. There are other indicators that your home needs a fresh coat of paint.
- Fluctuations in temperature or humidity cause a home structure to expand and contract – these minuscule movements result in hairline cracks.
- Painting a wall when the cement plaster is not yet dry is also commonly attributed to cracks.
- Choosing a low-quality paint that doesn’t adhere properly to the wall surface can also lead to cracks, as can using different paint types for each coat.
- Rushing your paint job can also compromise the final coverage, as you may skip essential layers or apply paint to the previous coat before it’s had time to dry.
- A newly-built house goes through a phase of ‘settling’. It’s normal for hairline cracks to form during this time, and a new house may need some touch-ups a year or so after its initial construction.
Factors that Impact the Price Tag on Your Paint Job
When asking what it costs to paint a house, there isn’t really a “right” answer. There are numerous factors that will affect how much you should be prepared to budget for – here’s what you need to know about painting a house.
- Damp walls: If any of your walls suffer the effects of damp, those walls will need to undergo professional leak detection and waterproofing before painting.
- Wall surface imperfections: To ensure that paint adheres to the surface properly and the final coat is picture-perfect, the walls need to be thoroughly cleaned, and all holes and cracks expertly filled.
- Dark or brightly-coloured walls: If the wall you want to paint is already painted in dark or bold colours, you’ll need to apply at least two to three layers of primer to ensure that there’s a good bond between a lighter colour and the wall.
- Surfaces that need to be sanded first: It’s common to sand down certain surfaces before painting, especially if the existing finish is too glossy for paint to adhere to, or if it’s got a lot of imperfections that will affect your final painting finish. Cupboards and doorjambs also require sanding to prevent the doors not closing properly.
- Sun-weathered walls: Walls that endure long hours of full sunshine are often badly deteriorated, and the surface is chalky to the touch. The entire surface must be primed first before painting over these walls. This will ensure that the new layers of paint adhere to the wall for a stunning, long-lasting finish.
- Oil-based paints: Two major oil-based paints exist on the market – alkyd paint (made with synthetic resin binders) and natural oil-based paint (made with linseed oil). While they take longer to dry, oil-based paints are durable and perfectly suited to high-traffic areas of the home, such as hallways, bathrooms, kitchens and playrooms. Although oil-based paint provides a smoother finish, we still recommend professional application, as clean-up is quite taxing.
- Water-based paints: Latex paint is commonly used for interior walls and is also an environmentally friendly option. However, it’s typically less durable than other types of paint, so often used on areas that aren’t subject to wear and tear, like ceilings. Acrylic paint contains a higher polymer count, which makes it a tougher water-based paint than latex. Although this means it’s a little more expensive, it withstands high traffic better and is also suitable for exterior walls.
- No shine, matte-finish
- Requires fewer coats
- Least durable and difficult to wash
- A smooth, low-level sheen
- Easier to wash than matte finishes
- Resists minor stains and scuffs
- Shiny appearance
- Increased durability and resistance to moisture
- Shows blemishes easily, but easy to clean
- No shine, matte-finish
- Requires fewer coats
- Least durable and difficult to wash
- High shine
- High durability suited to doors, cupboards and trims
- Requires more coats and easiest to clean
- Unique textures for feature walls
- Durable and water resistant, but difficult to clean
- Requires specialised application
Few homeowners realise the effect that paint colours have on what it would cost to paint a house! Yellow and orange tones are the most expensive colours on the market, while pastels and off-white paints remain the cost-effective options. Surprisingly, white is the hardest colour to match, as one supplier’s white paint will look totally different to another. This means that touching up a white surface can end in having to paint the entire wall.
Chatting with a painting contractor or reputable supplier can be immensely helpful when considering colours for your home interior or exterior. You’ll want to ask some simple questions:
Every painting job presents different challenges and requirements, and every painting contractor hires a different set of skills for the job. In South Africa, many contractors hire unskilled labour in order to save on costs or be perceived as competitive. These contractors risk delivering subpar workmanship, which could result in higher costs in the long run.
Average labour costs in South Africa are dependent on experience, transport requirements, and contract type. A skilled artisan charges anything from R 400 to R 600 per day, but a project fee will usually be negotiated in the case of larger jobs.
Painting a house costs more than merely a set of hands and a pot of paint! Every project will be different, and could include any one or more of the following:
- Scaffolding for multi-storey homes or double-volume interiors
- Ladders to paint hard-to-reach places and ceilings
- High-quality brushes and rollers for the best possible paint application
- Sanding materials and machinery
- Labour and tools to cut back trees and creepers
- Cleaning agents for oil-based paints
Case Study - Interior Costs
What Pumelani Paid for Her Painted Interiors
Pumelani is a first-time homeowner and has just moved into a three-bedroom home in the suburbs. Congratulations, Pumelani! When the dust has settled on bond costs and transfer duties, she knows that her new home interiors are long overdue for a coat of paint.
She calls her painting contractor, and they schedule a site visit to assess the house. Their findings are as follows:
- The exteriors are face-brick, so no paint is needed.
- The interior surfaces are in reasonable condition – no flaking or chalking.
- The areas in need of paint are three bedrooms, a living room, a large kitchen and two bathrooms.
- Minor surface preparation will be needed, to repair hairline cracks, remove nails and fill holes)
The next day, Pumelani receives a quote for the entire job – she can realistically expect the cost estimate to fall within the following ballpark figures:
- Materials and Paint: R45k - R85k
This quote depends on the scope of the work, and whether or not it includes skirtings, doors, ceilings, built-in cupboards, and window frames.
- Labour: R35k - R65k
As with materials, this quote depends on the work needed and certain skills needed to apply special materials.
Case Study - Exterior Costs
What Ettienne Can Expect to Pay for His Exteriors
Ettienne and his family have lived in their four-bedroom house for more than ten years. They love their home, but it’s looking a little tired, and Ettienne has been procrastinating a property revamp for quite some time.
Ettienne’s wife has finally had enough of waiting, and she calls a painting contractor to prepare a cost estimate to overhaul the home’s exteriors. The contractor reports the following:
- The exterior paint is chalky, so a lot of surface preparation will be needed.
- Due to ongoing damp issues, certain walls will need minor waterproofing and repairs.
- The whole house will need a three-coat system to ensure a durable paint finish, and to enjoy the full product guarantee.
- The double-storey house will require some extra equipment on site, like scaffolding.
Two days later, Ettienne is surprised to receive a cost estimate by email. This cost to paint a house is what one could typically expect of an exterior paint job of this size:
- Materials and Paint: R95k - R150k
This quote depends on the scope of the work, the products selected, and the texture of the walls. It may also include painting exposed roof trusses, gutters, window frames, security gates and boundary walls.
- Labour: R80k - R120k
As with materials, this quote depends on the overall project scope and the skills required for specialised work like waterproofing.
Smart Ways to Save Costs
We understand that ongoing maintenance adds up, and painting a house can be a surprise cost your pocket doesn’t need! It’s totally possible to paint your house beautifully – and within budget. Here’s how you can save on the cost of painting a house.
- Speak to your contractor about using alternate products. At Jukka, we usually base our cost estimates on top-range products for the best possible result, but we’re able to source cheaper products that still offer similar quality. You might receive less product guarantee.
- Buy your paint from paint outlets, instead of general hardware stores. Now, we love a great hardware store as much as any South African homeowner, but their profit margins do add up. What’s more, a paint company outlet is going to offer more knowledgeable advice about your paint selection.
- Finding a reputable paint contractor could save you thousands! Because of our high standards of workmanship and great supplier relationships, we often receive premium paint at discounted prices, which are passed back to the client.
The Last Building and Painting Contractor You’ll Ever Hire
You want your property maintenance budget to be an investment into the future of your home, and your real estate portfolio. At Jukka, we’re so confident in our service and quality levels that we believe we’ll be your contractor for life.
Isn’t it time for a fresh coat?
Here’s how you can uncover the real cost to paint a house and un-complicate your home’s overhaul with Jukka – in three easy steps.
Schedule a site visit and tell us what you want
We’ll also assess plaster conditions and damp issues and advise on any other issues.
We’ll provide a no-obligation quote within 72 hours of our visit
You’ll be able to tweak the requirements until you’re 100% happy.
Sign off your quote and see your property transform
It’s time to say goodbye to cracked, faded, deteriorated walls.