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!

cost to paint a house

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.

The price of paint is not regulated

Although one might anticipate that pricing variations would depend on factors such as the expertise and quality of the contractor and the type of paint and materials needed, it’s a bit like the Wild West out there – pricing in the painting industry isn’t subject to any official regulations. This is why cost estimates from different painting contractors may vary, from suspiciously cheap to unimaginably expensive.

The final cost to paint a house doesn’t indicate quality

In most industries, we expect a premium quality product when we pay a premium price… In South Africa’s painting industry, the cost to paint a house doesn’t necessarily indicate the quality of the job. It's entirely possible to be overcharged for subpar workmanship. This can be disheartening, considering how much of a dent painting a house puts in one’s pocket! You don’t want to pay oodles of hard-earned Randelas for a slap-dash job, so don’t simply select a contractor for their price – read reviews, ask for references, and inspect previous work to make an informed decision.

We are spoilt for choice in South Africa

South Africa boasts a multitude of paint manufacturers. We all recognise the major brands on the market, but there are also folks mixing paints in their backyards, like a DIY dream gone wild. While this gives you a world of choice, you’ll want to dodge the lower-quality paint products. And if you’re not a painting professional, you might not know what product guarantees to look out for, or how different circumstances might affect your warranties.

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.

flaky paint
  • 1. Your painted surfaces are chalky or flaky

    Chalking paint occurs when the binding agent is degraded by sunshine and moisture, releasing the binder’s hold on the pigment – this is one of the leading signs of general wear and tear. This is usually seen on exterior walls exposed to the elements, and interior walls painted in poor quality or improperly mixed paint.

  • 2. Cracks have appeared on your walls

    There are numerous reasons why cracks occur on walls, which include the following:

  1. Fluctuations in temperature or humidity cause a home structure to expand and contract – these minuscule movements result in hairline cracks. 
  2. Painting a wall when the cement plaster is not yet dry is also commonly attributed to cracks. 
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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. 
  • 3. Your walls have developed damp

    When damp gets into your home’s wall, the impact on your paint and plaster is profound. Some of the most common causes of excessive moisture in walls are rising damp, water ingress and simple condensation. Depending on the cause, damp creates unsightly “salty” marks on walls, bubbling surfaces, and paint peeling or flaking.

  • 4. You feel like Count Dracula in your home

    If your interiors tend to be a little dark, you may need to consider choosing a new colour for your walls. Poorly lit rooms can be given a fresh, new look with bright, light wall colours, pristine white ceilings, and well-placed mirrors. This will help to enhance the mood and ambience of your home, as well as energy efficiency.

  • 5. Your house feels like a hospital

    If your home interiors feel boring, clinical or outdated and being at home is getting you down, a coat of paint is a cost-effective way to align your interiors with your personal vibe. It may be as simple as picking a few feature walls to introduce a splash of colour, or going all-out in your hobby room or office.

  • 6. Your roof tiles haven’t been painted in a decade

    After 10 years or more, the condition of your roof can deteriorate significantly. Faded, peeling and discoloured roof tiles can impact your home’s aesthetic appeal, but more severe consequences include increased risks of leaks and structural damage, reduced protective coating and subsequent premature ageing of your roofing materials, and increased costs of repairs.

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.

Interiors vs. Exteriors

Exterior and interior walls have vastly different requirements and actually use different paint products, materials and processes. Painting a home’s exterior is typically more costly than painting the interior. That’s because the preparation is often more rigorous, and exterior paint is more costly because the surface needs to withstand the elements.

The State of the Wall

A wall that’s in good condition will obviously require less preparation before applying the first coat of paint. There are various conditions that could stack up extra costs, including:

  • 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.

Wall Texture

A wall is a wall, right? Not always. It takes more labour to coat a textured wall than a smooth surface and also uses around 20-25% more paint. What’s more, where cracks and holes have been filled on textured walls, skilled labour is required to ensure that the repaired wall surfaces have the same texture as the rest of the wall.

Wall Surface Area

This is a no-brainer: larger walls will need more paint, which impacts what it will cost to paint a house! Different paints have different spread rates, depending on the quality and type. A good quality PVA will give you between 8 and 10 square metres per coat, per litre, while a good quality, textured paint will give around 4 to 6 square metres per coat, per litre.

Type and Brand of Paint

We could write a full book on the different types of paint available, and what they cost! The paint you choose will depend on the room or area and your budget. Each brand offers a variety of paints in different finishes and colours – here are a few to consider:

  • 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.

Paint Finish

Decisions, decisions! There are a range of paint finishes that affect the cost to paint a house. Here’s what you need to know about each paint finish and their typical quality and cost:

| Flat or Matte
  • No shine, matte-finish
  • Requires fewer coats
  • Least durable and difficult to wash
| Eggshell
  • A smooth, low-level sheen
  • Easier to wash than matte finishes
  • Resists minor stains and scuffs
| Semi-gloss
  • Shiny appearance
  • Increased durability and resistance to moisture
  • Shows blemishes easily, but easy to clean
| Satin
  • No shine, matte-finish
  • Requires fewer coats
  • Least durable and difficult to wash
| High-gloss
  • High shine
  • High durability suited to doors, cupboards and trims
  • Requires more coats and easiest to clean
| Textured plaints
  • Unique textures for feature walls
  • Durable and water resistant, but difficult to clean
  • Requires specialised application

Colour Selection

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:

paint samples

Painting Labour

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.

  • Paint sooner

    The more a wall surface deteriorates, the more a painting job will cost – in materials, labour and time! For example, the moment a crack appears, water will ingress the crack and begin to leach cement out of the plaster. This will result in plaster deterioration, and then you can add larger-scale re-plastering to your paint job invoice.

  • Deal with damp quickly

    Deal with damp immediately, that is. Water ingress, rising damp, and moisture don’t just damage painted surfaces. Damp issues affect the plaster and your house’s structure, getting progressively worse – and more expensive to fix – over time.

  • Complete your project in phases

    You may be tempted to cut costs in order to paint your entire house all in one go – by hiring a cheap paint contractor or using inferior paint products. This is a one-way ticket to regret and sadness. Rather choose good-quality paint and pay for a reputable contractor to start with the rooms that need a fresh coat of paint the most. When your budget allows it, continue to the next rooms, and so on.

  • Get the inside scoop on paint products and suppliers

    Like you, we’ve faced the complexities of South Africa’s paint supply market. We know how overwhelming it is to know when paint products are overpriced, which ones are top quality, what’s best suited for specific environments, and how to understand the guarantees. Here’s how you can save on buying paint for your 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. 
Jukka Paint and Waterproofing

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.

  • The Tidiest Contractors

    Jukka is the tidiest building and painting contractor that you’ll ever use. We respect your space and lifestyle, and we leave your home spic-and-span.

  • Trusted Suppliers & Trusted by Suppliers

    Our labour force is carefully vetted, and then trained by leading paint suppliers. Because we’ve established such rapport with our suppliers, they honour their product guarantees.

  • Quality Guarantees

    We want your home to make you happy. Jukka offers a 1-year workmanship guarantee, and paint supplier guarantees from 5 to 12 years, depending on the product.

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.

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