Is Exterior House Painting Worth It?

Imperial Painting

Should you take on an exterior house painting project? Learn more about the benefits, best colors for home exteriors, and more in this blog.

Exterior of home painted gray with white trim

When you’re driving through a neighborhood, how do you feel when you see a house with dirty siding, moss-infested roofing, or overgrown weeds? Compare that to how you feel when you see a clean, pristine home with a perfectly kept lawn and flourishing garden.

There’s most likely a big difference in how you perceive those homes. Potential homebuyers and municipal assessors are no different—they also judge homes based on their exterior appearance. First impressions hold significant value and can indirectly impact a home’s overall property value.

While the National Association of Realtors points to general landscape maintenance and hardscaping features, like pools and outdoor kitchens, as exceptional, high-return-on-investment (ROI) home remodeling projects, exterior painting can also be a great tool for improving curb appeal (and property value).

Durability & Aesthetics

Exterior paint plays a crucial role in protecting a house’s siding. While some siding may come pre-painted or with baked-on paint, others, like wood and some aluminum and fiber cement options, require painting to ensure adequate protection against moisture, UV damage, and temperature fluctuations, which can result in rot, mold, mildew, severe structural damage, and aesthetic issues like sun damage and fading.

Choosing Valuable Colors & Finishes

A home exterior after it's been painted. Brown trim has been added to complement the white siding.

The catch with exterior painting is that only some colors are effective in improving curb appeal. For example, bright or very bold colors can sometimes be overwhelming on a large scale and may not blend well with surrounding elements. Additionally, dark colors, like black or brown, tend to absorb more heat, leading to faster color fading and increased thermal stress on the building materials.

Generally, neutral and classic colors like whites, grays, and beiges are popular and tend to attract a broader range of potential buyers. It’s also important to use weather-resistant paints, especially in climates with harsh or varying weather conditions, because they provide better protection against the elements and help ensure aesthetic consistency. Please read this article to learn more about our favorite exterior painting brands and products.

Likewise, some finishes are better suited for interior jobs and others for exterior projects. Flat or low-luster finishes are often recommended for exteriors because they are durable and easy to clean, while high-gloss and matte finishes are better suited for indoors because they are not as stain-resistant and can sometimes highlight surface imperfections if used in exterior applications.

Average Cost Versus Predicted Return on Investment

HomeGuide estimates that exterior painting projects can cost anywhere from $1 to $4 per square foot, so a 720-square-foot area would cost anywhere from $750 to $2,900 to paint, while a 1,400-square-foot space could cost up to $4,600.

Of course, it’s hard to predict or provide an accurate average cost for an exterior painting project because it varies wildly based on the property size and type (single-story versus multi-story home), the painted surface’s material and condition, the amount of repairs or surface preparation needed for the project, the quality of the paint used, and regional labor costs.

Additionally, don’t be put off by the initial cost—according to a HomeLight study from 2022, exterior painting can add over $7,000 to a home’s value and provide homeowners with a 152% return on investment. This means any money you would spend on the exterior painting project would be returned over time by improving property value. However, this ROI isn’t guaranteed or set in stone because project success depends on the quality and color of the paint and the painting techniques used.

Navigating HOAs & Other Restrictions Impacting Exterior Painting

Municipal Rules

Municipalities are generally lax about exterior painting and don’t require permits to complete this type of project. There may be some rules regarding paint quality (e.g., no peeling or flaking paint) or graffiti, which are considered a public nuisance in some municipalities.

The situation will definitely be different if you live in a historic home or under a Homeowner Association (HOA).

Historic Homes

Rules about historic homes are mostly centered on preservation, which means using similar (if not the same) materials used to build the home. Painting is generally only recommended if the existing paint is severely damaged. In these situations, it’s best to consult a local painter with experience handling historic projects.


With HOAs, the primary concern is getting approval from your board. Most HOAs have an exterior remodeling request form that is handled by the property management company and sent to the board for approval. HOAs will restrict what colors can be used and who you can hire to complete the job. With contractors/companies, HOAs are primarily concerned about insurance coverage (and the amount of insurance) and reputation.

If you’re under an HOA, submit a remodeling proposal to your HOA first. While waiting for approval, start searching for contractors and requesting free estimates to submit to the board. When you call these companies, mention you’re under an HOA and require proof of insurance. Additionally, it’s always good to work with companies with experience coordinating with HOAs.

Please read this blog to learn more about other factors to look for when hiring a professional painting contractor.

Adding Value With Professional Services

A professional house painter applying caulk to trim on a home's exterior

We discussed the value of DIY versus professional jobs in this blog, but we’ll summarize it again here.

Painting is not easy. Whether you’re under an HOA or not, working with a contractor will ensure a better job every time. Contractors know how to clean, repair, and prime surfaces before a paint job, understand which techniques are needed to prevent streaks, drips, and inconsistent layers, and know when to apply the paint to reduce adhesion issues.

The entire purpose of an exterior paint job is to protect and add value to your investment—ensure you do just that by working with a professional.

Schedule an Exterior Painting Consultation Today

Imperial Painting is a 5-star-rated painting and home repair company proudly serving homeowners in Shelby Township, MI, and surrounding areas. We offer fully licensed and insured interior and exterior painting services with flexible financing options.

No matter how complex the job is, we’re committed to improving and protecting your investment. When you contact us, you’ll always receive a transparent quote, a copy of our license, proof of insurance, a list of references, and specific information about the paints we use.

You can visit our website to see some of our past exterior painting projects or contact us today to request a free estimate.

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13900 Grandeur Ave, Shelby Township, MI 48315

Macomb: (586) 412-9040

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