How well can you answer the “How much does it cost to paint a car yourself?” Have you thought of everything? Our guide takes a look at some of the different aspects of painting a car yourself that you’ll need to consider.
We’ll break down the cost of the different painting methods and the materials you’ll need for each. By the end of the guide, you’ll have a clear idea of what it’s going to take to do the whole job by yourself.
Let’s get into the guide!
How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Car Yourself?
Before getting into the costs, we need to quickly break down the different types of painting processes and what you need to know about them.
There are 2 major painting processes you need to choose between:
- Single-stage painting
- Two-stage painting (base and finish)
Let’s take a look at what’s different.
Generally speaking, the single-stage painting process is cheaper in terms of material cost. This is a good option if you’re just looking to get a colored finish on your car with a relatively glossy finish.
This style of painting isn’t easy to DIY as the atomizer and spray don’t work consistently. You’re more likely to experience paint run and uneven finishes. This might end up costing you more if you have to start over.
Only go for this painting style if you’re confident and experienced.
Two-Stage Painting Process
The two-stage paint is made up of two layers. One is the base paint. It’s a sort of dull matte that forms the color foundation for the overall finish.
The second layer is glossy spray and finish. This finish is far shinier than what you’d get from the single-stage painting. This glossy finish can be further polished and shined for an excellent finish.
The main issue with this style of painting is that it can cost you 2 times what single-stage process painting does.
How Much Does It Cost to Paint Your Car Yourself?
There are a couple of aspects that need to be considered when breaking down the cost of your DIY painting project:
- Type of paint used (quality, effects, colors) – generally speaking, red colors cost the most and white colors cost the least
- Materials needed for the project such as tape, tools, etc.
- Size of the vehicle being painted
- Special designs and finishes
We can’t cover some of these from our side as the cost will be dictated by your interests. We’ll take a look at the first 3 points and come up with a cost plan that’s reliable and accurate.
The Type of Paint Used
This cost is very much influenced by the quality of the finish you’re going for, and the painting process you choose.
High-end paints, rainbow colors, and some red colors can be pretty expensive.
If you choose to go with the single-stage painting, you can expect to pay $100 – $150 for the paint. If you’re going with an ordinary color and quality then the cost will be closer to the lower end. If you’re going with special colors and red colors, then you’re likely to pay around $150 and up.
This is the more expensive option. You can expect to pay anywhere from $200 – $600 for all the paint supplies. This figure changes depending on the quality and style of the paint you choose.
If you choose ordinary paints and an ordinary finish, then you’ll probably end up paying around $350 – $400 for all the paint supplies.
Materials Needed for the Painting
Material needed to include:
- Tape for painting
- Sanding tools for removing paint
- Body reworking tools
- Various tools for specific designs, etc.
All these tools for both types of painting should come to around $100. This cost will be less if you already have tools lying around from previous jobs.
It’s hard to give an accurate estimate here as it varies so widely. $100 is a safe bet if you just want a number to budget for.
Size of the Vehicle Being Painted
The size of your car will have a big influence on the total cost you can expect to pay.
If you’re painting a large SUV, you can expect to pay nearly double that if you’re going to paint a small hatchback. If your vehicle is large, you’ll want to add 70-100% on top of your budget to account for all the extra materials and paint needed.
This might be overkill, but it’s far better to have more paint than less. If you’ve ever painted a car before, you’ll know how frustrating it is to run out of paint mid-way.
How Much Would It Cost to Paint a Car Yourself? (Summary)
Here’s a rundown of the total cost you can expect for each of the two painting methods:
Total Cost of the Single-Stage Paint Job
Here are the cost tiers:
- Low-end paint and a smaller car: $100 – $200 for everything
- Mid-range paint an average car size: $180 – $300
- High-end paint or a large vehicle: $300+
These costs don’t include bodywork and the tools needed for that process.
Total Cost of the Two-Stage Paint Job (Base and gloss)
Here are the costs you can expect:
- Low-end paint and a smaller car: $200 – $400
- Mid-range paint an average car size: $400 – $600
- High-end paint or a large vehicle: $600+
Bear in mind that if you’re going for fancy designs or extra polished finished, this cost estimate will also increase accordingly.
Throughout this process, you should always balance the cost savings with the time cost and quality cost. If you aren’t confident in your skills and are worried about the final quality of the job – get it done by a professional.
If you’re confident enough to go ahead, then this guide should give you an accurate estimate you need to budget for. Now that we’ve answered the “How much does it cost to paint a car yourself?” question, you’re ready to make an informed decision – and have your car looking like new!