If you’ve ever had to paint your entire house, you’ll know how tiring and frustrating it can become. Yes, you might rush into your new home with enthusiasm, and apply that first coat of colour in the first week as you stamp your mark upon the place.
But several years down the line, when all your furniture’s in and your pictures are hanging on the walls, decorating probably won’t seem as fun a task. At this point, many people make the decision to get some painting and decorating quotes, only to be shocked at the cost. So, just how much is too much when it comes to decorating?
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Experience Costs Money
There are a number of factors to understand when you’re considering painting and decorating prices. Firstly, remember that most of the quote will be for labour costs. This means that prices will vary considerably, not only regionally, but because of skill level too.
Unsurprisingly, London is the most expensive area to get decorators in. But even in other areas, prices may still remain high because quotes are from skilled and experienced professionals.
It’s definitely wise to weigh up the pros and cons of hiring those starting out compared to tradesmen who’ve been in the job for years. Anyone can splash a coat of paint up, but cutting in, covering up damp and getting a consistent finish aren’t always easy.
There’s also the mess to think about; trusted firms are more likely to leave a home as they found it rather than disappearing into the sunset as you deal with paint drips on floors and skirting boards.
Extras Will Eat into Your Budget
If you’ve only budgeted for painting, then you may get a nasty surprise when a painter turns around and explains the amount of additional work they need to do. For example, damp patches can’t just be painted over with the final colour, but need a sealant added first.
Ceilings that are stained with nicotine will need to be washed with sugar soap before any painting can begin, whilst any peeling gloss on woodwork will require a ‘burn off’; a job that takes times and costs extra money in labour.
There’s also wallpaper to think about. If it needs removing, it’s best to do it yourself. Not only does it take a long time to strip, but it can unveil hidden problems with your wall. The last thing you need is to have your decorators halfway through a job and then discover an entire room needs re-plastering.
Average Costs for a Single Room
If you really can’t be bothered with the hassle of painting yourself, it’s best to search for a decorator on a site like Rated People. Be sure to get at least three quotes as a comparison, and make sure costs include things like removing/covering all furniture, making minor repairs to woodwork and the existing wall, and painting everything from windowsills and frames, to doors, ceiling and skirting.
For a single room, costs should vary between £375 and £500, with the higher end of the scale for affluent areas like London. Though it might seem a little steep, you have to remember this price is for all walls, ceiling and woodwork. You should leave at least two days per room so that undercoats can be prepared before the final finish is applied.
More Painting for Less Expense
In general, if you’re hiring a painter and decorator, it’s better to employ them for one large job instead of several small, one-off projects. For example, having two rooms painted at the same time should work out a lot cheaper than simply adding the costs for a single room together. Decorators are good at multi-tasking, so while one room is drying, they can be getting started on the next. Average prices across the UK are as follows, though it’s important to remember costs in London could be considerably more.
- 2-bed house or flat. Properties of this size should cost between £1,500 and £2,000 to paint, with work taking up to a week.
- 3-bed house or flat. Costs should be between £2,000 and £3,000 to paint, around a week
- 4-bed house or flat. If you’ve got a 4-bed property, expect to pay between £2,500 and £3,500. Contractors will probably take a week to 10 days to complete the job.
- 5-bed house or flat. Finally, if you’ve got a large 5-bed house or flat, it will take between one and two weeks to completely repaint. Costs should be between £3,500 and £4,200.
These are prices are for painting walls and ceilings and include materials. We are also assuming that the walls were previously painted and the plaster is in good condition. Prices could be 50-75% higher if walls were previously papered and plastering is required.
Wallpapering walls that were previously painted should work out similar to the prices stated above too.
Keep Costs Low by Hiring Out of Season
There are certain times of the year when painters and decorators are extremely busy and, as a result, prices are higher. The summer is a peak season for interior painting, so try and avoid this period if possible. During low season months, such as early in the year, you may be able to find cheaper prices as contractors scramble for work.
Essential Questions to Avoid a Nasty Sting
If you’ve decided to hire someone, there are a few important questions to ask before you agree on any contract. Firstly, it’s important to get a fixed price for the work instead of a daily rate. Though a decorator might offer a reasonable rate, your budget will quickly spiral out of control if problems occur and the work takes longer than first agreed.
You also need to be sure whether a quote includes VAT or not. If it doesn’t, ask for a new quote to reflect the final price.
Finally, despite professional decorators getting great prices on materials, it’s extremely important to ask about the brand of paint they’re using. For instance, the cost of Dulux can sometimes be three times more expensive than a home brand. Either pick out the colours and paints you want to use in advance or be sure to talk with your contractor about the brand they’re using so you’re not paying more than a fair price.