If you’ve ever had to paint your entire house, you’ll know how tiring and frustrating it can be. Although you might rush into your new home with enthusiasm, applying that first coat of colour immediately as you stamp your mark on the place, when the enormity of the job sinks in, that enthusiasm may wane.
Several weeks down the line, when all your furniture is 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.
This can, unfortunately, lead to magnolia walls sticking around for much longer than intended, and tubs of new paint gathering dust in garages.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. In this article, we’ll be covering:
- How much painting and decorating costs
- What affects the cost of painting and decorating
- How to save money when painting and decorating
- How to find and hire a painter and decorator.
If you’re longing to switch up your walls or to get rid of some unsightly wallpaper, keep reading to find out how to do just that in the most cost-effective way possible.
How Much Does Painting and Decorating Cost?
The table below shows the estimated painting prices for an entire house, based on size and the time it’ll take to complete:
|House Size||Estimated Cost||Time Required|
|1-bed flat||£950 to £1,300||2 to 3 days|
|2-bed flat or house||£1,500 to £2,200||2 to 5 days|
|3-bed house||£2,400 to £3,100||5 to 7 days|
|4-bed house||£3,300 to £4,000||7 to 10 days|
|5-bed house||£4,200 to £6,100||10 to 15 days|
In general, painters and decorators tend to charge between £160 and £240 per day, not including materials. However, most professional painters and decorators charge based on the number and size of rooms.
If you have a larger 2-bed flat or house, painting the interior can cost anywhere from £1,500 to £2,200.
Homeowners living in a 3-bed house can generally expect to pay between £2,400 and £3,100 to paint the bedrooms, lounge/diner, kitchen, and bathroom.
If you live in a 4-bed house, the cost to paint your home usually ranges from £3,300 to £4,000.
For those living in large, 5-bedroom homes, painting can cost anywhere from £4,200 to £6,100 or more.
These costs can seem intimidating on the surface, and that’s why many homeowners prefer to paint their homes themselves.
However, professional painters and decorators are skilled in preparing walls and woodwork for painting, and their experience has helped them develop their technique so that you get an excellent result.
Hiring a professional painter and decorator can also save you time. It can take anywhere from 2 to 15 working days to paint a house, depending on the size of your home, the level of preparation required, and whether you’ve hired a sole trader or a team of painters
For services like exterior painting or interior ceiling painting, you can expect the following estimated costs:
|Type of Service||Size of Room/House||Price||Time to Complete|
|Interior wallpapering||1 medium-sized room||£275 to £350||2 to 3 days|
|Interior wallpapering||1 large-sized room||£400 to £500||3 days|
|Exterior painting||3 bed semi-detached house||£1,000 to £1,300||3 to 4 days|
|Exterior painting||4 bed detached house||£1,500 to £2,500||5 to 7 days|
|Ceiling painting||1 small room||£270||Half day|
|Ceiling painting||1 large-sized room||£380||1 day|
What drives the cost of interior wallpapering up is the time it takes the labourers to remove any old wallpaper or particularly gnarly old paint. If you can spare a few hours to remove this yourself, you can look to save some money off your trade quote.
When undertaking outdoor painting, it’s important to use masonry paint instead of your regular indoor paint. Masonry paint is specially formulated for external use and will stand up to the elements much better than anything you might use indoors.
Masonry paint can cover brick, concrete and various types of wall rendering, so if you want to change the colour of your property or just freshen up some lacklustre brickwork, embarking on some external painting can be just the answer.
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What Affects the Cost of Painting and Decorating?
As with most home renovations, there are a number of factors involved with painting and decorating that can either raise or lower your estimated costs.
If You Need to Treat Damp Walls or Stained Ceilings
If you’ve only budgeted for painting, 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. These areas will need a sealant added first to ensure the damp doesn’t break through the paint within a few months of application.
Similarly, ceilings stained with nicotine will need to be washed with sugar soap before any painting can begin, while any peeling gloss on woodwork will require a ‘burn off’; both of which will take extra time, equalling extra labour fees.
If You Need to Remove Wallpaper
If your wallpaper needs removing, it’s best to do it yourself. Unlike other aspects of decorating, removing old paper is generally low-skilled and can be completed by a DIY novice.
Doing this before your contractors arrive can yield more results than just slightly lower labour fees – it can unveil hidden problems with your wall before they arrive. The last thing you need is to have your decorators halfway through a job, and then to discover that an entire room needs re-plastering.
Although the cost of re-plastering is unlikely to feature in your painting and decorating budget at first glance, having this completed beforehand is a way to ensure the longevity of your paint job. While it can stunt your decorators, it’s a job that can’t be avoided, and if you find out it’s necessary before they step foot in your home, you’ll be saving money on labour fees.
Your Painter’s Skill and Experience
Anyone can splash a coat of paint on a wall, but cutting in, covering up damp and getting a consistent finish aren’t always as easy.
Most of your painting and decorating quote will be for labour costs, which means that prices will vary considerably owing to individual skill levels.
Lower-skilled painters and decorators will largely be cheaper, but they will probably take longer and mightn’t give the same standard as an industry professional with years of experience under their belt.
There’s also the mess to think about; trusted decorators 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.
Unsurprisingly, London is the most expensive area to get decorators in. But, unlike most other home renovation jobs where moving away from the city means lower prices, for painting and decorating, prices may remain high because quotes are from skilled and experienced professionals.
If you’re living in a town where tradesmen come at a premium, it’s wise to weigh up the pros and cons of hiring those just starting out compared to tradesmen who’ve been in the job for years.
Your home may need a fresh coat of paint to just make good before selling or renting out to tenants, which could be completed by a lower-skilled professional which could save you money.
Also good to note is that if your property doesn’t have a driveway, or somewhere for the traders to keep their vehicle while they’re at your home, you’ll have to procure a parking permit for them. This can easily hike up your overall project costs, so make sure you look into this before committing to a job.
How Can I Save Money on Painting and Decorating For My Home?
Painting and decorating can easily run into the thousands, making it a job you’re likely to save up for over a period. If you need something done in a hurry, there are ways to trim down your estimated costs with some savvy know-how.
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 multitasking, so while one room is drying, they can be getting started on the next.
This is great to keep in mind if you have a large house that you want completely redecorated. Don’t be put off by the enormity of the space and book multiple contractors for multiple jobs – speak to them upfront and gather quotes for the entire space, and then compare those fees to figure out what’s best for your budget and your timeline.
Keep Costs Low by Hiring Out of Season
There are certain times of the year when painters and decorators are extremely busy. As a result, their prices can be a lot higher.
Summer is the peak season for interior painting, so wherever possible, try to avoid this period. During low season months such as early in the year, you can take advantage of a contractor’s empty calendar, as well as more competitive prices as they’ll want to take bookings during the low seasons while they are not in such demand.
Do As Much Preparation As Possible
Where you can, it’s best to get as much prep work done as possible before your contractors step foot in your property. This can be stripping old wallpaper, pulling back carpets or laying down dust sheets ready for their arrival.
These things may not seem like much, but the time it takes to remove old paper can add up across an entire house if you’re having the whole place decorated, so it’s worthwhile doing if you have the time.
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How Do I Find and Hire a Painter/Decorator?
Has someone on your street recently had a painter and decorator into work on their home? Finding out who they used – and, crucially, if they were any good – can be a great place to start your search for a suitable contractor.
By using someone who has been vetted by someone you know, you’re reducing the risk of inadvertently hiring a cowboy trader or someone who seems good on paper but is awful in reality.
This way, you’re able to get verbatim reviews on someone’s work and find out what they’re like to work with and their overall work ethic. Someone who is cheaper on paper might be slow in reality, and if you’re paying day rates this can mean your project fee can end up much higher than it should be.
Similarly, if your friends or a member of your family has had work done, ask if they’d recommend their contractor. It’s important to note here that local firms mightn’t be able to travel to you if you’re in a different area, so make sure you find this out before setting your heart on someone.
If you don’t know where to start or have no one around you who has had a similar job done recently, using an online search tool like HouseholdQuotes can be a great place to start.
Using our form, you can compare the quotes of like-for-like contractors, helping you to save up to 40% on your quote.
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What Questions Should You Ask Them?
Pricing Structure and Written Quote
Once you’ve found a suitable contractor for your job, 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.
While this is happening, you also need to be sure whether your quote includes VAT. If it doesn’t, ask for a new quote to reflect the final price so there are no nasty surprises when it comes to settling your bill.
Professional decorators can get great prices on materials as they can buy them at trade cost, but it’s extremely important to ask about the brand of paint they’re planning on using in your home before you start work.
For instance, the cost of Dulux can sometimes be three times more expensive than a home brand, which can drive your fees up dramatically. To avoid this, it’s best to 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 beforehand so you’re not paying more than you should for your paint.
As with any hiring process, asking for someone’s relevant experience is the best way to find out if someone is the right fit for you and your job.
If you have a period property with ornate features, uneven walls or extremely high ceilings, it’s a good call to try to find a contractor who has dealt with those circumstances before.
References and Photos
Getting hold of references and any photos or videos of the contractor’s past work is important to verify their claims. Their website might say one thing, but the proof is always in someone’s work – or in the experience of their customers.
Finally, asking for proof of a contractor’s insurance is a sure-fire way of eliminating rogue traders from the running. It’s important for paperwork to be in place in the event of any accidents in your home, which may cause property damage or injury to the contractors.
Final Checklist and Conclusion
If you’re sick of looking at a bad paint job or some unsightly wallpaper, your resolution lies in hiring a painter or decorator.
To make sure you’re getting exactly what you want from your contractor, here’s our final checklist to keep in mind:
- Do as much prep work as possible, such as removing old wallpaper and moving out any obstructing furniture from the rooms you want decorating
- If your walls look like they have damp, or need re-plastering, make sure to get this taken care of before calling in your decorators
- Decide on what colour and finish you want, as well as the brand you want to use. If you want to keep costs low, buy the supplies yourself to avoid the marked-up options from your contractor
- Make sure you get any quote in written format and agree upon a fixed fee for the project to avoid spiralling hourly costs
- Include as many rooms in your quote as possible, as this can help to lower the price per room instead of having lots of little one-off jobs
- Use HouseholdQuotes to find your trusted trader and look to save up to 40% on your project’s quote.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Different Types of Paint Finishes?
Depending on the type of look you want, you can choose a paint finish to match. The main types are:
Satin: possibly the most common paint finish, satin is easy to clean and makes it a good choice for rooms with high activity and footfall, like hallways, kitchens and bedrooms. Brushstrokes are hard to conceal with this finish, which is something to bear in mind if you’re using the finish in a large room where the imperfections will be noticeable.
Matte: also known as flat paint, a matte finish offers up no shine but the most amount of coverage out of all the paints. Mattes are easily marked, so aren’t great choices for high-traffic areas and will likely be damaged if you try to clean areas with household cleaners.
Gloss: the antithesis of matte, gloss paint does what it says on the tin: it shines. Commonly seen on doors, bannisters and cabinets, gloss is incredibly easy to clean and won’t show up fingerprints.
Eggshell: sitting somewhere in the middle of satin and matte is eggshell, with a low amount of lustre. Not as durable as satin, but not as delicate as matte, eggshell finishes are good for areas where walls aren’t likely to be touched or knocked.
What Is Masonry Paint?
Put simply, masonry paint is specially formulated for use on the exterior of properties. It’s suitable for brick, render, stone, concrete – the list is practically endless!
Due to the paint being subjected to the elements day-in, day-out, masonry paint is a lot more durable than your standard indoor paints. If you’re thinking of cutting corners and using normal indoor paint for the exterior of your home, think again: you’ll waste time, money and effort as the paint simply won’t stand up to the elements outdoors.
How Many Square Metres Does 5 Litres of Paint Cover?
If you’re applying trade paint, 5 litres will cover 85 square metres, whereas the same amount of retail paint will cover 65 square metres. Trade paint is known to spread further, so it’s good to know in advance which type you’ll be using before you try to calculate how many pots you’ll need for your space.
To find out how many pots of paint you’ll need to cover an entire room in your home, you can use online calculators to do the heavy lifting for you – it’ll even account for 10% contingency in the event you spill some paint!
How Many Coats of Paint Do I Need?
Generally speaking, two coats is usually enough to get good coverage and the desired finish from your paint.
But, if your wall is particularly damaged, or carrying imperfections and needs priming multiple times to cancel out the original colour, you’ll likely have to apply more coats. Your first coat will sink into the porous areas of the wall, with the second sealing everything in place.
Sometimes you mightn’t be sure until the coats of paint are on the wall, which is why it’s always best practice to purchase a little more paint than you think you need as a contingency to ensure the colour is the same as the rest by buying from the same batch number.
How Do You Choose the Right Paintbrush?
If you’re detailing some cabinetry, you’ll need a much more precise brush than if you’re covering a large wall with satin paint.
When starting to paint a wall, you’ll need to cut in first to get the edges taken care of. For this, the best type of brush is something around 2-1/2-inch-wide, whereas for the rest of the wall you’ll want something around 100 to 150 millimetres wide.
This handy tool can help you to select the right brush for your job.
What Are VOCs and Should I Worry About Them?
VOC stands for volatile organic compounds. They can be emitted as gas from certain solids or liquids, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) states.
As with most gases, having them present indoors means that they can’t circulate and disperse as freely as if they were outside, which can be a cause for concern when working in small areas where VOCs can be present.
VOCs can come out of certain paints and paint strippers and can cause irritation to the skin, eyes and nose, amongst other side effects. It’s important to have good ventilation when painting indoors, and this can be achieved by opening windows and doors where possible and not leaving any pots of paint or paint strippers open while in use.
Always follow the product’s individual instructions, and make sure you get plenty of fresh air when carrying out the job to reduce any potential side effects.
Is It Easy to Paint a Room Yourself?
Unlike some other home renovations, choosing to paint a room yourself has minimal repercussions if something goes wrong, as it’s cheap and easy to rectify with another coat of paint.
It’s entirely possible to paint an entire room yourself – the only thing you’ll need to bear in mind is the time it’ll take you to complete. There are plenty of online guides to give you the best-practice tactics when tackling a room for the first time.
If you want to try out a colour before you get the professionals in, it’s a great idea to cover an area yourself first to make sure you like it before committing to an entire team coming in to do the job for you. Colours can look different in the tin than they do when they’re dry and on your wall, so it’s always best to carry out some test areas first and to look at them in different light states to make sure you’re happy with everything before making a booking.
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