Most property owners are keen to unleash their creativity when they move in, and there’s a massive choice of paints, finishes and wall coverings to help make even the most ambitious ideas for home decor happen.

But if you’re not keen on balancing on ladders or cleaning gloss paint out of your hair – or your brush skills aren’t quite up to Michelangelo standards – you’ll be pleased to find a good local painter and decorator to lend a hand.

Many of the skills involved in this trade are hard to master and a pro painter and decorator will be able to do a better job in less time than us amateurs. Hiring a trained pro also minimises the chance of damage to your home or furnishings that could cost extra cash to put right.

We’ve all heard of DIY disasters and from dropping a full tin of paint out of a window onto their car outside to breaking bones in both feet, doing a spot of decorating yourself is the cause of many insurance claims, according to one major UK insurer. [i]

Add this guide to your palette when choosing your local painter and decorator and look forward to hiring a professional with the perfect spectrum of skills.

What they do

The white-overalled wonders of the painting and decorating world need a range of skills to become masters of their trade. From a having a good eye for colour to plastering and intricate brushwork, they need to be able to turn their hand to a range of tasks including:

  • Measuring and estimating how much materials are needed
  • Preparing the materials
  • Preparing surfaces by filling holes and cracks
  • Applying primer and undercoat
  • Mixing paint to the right shade
  • Painting and hanging wallpaper

What they charge

When hiring a painter and decorator, expect to pay around £10 per hour plus the cost of materials, although many will provide a quote for the entire job. This last option is often a good idea if you want to keep on top of your budget.

The following examples should give you a rough idea of what typical jobs should cost (excluding materials):

  • Prepare and wallpaper a 4m x 4m room (including lining paper) – £400 (2/3 days)
  • Prepare and paint a 3m x 3m room – £250 (1/2 days)
  • Prepare and paint the interior of a two bed house or flat– £1,500 (up to a week)
  • Paint a three bedroom house exterior – £600 (2/4 days)

What to ask

When making your final choice about which painter and decorator will match your requirements perfectly, make sure you ask the right questions from the start. This will help you choose the right person for the job and could save you time and hassle later down the line. A few things you need to know are:

  • How long have they been doing the job? An established company can often offer more in the way of skill and peace of mind
  • Do they use subcontractors? If so, make sure they are time-served and competent
  • Do they offer a warranty?
  • Are they insured?
  • Can they provide references?
  • What brand of paint do they plan to use?
  • How much wall preparation is included in the estimate?

Trades to trust

The Painting and Decorating Association (PDA) ensures all members adhere to the highest standards, from large national contractor organisations to small businesses. Look out for their logo as it’s a good sign of a painter and decorator who’ll carry out a skilled job.

The law

There are a few laws to be aware of when it comes to painting your home. If you’re applying anti-vandal paint on your property, for example, you could be liable if an intruder slips and injures themselves (really!). If anti-vandal paint is used on a wall or surface which adjoins a public highway, care must also be taken to avoid “harm or injury” to any person or animal using the highway.

You’ll also need to seek listed-building consent if you wish to paint the exterior or interior of a listed property where painting would affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest.

If you’re planning major renovation work requiring painting and decorating, you may need to comply with the HSE’s Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

Ready to hire?

3 is the magic number

As always, try and get three quotes from three different painter and decorators to ensure you pay a fair price for the job.

Certification and references

Don’t be shy about asking for any relevant certification, proof of public liability insurance and references or photos from previous jobs. If the painter and decorator is trustworthy and competent, they’ll be pleased (and proud) to show you both.