How Much Should You Pay a Decorator to Paint Exterior Walls?

Painting the exterior of your house is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to brighten up and improve the outside of your property. In fact, many in the home improvement industry see this as an “easy win” because it’s quick, affordable and the results can be dramatic.

But how much does it cost to get a professional to do this and how difficult is the work?

Before you read any further, we would like to point out that render and wall paints are great for modern homes that are made of airtight materials like cement. If your home is a period building, you should consider products that allow the wall to breathe, limewash being the best option. The contents of this page will only be of relevance if you live in a modern home constructed from modern materials.

Types of houses that can benefit from a coat or two of external paint:

  • houses with recently rendered walls
  • rendered walls that were previously painted
  • bricked walls

Masonry paint to external walls

Works Schedule

Below is a typical works schedule, it’s based on a rendered house but also applies to brickface.

  1. erect access equipment
  2. remove any existing flaky paint
  3. brush off loose dirt from walls
  4. stubborn dirt can be washed off with water a brush
  5. clean any mould, moss or algae with either a bleach/water solution or a fungicide treatment
  6. make good any repairs to walls with sand/cement mixture
  7. allow the walls to fully dry
  8. treat wall with a stabilising solution and allow to dry
  9. apply one coat of specialist masonry paint
  10. allow walls to dry
  11. apply a second coat of specialist masonry paint
  12. if the wall is being painted for the first time, apply a third coat of paint.

How Long Does the Work Take?

ClockBelow is a rough guide to how long you can expect the work to take.

If the wall is being painted for the first time then it will take longer, this is because the walls are generally more porous and require more paint and brush strokes.

The guide below is for a typical 3-bed semi-detached house and assumes two tradespeople are working on the project. That’s one experienced painter/decorator and a labourer/apprentice.

Day 1 – equipment put into position, clean walls and make good any repairs. Apply stabilising solution.

Day 2 – apply first coat of paint

Day 3 – apply second coat of paint

Day 4 – (optional but recommended for freshly rendered walls) – apply third coat of paint

Can You Answer This One Question?

This may seem like an odd question to ask, after all you have come to this page to see how much it costs. However, we are conducting research into how much homeowners think certain projects should cost.

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Can I Save Money by Asking my Trades-person to Use a Ladder Instead of Scaffold?

Current health and safety laws require anyone working at height for more than 30 minutes at a time to ditch the ladder and use a platform tower or scaffold instead.

While a full scaffold system erected around a house would cost a small fortune, most professional painters/decorators will have the own lightweight access towers which can be erected in around 15minutes.

Most of these towers have lockable wheels so the tower can be relocated easily. This makes them perfect for painting the exterior of a house.

Our price guide below assumes that the contractor will use a combination of ladders and access tower equipment.

If you feel your property needs to be professionally scaffolded, then check out our guide to scaffold prices here:

See How Much Scaffold Costs Here

Cost to Paint the Outside of a House

Below is our price guide, we have included the cost of the materials for a semi-detached house, the labour and VAT. Keep reading for tips on how to save money.

Accessories, brushes, tape, sand/cement etc£40.00
Labour 2xpeople for 3xdays£625.00
Net profit£500.00
VAT on labour and profits£225.00
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Save Money With These 4 Tips

  1. As you can see from the table above, we have based our price on a company that is registered for VAT and is also looking to make a profit beyond just charging for wages. There are however, many painters and decorators that charge just enough to cover their wages and overheads. Smaller businesses like these are usually much cheaper than larger businesses.
  2. Not all businesses are VAT registered and those that are trading below the registration threshold can be significantly cheaper than those that are charging VAT. More details about how to legally avoid paying VAT can be found here.
  3. Choose a company that has its own access equipment and doesn’t need to hire it from a third party.
  4. The cost of the paint can vary and so does the quality, for exposed walls it’s probably worth investing in a top-of-range quality product but for a sheltered property in a warmer part of the country, one could argue that a cheaper product would perform just as well.

We recently concluded some research into trade “day rates”, so if you would like to know how much trades people like painters and decorators are charging for a day’s work then hit the button below:

See Tradesperson's Day Rates

Which Paint is Best?

This is debatable and while one experienced painter would suggest one brand and sing its praises, another would say the opposite.

We personally feel that Dulux Weathershield is the best paint on the market for this type of work. But in reality, even the best paint will fail if the preparation work isn’t completed successfully.

A sound base is more important than the type of paint that is used on the surface. Old walls with powdery, soft and friable surfaces sometimes need considerable preparation work so a good quality stabiliser should also be applied.

What’s The Best Time of Year to Paint External Walls?

Forget doing this type of work in the winter or even early spring.

There is too much dampness in the air and the moisture can penetrate into the external walls.

Ideally, if at all possible, do this work in the summer. Warmer weather also means the paint will dry and be ready for the next coat much sooner.

List of Materials

Below is a list of materials we suggest for painting the outside of a house.

This is handy if you are considering doing the work yourself.

This is a very good stabiliser and is perfect for powdery old paint on external walls.

This site has paint products at reasonable prices. You’ll need to read the coverage information for each product and allow an extra 10%.

Covers and tarpaulins are generally required when working outdoors. See affordable ones here.

This brush and roller set is perfect for masonry painting.

Masking tape for around window frames.

Sand/cement is required for any minor repairs to rendered walls and can be purchased at any good local builder’s merchants.

Get a House Painting Price Online

Need a fixed price or quote for your external painting project?

Hit the link below to see how we can help you:

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This guide was written by and was last updated in August 2019.

Don’t forget; we have price guides for hundreds of home improvement projects.

Explore our full list of detailed price guides here.

Author - Danny Woodley