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How much does it cost?

We contacted Which? Local-recommended traders to find out how much standard jobs should cost and how quickly they should be completed. Armed with this information, you’ll feel confident about hiring traders and be better equipped to spot when things aren't right.

Issue 5 - Painters and decorators: how much should you pay?


We surveyed recommended painters and decorators to find out how much you should spend on 10 common jobs and how long they should take to complete.

Painter and decorator working in a home

We asked Which? Local-recommended painters and decorators to complete a survey about the cost and completion time for 10 standard painting and decorating jobs.

Armed with this information, you'll know what questions to ask, roughly what price you can expect to pay and how long jobs should take when hiring a painter and decorator.

Painter and decorator prices and completion times

All of our prices include labour and materials but exclude VAT.

JobDetailsTypical price quotedPrice rangeTypical time to complete job
Survey conducted in July 2012
Wallpaper a roomRoom size approx 14'6” x 11' (4.42m x 3.35m). Line and paper. Assume walls are sound and room was previously painted so no existing wallpaper to remove. Customer supplying own wallpaper.£350£255-£4402–3 days
Paint a room that was previously wallpaperedRoom size approx 14'6” x 11' (4.42m x 3.35m). Remove old wallpaper. Assume walls have minor imperfections. Cover with lining paper. Emulsion on top.£480£420-£6003-4 days
Remove Artex from a ceiling, plaster and repaintRoom size approx 14'6” x 11' (4.42m x 3.35m). Get rid of existing Artex, replaster and paint.£450£350-£5503-4 days
Paint a room - smallRoom size approx 7' x 7'1” (2.13m x 2.16m). Repaint walls and ceiling with light coloured emulsion. Assuming existing plaster is in good condition.£180£148-£2251-2 days
Paint a room - mediumRoom size approx 10'10” x 9'10” (3.3m x 3m). Repaint walls and ceiling with light coloured emulsion. Assuming existing plaster is in good condition.£240£190-£3001-2 days
Paint a room - largeRoom size approx 20' x 16'6” (6.1m x 5.03m). Repaint walls and ceiling with light coloured emulsion. Assuming existing plaster is in good condition.£335£240-£4252-3 days
Gloss woodwork in one room - existing woodwork poor qualityRoom size approx 10'10” x 9'10” (3.3m x 3m). Remove old gloss and prepare wood. Undercoat and gloss. Skirting boards and one door frame. No doors or windows.£260£208-£3532 days
Gloss woodwork in one room - existing woodwork good qualityRoom size approx 10'10” (3.3m x 3m). Assume existing gloss is good quality, just discoloured. Rub down, undercoat and gloss. Skirting boards and one door frame. No doors or windows.£148£100-£1801-2 days
Repaint upstairs and downstairs hallway and stairs in an average three-bed semi-detached houseAssume existing plaster walls are in good condition and currently painted a light colour. Repaint all walls in downstairs hallway, upstairs hallway and stair area.£350£240-£4801-2 days (walls only)
Paint exterior of average three-bed semi-detached houseAssuming render is in good condition and just needs a repaint.n/a£435-£8852-4 days

Painting and decorating jobs: trader tips

In addition to the pricing and completion time information, our recommended painters and decorators also shared some helpful advice.

Research methodology

In July 2012, we sent a survey to all Which? Local traders in the Painters and decorators category with a rating of three stars or more and an email address.

55 painters and decorators responded to the survey. Using their experience and expertise, they answered questions about the cost of popular painting and decorating jobs, and how long they should take to complete.

Read more about the methodology

Job: wallpaper a room
This job is likely to take longer, and cost more, if there are lots of 'obstacles' such as chimney breasts, doors and windows to wallpaper around.

Job: remove Artex from a ceiling, plaster and repaint
In severe cases the ceiling would need to be reboarded, then plastered and painted. But the traders we surveyed told us that, in most cases, they would be able to cover up the Artex by plastering on top. Time and costs will be dependent on the condition of the ceiling.

Job: paint a room
Most traders told us that they would apply two coats for a professional finish. Typical times allow for two visits, as the first coat would need time to dry.

Job: repaint upstairs and downstairs hallway and stairs
We asked decorators to quote for painting walls only. Allow an additional two to three days if you want woodwork and ceilings painted too. Banisters, in particular, are a fiddly and time-consuming job.

Job: paint exterior of house
It depends on your house, but traders will probably need scaffolding to complete this job safely.

Scaffolding is expensive and could add a lot to your quote.

Some traders gave us quotes including scaffolding and some didn’t (hence the large price range). Make sure you ask traders about this to help you compare quotes more easily.



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