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Cost guide: painters and decorators

Save money on internal and external painting and decorating jobs with these tips from Bolton-based Egerton Decorators’ Gary Whitham.

Job: redecorating the lounge or living room walls

Type of job

Redecorating living room walls in a house built post-1960s.

What adds expense?

“Flat plaster and emulsion paint is fashionable,” says Gary Whitham from Which? Trusted Traders endorsed  Egerton Decorators in Bolton. “Lots of customers want to remove wallpaper and wrongly believe that they will need to have the walls reskimmed once the wallpaper has been removed. Hiring a plasterer, in addition to a painter and decorator, adds cost.”

How can I make it cheaper?

In most cases, a good decorator will be able to get your walls ready for painting,” says Gary. “Although the decorator may charge a little more for the extra preparation, it will be a considerable saving on the additional labour charges for a plasterer.”

 

If you have to paint new plaster, instead of buying a ‘new plaster sealer paint’, dilute contract emulsion with 50% water and then follow up with two coats of emulsion.

 

Job: external redecoration

Type of job

Redecoration of all painted areas including masonry.

What adds expense?

“Contracting lots of traders with different specialities to carry out minor repairs ends up being an expensive way to maintain your property,” says Gary.

How can I make it cheaper?

“Try to find a decorator who can also carry out minor repairs, including to pipework and gutters,” suggests Gary, “Also, have maintenance undertaken regularly – every three years, or so. This saves money in the long term.”

 

If the outside of your home needs redecoration, it’s best to wait until summer. This allows the moisture taken in during winter and spring to dry out.

Job: lounge or living room redecoration

Type of job

Redecoration of the whole room.

What adds expense?

“The average homeowner amasses a lot of furniture,” says Gary. “If a decorator has to move the furniture every day, they will factor this into the cost of the job. Over the course of a week, it could amount to a few hours of labour.”

How can I make it cheaper?

Gary says: “If possible, move furniture and possessions out of the room before the decorator arrives and for the duration of the job.”

Lots of customers use a complete redecoration as an opportunity to be ruthless with their possessions. Decluttering can make a real difference to a newly decorated room.

Job: redecoration of the hall, stairs and landing

Type of job

Complete redecoration of the hall, stairs and landing.

What adds expense?

“Good quality paint comes at a price. Cheap paint doesn't have the covering power that trade paints have and subsequently need more coats,” explains Gary. “Cheap gloss paints will turn yellow quickly, meaning that you have to decorate again sooner than you would like.”

How can I make it cheaper?

“In this case, more is less!” says Gary. “Although good quality paint is more expensive, the whole job will work out cheaper and look markedly better.”

After removing wallpaper, and before painting the walls, make sure all residual wallpaper paste is removed with clean water. This might take several washes but removes the possibility of leftover residue reacting with the paint and cracking or flaking.

Job: general household redecoration

Type of job

Redecoration of multiple rooms as part of the same job.

What adds expense?

Gary says: “If a lack of storage for furniture and possessions means the decorator can only work on one room at a time, the job will take considerably longer which adds expense.”

How can I make it cheaper?

A decorator can work more efficiently if they can decorate two or more rooms simultaneously,” says Gary. “It means they can work around drying times so, overall, the job will be shorter and cheaper.”

"If redecorating the doors in your home, consider changing the handles. They can be bought reasonably cheaply and have big impact on your freshly painted doors."

Find a painter and decorator in your local area.

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