The 50plus

The cost of decorating

0845 22 50 495 or one of our local numbers or book online here.

What are we talking about?

How long does it typically take to undertake internal or external decoration?

Typical time

Usually estimated with a site visit


Clear access. For external works reasonable weather

Questions to ask

Internal, external, which rooms if internal, where if external. Arrange estimate!


There are a large number of decorating guides on the Internet. Rather than duplicate such information this article confines itself to the cost angle if a company or decorator is employed to do the work.

Remember insurance, back up and for external work in particular, support and a health and safety policy should come as as part of the package.

Internal decorating costs vary considerable depending on:

  • whether the job is a 'freshen up' or a full redecoration
  • the condition of the room(s).

A 'freshen up' is the cheap and cheerful method of decoration. It will leave a room clean with new paint. A freshen up can be undertaken if the room is in good decorative order, there's no wall or ceiling papering involved and no substantial colour change. The work can sometimes be completed in a day for a single room and will comprise sugar soaping the ceiling (if being painted), walls and paint work, making good a small number of minor discrepancies, rubbing down the woodwork, applying a single coat of 'one coat' paint on the wall and applying a single coat of top coat on woodwork. The cost will be around one days labour if the amount of woodwork is small and there is no ceiling work or up to two day's labour if there are e.g. doors and windows to paint and a ceiling to paint.

The costs of a full redecoration are predominantly dependent on the room size, the existing condition and hence amount of preparatory work required, whether any wall or ceiling papering is involved and the amount of woodwork to redecorate. Man hours and hence costs can be calculated using standard formulae and by adding an amount for the preparation based on the condition of the room. If this is not fully apparent (e.g. if paper is potentially hiding loose plaster), then some exploratory work may be required.

External decorating reflects the points raised above but has greater emphasis on preparation. External woodwork requires good preparation and base/undercoats to protect against the weather. Paint is not a filler. Wood that is rotting can't be successfully painted and must be hardened, filled and primed. Loose window putty should be replaced. If walls are being painted then loose or flaking material will need to be removed first

Do remember safe access is required to any parts which are high up. Conservatories and extensions can prevent access in which case scaffold or a hydraulic platform may be needed (see below for a link to information on safe working on ladders).

Information on safe use of ladders.

Questions? Please contact us.