Guide to hiring a painter and decorator

Page 1: Hiring a painter and decorator
Page 2: Costs
Page 3: DIY advice

Hannah Shanks - Editor

If the thought of decorating a new property or giving an old one a makeover sends you into a tizzy, then help is at hand in the form of a painter and decorator.

Painters and decorators offer a variety of services, such as painting (both interior and exterior surfaces), hanging wall coverings, treating wood surfaces and carrying out minor repairs.

The cost of revamping your home depends greatly on the extent of the work required. Wallpapering the bathroom under the stairs is going to cost a fraction of the price of painting the interior of a four-bedroom house, complete with coving and dado rails.

Undertaking a decorating job personally will undoubtedly save money, but before donning your old dungarees and wielding a paintbrush, stop to consider why employing a professional can be a wise option.

Although hiring a painter and decorator may cost more, it can constitute a real saving in terms of efficiency, expertise and peace of mind.

How do I choose one?

A recommendation from someone you know is a great place to start and can give you the opportunity to see a particular painter and decorator's work first hand.

The Painting and Decorating Association will also provide a list of painters and decorators in your area. The PDA operates on a national level. Regional bodies include the London Association of Master Decorators and the Scottish Decorators' Federation.

There are numerous advantages in taking your business to a member of a trade association. Members are thoroughly vetted before admission, only work with quality materials, and keep abreast of the latest techniques and regulations in the industry.

Furthermore, in the unfortunate event of a dispute arising, complaints can be lodged and dealt with by the relevant trade association.

Last but not least, all members carry adequate Public Liability Insurance. Accidents are few and far between. However, should they occur, you will not be the one to bear the brunt of any damage caused in the course of redecoration.

Naturally, there are countless honest, skilled tradesmen who are not members of a trade association. However, any quality painter and decorator will be more than happy to supply references and examples of past work. This is a good way of checking his or her credentials.

Tools of the trade paint vs. wallpaper

So, now you're satisfied with your choice of painter and decorator, its time to talk decor. If you are bewildered by the vast array of paint and wallpaper available nowadays, this is where a professional's experience is invaluable. He or she can offer you advice on a whole host of subjects, from stencils to steamers, and woodchip to wood effect.

Once you've contacted your chosen painter and decorator, together you can arrange a convenient time to meet at your home and discuss the work needed in detail. It's a good idea to have measured the area you want decorated before you call, so as the painter and decorator knows what to expect.

Unless your home is in need of an urgent facelift, don't worry if he or she cannot visit for a few weeks. Firstly, it is a very good sign if a painter and decorator is in demand and secondly, this gives you plenty of time to browse around your local DIY retailer and gather paint and wallpaper samples.

If you are completely new to decorating, or simply wish to jog your memory, here are a few pointers to make you decision a little easier.

Paint

Painting is a quick and easy way to transform or refresh a room and remains the most popular option when decorating.

  • Paint is available in every colour under the sun. Different shades can even be mixed together, either by hand or machine, to obtain the exact tone you want.
  • There are two main types of paint, namely gloss and emulsion. However, many of the paints available today are hybrids of the two. Generally speaking, gloss is more hard-wearing than emulsion.
  • The location and nature of the surface you wish to paint will have a bearing on your choice. Bricks on an exterior wall will require different products to those used on the ceiling of a steamy bathroom.
  • Different techniques can be used to create special effects, such as stencilling, rag rolling, marbling or wood effect.
  • You can expect to pay in the region of 3 to 10 per litre for popular brands. More expensive oil-based paints can cost up to 30 per litre.

Wallpaper

After years of being rejected as a decor faux pas, wallpaper is back with a vengeance and, like paint, there is an endless selection to choose from, available in every colour and pattern imaginable.

  • Regular, untreated paper with a printed pattern is the cheapest and least hard-wearing wallpaper.
  • Vinyl wallpapers are washable and more resistant to wear and tear, making them suitable for busy areas such as the kitchen, hallway or children's bedrooms.
  • Poor surfaces and defects in walls and ceilings can be cleverly disguised with embossed or woodchip wallpaper. Once they have dried, these types of wall covering will need to be painted.
  • Average wallpaper prices range from 5 to 20 per roll, although you can pay as much as 200 per roll for specialist wall coverings.
  • The disadvantage of using wallpaper to redecorate is that it is tricky to hang and to remove or replace if it is damaged or soiled. However, quality wallpaper hung by a professional should last 10 15 yrs.

 
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Property pros