What Is a Painter and Decorator?


You Will Learn.

  • What a Painter and Decorator is. 
  • What the responsibilities of a Painter and Decorator are.
  • What qualifications a Painter and Decorator needs.
  • Average salary of a Painter and Decorator.
  • What skills a Painter and Decorator needs.  
  • Who employs a Painter and Decorator.
  • Where the latest Painter and Decorator  jobs are and how to apply for them.
Painter painting a wall

What Is a Painter and Decorator?

A Painter and Decorator is a skilled tradesperson who uses a variety of tools and materials to bring an indoor room or outdoor space to life. 

They generally work with materials such as paint, fabric, varnish and wallpaper to improve the aesthetic of a room and add finishing touches to a renovation. 

Whilst some people choose to do their own painting and decorating, a trained Painter and Decorator will paint with skill and limit the amount of mess made whilst they complete their work.

They will often be more thorough and precise and the overall finish of a room will be to a higher standard if a trained Painter and Decorator is employed for the job.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Painter and Decorator?

While working as a Painter and Decorator, you will be required to: 

  • Prepare the materials required to complete a project to the highest standard. 
  • Remove existing paint and wallpaper before beginning a project.
  • Measure surface area to ensure a precise quantity of material is ordered to complete the project. 
  • Prepare surface areas with primers and undercoats to ensure a high quality finish. 
  • Provide clients with creative ideas and expert advice.
  • Create the correct shade of paint by mixing multiple colours.
  • Use computerised technology to colour match shades. 
  • Infill imperfections in wall surfaces to create a smooth foundation for paint. 
  • Tidy as work is completed to ensure a safe working environment.
  • Clean tools after use to keep them in good working order. 

Frequently Asked Questions

While there are no formal qualifications required to be a Painter and Decorator, there are a couple of ways to become a Painter and Decorator. 

One of the most popular options is to complete an apprenticeship with somebody who has experience working in the industry.

A Painter and Decorator Intermediate Apprenticeship usually takes two to three years to complete and will equip an aspiring Painter and Decorator with the skills and experience needed to practise the trade full time. Apprenticeships are a great way to learn on the job. 

There are a number of courses that can also be completed to obtain painting and decorating qualifications. A Painting and Decorating Level 1 (NVQ) will teach students the basics of business management within the industry, along with how to use materials correctly. Within this course you can progress to a Level 3 qualification. 

The course is made up of theory and practical elements, so a student is able to learn about the history of painting and decorating as well as perfecting their hands-on skills such as sanding, mixing paint and polishing. 

It’s a good idea to read into an apprenticeship or course in full before signing up, so you are fully informed on what you will be learning and how this will prepare you for working in the industry. 

The average salary for a Painter and Decorator in the UK is around £21,000 per year. In London, Painter and Decorators can expect to earn £26,000 per year.

However, this can vary depending on factors such as the region of the UK, the level of experience, and the type of painting and decorating work being done.

Some Painters and Decorators who specialise in high-end projects, such as historic building restoration or luxury home decorating, may be able to command higher salaries due to the specialised nature of their work.

In addition, self-employed Painters and Decorators who are able to build up a strong client base may be able to earn higher salaries based on their level of success and the number of projects they are able to take on. 

A Painter and Decorator may choose to be self-employed and therefore would liaise directly with their own clients. 

However, Painters and Decorators can also be employed by councils, construction companies, private clients, housing associations and subcontractors to work on important projects or renovations.

Often, a Painter and Decorator will be based on site with the tools and materials they need to complete practical work in a timely manner. 

What Skills Does a Painter and Decorator Need?

Key skills of a Painter and Decorator include: 

  • Good listening skills for an accurate understanding of how a client wants their space to look.
  • The ability to follow instructions effectively so work is completed to a high standard. 
  • Basic maths skills to measure surface area and estimate the quantities of materials needed. 
  • Flexibility in case a client changes their mind mid project. 
  • Patience to complete intricate painting work. 
  • Physical fitness to carry the heavy tools and materials required to complete a job. 
  • The ability to take constructive criticism if a client isn’t happy with an aspect of your work. 
  • Basic computer skills to use colour-match technology. 
  • Good teamwork to work alongside other tradespeople on important projects.
  • Knowledge of health and safety to ensure working environments are kept in safe order and safety regulations are adhered to.

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