Painter and decorator

Painters and decorators prepare and apply paint, wallpaper and finishes to different surfaces.

Potential salary
£15,000 to £30,000
Working hours
42 to 44 a week
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • leadership skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • customer service skills
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • business management skills
  • knowledge of building and construction
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • measuring surface areas and working out how much paint or wall covering is needed
  • preparing the materials you need
  • stripping off old wallpaper or layers of paint
  • filling holes and cracks and making sure surfaces are level
  • covering surfaces with primer and undercoat
  • mixing paint to the right shade, often using computerised colour-matching equipment
  • applying coats of paint, hanging wallpaper and adding special finishes like glazes or marbling
  • tidying up after finishing, and cleaning your tools

You may need to wear protective clothing.

You could work at a client's business or at a client's home.

Your working environment may be at height.

With experience, you could become a team supervisor or move into related areas like estimating, contract management, interior or set design, or apprentice training.

You could also work in heritage conservation, or set up your own business.

You can find out about careers in painting and decorating from Go Construct.

Data from National Careers Service.
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