A painter and decorator applies finishes to the outside or inside surfaces of industrial, commercial or domestic buildings, using either paint, varnish, wallpaper or other coverings. Surfaces might be wood, plaster or metal. Jobs could include walls, ceilings, fences, boats, bridges or oil rigs and platforms.
You could be:
measuring surfaces and calculating how much paint or wallpaper you need
preparing the work area, covering with dust sheets and setting up any ladders, scaffolding or cradles
washing old paintwork and removing old paint and wallpaper using a blowtorch, liquid paint remover and a scraper or a steam stripper
smoothing the surface with sandpaper and filling in cracks with plaster or other suitable material
measuring and mixing colours to the required shade, by hand or using a computer, then applying the paint using brushes, rollers or a spray
carrying open paint pots up a ladder or scaffolding and balancing them while painting
cutting wallpaper to size, spreading paste over each piece of wallpaper, hanging it on the wall, matching patterns and trimming around doorways and windows; applying wallpaper to ceilings
applying ornamental decoration such as coving or ceiling centre pieces, or creative textured finishes such as marbling
clearing up as you go and once the job is finished.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
As of June 2023 the Building and Allied Trades Joint Industrial Council (BATJIC) recommends the following rates for a 4-year apprenticeship based on a 39-hour week are:
Year 1 – £237.46 (£6.09 an hour)
Year 2 – £316.02 (£8.10 an hour)
Year 3 – £396.38 (£10.16 an hour)
Year 4 – £396.38 (£10.16 an hour) (without SCQF Level 6)
Year 4 – £419.27 (£10.75 an hour) (with SCQF Level 6).
Please note these rates may vary if the Apprentice is 21 years old or over and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship. National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) will apply.
A qualified painter and decorator earns £15.00 to around £22.00 an hour. From this you may have to buy your own ladders, brushes and other equipment. You can earn extra through overtime and bonuses. You may get travel and lodgings allowances. If you are self-employed you will negotiate your own rates.
You might work outside at heights where it could be cold and windy.
When working indoors there may be strong fumes.
You would wear protective clothing including overalls.
You might have to buy your own brushes and equipment.
You would work around 40 hours a week, often doing evening or weekend overtime.
You would sometimes travel between work sites.
Outdoor work can be seasonal, with shorter hours and sometimes lay-offs in winter.