House Painting Guide

By Josh
Last updated 4th April 2023 - Reading time: 3 mins

Let's be honest, painting your home, inside or out, is a pretty tedious and taxing task. It's not too difficult, but it's certainly tiring, and you can always see the difference between a professionally completed paint job and a DIY effort.

Not only that but there is a common misconception that hiring a decorator to paint your home will cost a lot of money. In actual fact, the cost of house painting isn't as high as many people think. It is also significantly quicker than doing it yourself.

Two men painting a house blue

A lot more goes into painting walls than meets the eye, and usually, the quality of the preparation of the walls and ceilings dictates the overall quality of the paint job.

The main reason people hire a professional painter and decorator is to save time and take the burden away from themselves. They also end up with a much higher quality result than they would have gained themselves.

Throughout this guide, we're going to explore the ins and outs of house painting, the costs and timescales, along with the pros and cons of hiring a professional to carry out the work for you.

What is House Painting?

House painting can be split into two categories – interior house painting and exterior house painting. The two are split due to the great differences in the process and the difference in materials and paint required to complete the jobs.

For interior house painting, you'll probably need to hire a professional painter and decorator to prepare your walls before carrying out any painting work. Usually, this is in the form of replastering or resurfacing the walls or ceiling to ensure that there aren't any blemishes or damage to the wall for when the paint is applied.

Man painting white walls

If the interior walls are generally in good condition, you can use a filler to cover over any smaller cracks or chips in the wall to smooth the surface out, ready for the painting.

Painting the exterior of the house is a little different, mainly due to the issues with working at height and working with weatherproof exterior paint. You also have windows to contend with, as well as the weather! In the next section, we're going to explore the different types of house paint for both interior and exterior paints and materials.

Types of House Paint

Masonry & Brick Paint

This type of paint can be used on any type of brick, stucco or other similar outdoor surfaces. The main benefit of this type of paint is the lack of dripping due to the thick viscosity of the paint, allowing it to cling onto the brickwork better.

The thickness of the paint actually has some insulation properties too, and while this may not make a huge difference to your home, it's better than nothing!

Wood stain application


Emulsion is the most common paint used when painting in the home. It's available in many different colours and shades, as well as various finishes from matte to gloss.

Emulsion is pretty easy to work with, and as it's water-based paint, it can be cleaned easily from clothes and surfaces if necessary. The colour and shade range is extensive, and you can even have bespoke colours made inside any reputable DIY store, so the options are truly endless.


Gloss is used on wooden surfaces like skirting boards and bannisters to give them a bright, glossy and polished look. Many people will redecorate their homes and ignore the skirting boards, but this is a huge mistake as fresh skirting boards make all the difference to the clean look of a freshly decorated room.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Painting a House?


Fresh New Look

The main benefit of investing in the redecoration of your home, whether inside or outside, is the fresh look of it.

Whenever we begin to get a little bored of the style of our home, or simply when we feel it's time for an update, painting is usually the first thing to change before we look at the layout and furnishings of our home.

Man painting house exterior

If you've just moved into a new home, there's no better way to start off and make it your own than by resurfacing, repainting and redecorating before you start to move your stuff in.


Particularly for the external painting of your home, the water and cold resistant paint will protect the actual brickwork of your home from degradation over time, meaning less money wasted on repairs to the home and a longer life span between paint jobs.

Curb Appeal

You'll more than likely look to sell your home after a certain amount of time, and homes that have had a fresh lick of paint attract a much higher curb appeal than those that are starting to look a little dated and forgotten.



As with any trade job, the price must always be considered, especially when there is not much return from it as there is with new insulation or a new boiler. Now, as we mentioned earlier in the article, the overall cost to resurface and paint a whole home isn't as expensive as many people think, but it's still a considerable investment.

Time Consumption

Another consideration is the amount of time it will take to complete and how that will affect your day-to-day life.

In most cases, this isn't an issue at all, but if you have special circumstances, you may find it difficult to go up to 3 or 4 days without being to access certain rooms while they have been freshly painted or plastered.

How Much Does House Painting Cost?

Cost to Paint the Exterior of a House

A two-storey, 3-bedroom home in the UK will cost around £850 to paint the entire exterior. However, this cost can fluctuate based on a few factors.

Firstly, if your home is bigger or smaller, you can expect to see this reflected in the cost, and if there are access issues with your home, this will likely incur an extra cost.

Secondly, the location of your home can affect the price of your job, with big cities like Manchester and London attracting much higher costs for tradespeople than other areas due to the population density and cost of living.

The price of materials will also affect the price, and different brands and styles of paint will cost more or less than others, so bear that in mind when you are choosing which paint is the best fit for you and your home. If you want to see a more specific pricing guide on painting the exterior of a home, check out our article here.

Cost to Paint a Room

Now, the pricing structure for painting a room does differ depending on specifically what you need to do to the room. For just the painting of a room with two coats of emulsion, it will cost around £300 per room. However, if you want any old wallpaper removed first, you'll probably pay around £400 per room.

Some decorators will offer discounts depending on how many rooms you need to do, but this all depends on the contractor. For a more detailed overview of painting room prices, check out our guide here.

Cost to Replaster a Room

We've mentioned throughout this article that replastering walls and ceilings could be just as important as painting them correctly, as uneven and cracked walls don't look great regardless of how well they have been painted.

The cost of plastering generally depends on the size of the room you need surfacing, with small rooms costing anywhere between £400-£700 and large rooms costing as much as £1500.

Tradesperson painting house exterior

However, smaller patching work costs significantly less, and you can get some plaster repair patches from £50. To get more information about plastering, take a look at our article on it here.

How to Paint a House

We're going to explore the steps taken to paint a house in the following different ways:


It's actually recommended that you repaint the exterior of your home every ten years to maintain the same standard as the weather and elements impact your home.

Firstly, the exterior of your home must be pressure washed to remove any flaking and damaged paint before any new paint can be applied to the brickwork.

If there is deep-rooted damage between the bricks, you may need to have this re-pointed before any painting work can start too.

After all the repair and preparation work has been completed, the walls will be primed with a specialist exterior undercoat before the main paint is applied. This will dry fairly quickly, thus completing the job.


The method for painting interior walls isn't too dissimilar to the exterior method, with walls needing to be properly cleaned and surfaced before the painting can commence. A plasterer will smooth the walls to repair any damage before a white primer is added to the walls, quickly followed by your chosen colour of emulsion.

If there is wallpaper on the walls beforehand, this would need to be fully stripped with the walls cleaned with sugar soap before the repair work could commence.

Skirting Boards

Skirting boards are pretty easy to paint, and you have two options. The first is to simply paint over the existing glass with new gloss to update them.

Tradesperson walking towards house with paint

However, for the full job, you would sand the skirting boards down first to remove the layer of gloss before adding your new coat. The latter is more time consuming but offers a much better finish.

How Long Does It Take to Paint a House?

The timescales to paint a hose really does depend on the specificities of the particular home, the work you're looking to have done, and the cost of the materials you opt for. For the exterior of a 3-bedroom, 2-storey home, the work will take between 1-2 days.

For painting a room without any wallpaper stripping or plastering work, it will take around 4-5 hours, but if you add on plastering work and wallpaper stripping, a single room could take up to a day and a half.

Tradesperson painting window frames

Each room will be different to the next, so for an accurate idea about how long the work will take, ask the contractor during the quote.

Building Regulations or Planning Permission Approval for House Painting

You don't need planning permission to paint your home's interior or exterior unless you live in a listed building or within a conservation area. If you think you may fall in either of those categories, speak with your local authority before you commence work.

Tradesperson painting property exterior

Questions to Ask When Hiring a House Painting Specialist

  • How much will the work cost?
  • How long is the work likely to take?
  • Can they foresee any potential problems at first glance?
  • Have you been in the trade for a long time?
  • Are there any homes in the area that you have completed work for?
  • Do you have a portfolio that we could see?
  • Are you accredited with any association?
  • Do you have liability insurance?


How do you prepare for exterior house painting?

First of all, you'll need to jet wash the walls to ensure that any flaking paint or damage is removed before any paint can be applied. After this has been done, a specialist exterior primer will be added for the paint to be applied to. After that, the exterior masonry paint will be applied to the entire exterior walls.

Which type of paint is best for kitchen walls?

The best paint for kitchen walls is emulsion that is easily cleaned or wiped clean due to the amount of dirt and grease that is likely to build on the walls over time.

Can I paint the exterior of my home as a DIY project?

Painting the exterior of your home is a pretty tough task, not due to the actual painting, but in the preparation work and working at height. Contractors undergo training courses that teach them how to work safely and efficiently at height without endangering themselves or others in the process, so it's best to leave jobs like these to the trained professionals.

What type of paint do you need for outdoor timber?

For outdoor timber like sheds or fences, you'll be best off with an outdoor wood stain, usually best applied with a specialist sprayer which is available from any DIY store.

Can you paint uPVC?

While you technically can apply paint to uPVC, it wasn't designed to be painted, and the results are rarely well-received.


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