Painting your house in London might feel like the job that never ends, which is why there’s no substitute for hiring the professionals to take care of it all for you.
Because we know you want to get real value for money, we’ve put together the complete pricing guide for every aspect of painting a house in London.
Keep reading and you’ll find price ranges, rough estimates, and explanations for why certain parts of the job simply cannot be skipped.
Prepping surfaces: the hidden cost of painting a house in London
If you want flaky, poor quality paintwork that will fall off next winter, paint directly on top of what is already there. But of course no one actually wants that, which is why prepping your exterior surfaces is the foundation for any successful job.
The problem is that it’s all too tempting to oversimplify the job and cost up the number of days spent painting and the price of the paint.
To make sure the paint actually sticks for as long as it says it will on the tin, you need a professional to properly prepare every square inch.
How long does it take to prep the exterior surfaces?
This depends heavily on the state of the surfaces. If they’re bare and unpainted, a quick brush down is all that’s needed to prep the surface. But if there’s old paint on there, you’ll need a professional to advise on the best course of action.
Flaky paint will definitely need to be removed. If you paint directly on top of it then you’re just adding paint on top of poorly bonded paint, guaranteeing a dramatically shortened lifetime for your new paint job.
Then there is the case where to a causal observer the paint appears to be in good condition. Hiring a professional exterior decorator to assess it thoroughly is the best course action. If in doubt, leave it to an expert and ask them their opinion.
Pricing: Typically priced per day and depends on size and state of paintwork. Typically we would expect this to be 1 day of labour or less. Look for a professional who will come out and give you a free quote — you should never have to pay to have the size of the job assessed.
Working at height comes at a price
Painters and decorators may sometimes apply a small premium for challenging and highly complex jobs, but generally the mere fact they’re working at height is nothing new.
The extra cost will be because of hiring scaffolding. If it has to be positioned on the pavement or a public right of way then planning permission will also need to be put in place.
Any professional will be able to arrange for the scaffolding to be safely and properly installed and will work with the scaffolding company to tell them exactly what they need to get the job done.
Pricing: Typically in the region of £300 for a standard sized home and will usually be installed 1 week before painting begins to allow for leeway and contingency. A professional will advise if they’re unable to do the job with standard ladders from their van.
Why do painters charge hourly or daily?
Before we go further, let’s cover a common question that can cause a little bit of confusion when discussing and comparing quotes. In most cases the hourly or daily rate will remain fixed, unless a highly complex or challenging job is required.
Charging by time is a fair way to make sure that any unforeseen work or complications is taken care of to the same high standards as the rest of the job.
While you will find estimates online of the average price to paint a 3-bedroom home in London of £2,000-3,000, this is really just based on an hourly rate.
The figure comes about by the decorator multiplying their hourly rate by how long they think it will take. How long they think it will take depends largely on the size and condition of the house.
Pricing: Hourly rates in London are in the region of £27-£50 with a day rate of anywhere from £220-£400. This will depend on the demand for the decorator’s skills, their experience, and whether they employ others as part of their team.
How does square footage affect the cost of painting a house?
The bigger the house, the more it will cost to paint. A typical price in London is £80 to paint a square metre, but you can reasonably expect this to vary from one company to the next.
If you are being charged £10 per square metre the chances are you are dealing with an inexperienced handyman. Whereas if the price is several hundred pounds, you’re just not getting good value for money.
Pricing: £80 to paint a square metre is fairly typical in London at time of writing. While any professional will happily break down the cost of each part of the job, haggling over the square footage is unlikely to drop the price significantly.
There are so many factors involved in pricing up a job.
Painting a house in London requires a lot of consumables
Paint is by no means the only consumable, although it is the most obvious and the most expensive. Brushes wear out, tape gets used up, cleaning solution needs to be refilled.
These will fall under charges made to the customer and form a part of your final quotation.
The same goes if filler and stabiliser are needed to improve the quality of the exterior surfaces before the first coat is applied.
Pricing: A typical 3-bedroom house will typically generate £40 in consumables. This may change from decorator to decorate depending on the quality of the materials they use and the precise amount needed.
Primer cannot be missed when painting exteriors
Primer seals the brickwork and masonry, preventing damp getting between the paint and the exterior surface. While it may not look like it’s improving the aesthetics, primer is a key part of a job well done.
Any professional decorator in London will be happy to quote you for the cost of the painting and the cost of the priming separately. That way you can see how the cost of the job is adding up and make sure you’re getting real value for money.
Pricing: A good rule of thumb is that the cost to prime your property will be one-third of the cost of applying the paintwork. The precise ratio will vary as the costs are really calculated from the time taken, but it’s useful to have this ballpark figure in your mind.
Stabiliser and filler are often needed
While the cost of the filler is negligible when working on a large property, it’s the time it takes your painter that costs the money. This is probably the hardest one to estimate because it depends so much on the state of the walls.
Some properties won’t need anything doing, whereas others may need two solid days of work to get them ready for the next step.
Pricing: Ask for an estimate in days for how long this is likely to take and be willing to let the decorator get up a ladder and take a closer look. Filling is one of the parts of decorating exterior walls in London that can take longer than you think. Don’t worry, you’re always getting a job well done if you come to the experts.
Gloss work and trim add the finishing touches to exterior paintwork
The final part of getting everything exactly how you like is to sort out the painting of the wood work around facia boards, doors and windows. While painting walls is done largely on square footage, the intricacy of gloss work makes this type of metric redundant.
Any experienced decorator in London will be able to tell you how many days a job like yours is likely to take.
They will then factor this into your overall quote and give you a working estimate for how long everything will take from beginning to end.
Pricing: Expect to get an estimate in days for this one and don’t be surprised if it sounds like slow going compared to painting the masonry. Attention to detail and patience are what creates the perfect finish by getting little things like cutting in lines on window frames nice and straight.
Hiring a team will require more labour but can reduce delays
Teams like Advanced Painters who have a whole team of experienced professionals to call upon will be able to offer you a team of painters for larger jobs. This results in a higher daily labour cost but speeds up the job as a whole.
It will also reduce delays that result from bad weather because you won’t need as long a period of uninterrupted sunshine to get everything finished to a high standard.
Now you have a much better idea of how much your house painting job in London will cost, all you have to do is connect with the experts and put us to the test. Ready when you are!