D. Barrett Decorating - The Blog

Look Outside Your Window

Summer is coming! Well, it will be soon. Right now I'm watching a nice bit of sleet drive down in between sunny spells. Anyway the summer brings in the exterior decorating season, one which causes a lot of pleasure by being able to work in glorious sunshine with fresh air to despair at finding yourself rained off to a unforeseen shower that on your weather app had no chance of happening!

I get a lot of enquiries in regards to exterior work, so many that I can't fit them all in each year. I had hoped to have begun my exterior work already but with another lockdown pushing my diary back two months and as I've mentioned the weather is dire, its looking more like May/June. 

What I thought I'd do is write a little blog about the exterior process and the costs, as this is something a lot of people have mentioned to me they didn't expect it to be that much.

So take your standard rendered property, average semi detached, plastic windows along with soffit and fascia boards, render previously painted and riser at bottom. First step is to determine whether it needs scaffolding. A lot can be done easily off ladders, I say easily cause it's hard work lumping a treble about all day, so that's a cost that doesn't need to be included. However if you have to paint fascia boards or there are windows and these are in need of a lot of prep, or there are extra bays and peaks then scaffolding is essential. As much as I try to keep costs for customers down, my own safety is paramount. I will not risk my life to save anyone £200 etc, so if I specify scaffolding I will need scaffolding. If anyone isn't willing to pay for that then I won't be doing the job.

Anyway on to the next stage. We've established whether the job requires scaffolding so now we determine the paint finish for the render. My preference is Dulux Trade Weathershield All Seasons or Smooth Masonry. I know this product works and I know it applies well. The cost of this can be found on Dulux Decorating Centre website. Once the colour is decided on its the painting stage. I protect windows with tape and drape to eliminate overspray, what I don't do is remove downspouts etc. I'm fully aware that others will do that and that's great, no problems there. Myself, I don't want the risk of not correctly reinstalling and causing my customers potential problems down the line so I leave the in place. I will however repaint them in Zinsser Allcoat satin black if they can't be cleaned down. Most rendered walls will cover in two coats, brush and rolled, though you can look at spraying them if the weather is good enough. Obviously you wouldn't want to be spraying with a gale blowing outside! One person will achieve this over two, three days and will use on average about 5-10 litres per side. Rough cast render though will take more paint and more labour time, spraying will be less labour intensive but potentially more in paint costs. 

Now say the job had fascias, soffits, windows, panelling to be painted. All this would add a lot of time on to the job, even more if repair work is needed. a three day job now becomes six or seven at best. What adds a lot of time on is climbing up and down ladders and scaffold all day, not as simple as painting a living room. Repairing windows or other exterior woodwork can be a labour intensive job, something that can be done in more detail another time, but if you have left a exterior to rot then please be aware that the cost of fixing this will also be higher.

So average cost for a semi detached as I initially described would be around the £800-£1000 mark excluding scaffolding costs and this price will vary upon location across the country, down south I expect it to be almost double. Of course for peace of mind you should look towards a Dulux Select Decorator with a two year guarantee and assessed work, but you knew that already!