Cost of having your Exterior Walls Painted

All you need to know about having your exterior walls painted including costs of materials, costs of labour and time frames.

exterior walls painted

What the job entails

A typical exterior paint job will involve scraping, brushing and cleaning exterior walls. Followed by a moss preventative coating and at least two coats of good quality masonry paint. However, if you are thinking about painting the brick exterior of your home for the very first time, you need to think about the implications long term. Once painted, you will need to get the walls repainted every 10 years to keep them looking good. Whereas the bricks will last centuries with little weathering!

If the painting is not strictly necessary, then you may be better off leaving your brickwork as is. That being said, if your bricks have already been painted or you are rendered/pebble-dashed, then they will need painting every 10 years to avoid looking grimy and shabby. But consider that if you paint a brick wall that has not been painted before, it is a permanent finish and you can't easily remove it once it has been applied - once you start there is no going back! You may instead consider a clear weatherproof wall coating which will stabilise the surface and restore the bricks without changing the appearance. Painted exterior brick tends to polarize opinions too, some love it, others will hate it - this is something to consider when it comes to selling your property in the future.

If you are having the exterior walls of your home painted to improve the appearance, then don't forget any exterior timber such as windows, doors, fascia, soffit and barge boards. Also check the condition of the exterior render, if it is crumbling or patchy, you may need to have it repaired or even completely replaced. If the exterior is plain bricks, check the pointing before painting and have it re-pointed as necessary.

A lot of the work involved with exterior painting is preparing the surfaces for painting. Any loose paint will need to be scraped/brushed off along with any dust and cobwebs. The walls will then need to be washed and a mould/algae killer applied if required. Then any minor cement repairs to rendering/pointing will need to be taken care of. Next stabilizer needs to be applied to the bare surfaces before applying the paint 2-3 coats depending on the surface. If possible, have the painting done in the spring, summer or autumn, during dry and warm weather. Any external painting done in winter will take much longer just for the coats of paint to dry properly.

Pebble dash walls cost more to paint as they take longer and require more paint, taking anything up to twice as long to paint a pebble dash wall as a smooth wall. This will of course be reflected in the quotation. Smooth surfaces are easy to paint as they can be done with a roller covering a wide area quickly, whereas pebble dashed walls require a brush which needs to be dabbed into the walls to ensure the paint is applied evenly. Rollers don't work so well on rough surfaces like pebble dash so it takes much longer to paint those walls using brushes. Location will affect the price too, the cost of living varies around the country and this is reflected on the quotations supplied by tradesman. For example, a quote for painting a home in London will be more expensive that a home in Leeds.

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Painting Exterior Walls Cost

The price for having a tradesman paint your external walls can vary quite a bit depending on the size of your house and the type of finish your walls have. If you have pebble-dash walls then it could take up to twice as long to paint and more paint will be required.

Painters and decorators usually charge around £150 per day in labour and for a 3-bed semi detached house you're looking at around 4-5 days to complete the job.

Here are a few average costs for hiring someone to paint your external walls:

House Type Wall Finish Avg. Cost Duration
Terraced Smooth £650 3-4 days
Semi-detached Smooth £750 4-5 days
Detached Smooth £850 5-6 days
Terraced Pebble-Dash £850 5-6 days
Semi-detached Pebble-Dash £1000 7-8 days
Detached Pebble-Dash £1100 8-9 days


Cost Breakdown

Individual costs for hiring a tradesman to paint all the external walls of a 3 bed semi-detached house - Total Cost: £750

20%

Materials
£150

80%

Tradesmen
£600

0%

Waste Removal
£0

FAQ's

If you are buying the paint yourself, then quality does matter. Most professionals will use highly regarded exterior paints such as Dulux Weathershield as the exterior of your house is not an area where you will want to skimp and use cheaper paints. Cheap paints just mean you'll only be repainting the house again in just a few years time, rather than the 8-10 years you will get from a quality paint - so cheaper paint will cost you more in the long-term, as the labour not the paint is the biggest cost factor. make sure that whatever paint you choose has a fungicide built-in to prevent moss/mould from growing on the wall.

Most manufacturers claim a wall coverage of up to 15 square metres per 1 litre of paint. But if you are painting pebble dash or an unpainted surface for the first time expect to get less than half that coverage. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that the choice of paint is a matter of budget because exterior masonry paints are all the same! There are water based paints, oil based masonry paints, mineral paints and rubber based paints to choose from. So the choice of paint will depend on the type of wall surface and whether it has been painted in the past.

Most exterior walls will be plain brick or stone or finished with some kind of cement based render, however older properties may have a lime based render finish so a traditional Limewash paint is ideal (a paint made from lime powder and water together with a colourant). If your house was built before 1914, it is likely the walls are solid with no cavity so you must use breathable paint that is vapour permeable so damp won't get trapped in the walls. Dulux Weathershield and Sandtex are quality breathable masonry paints.
Costs will of course vary depending on a number of factors, but for a typical semi-detached house with three smooth walls to paint that have already been painted before so only require one stabilizer and two top coats, is around £1000, whereas the same house with pebble dashed walls will cost from £1200 and upwards. This price will not include any specialised scaffold/access equipment, but will include minor cement repairs, all the preparation work and two coats of good quality masonry paint.
Expect around 4 to 6 days if painting in the Spring or Summer and the exterior is in good condition. The job will take longer if there are lots of cement repairs that need doing or if the weather is damp.