DIY Exterior house painting v professional house painting

Exterior painting & decorating


From avid DIYers searching for their next challenge to those keen on saving money, painting a house’s exterior walls can present itself as the perfect project. After all it’s just another DIY job, right? Surely, it can’t be all that different to painting the inside of a house?

Don’t be fooled. Painting your home’s exterior walls is not just another quick DIY job. It can be a lengthy, labour-intensive project. So whilst it may be cheaper to paint the outside of your house yourself, there is a lot more than cost to consider.

This ultimate guide aims to help you decide whether DIY exterior house painting is a job for you or whether a professional should undertake the exterior house painting for you.

why should i paint the outside of my house?

Painting your home’s exterior has many benefits.

  1. It can boost a property’s resale value. Repainting your home’s exterior can help to create a positive first impression for potential buyers and improve its value by around 2%.
  2. It can help your house stand out. If you’re keen to boost your home’s kerb appeal, giving its outside walls a fresh lick of paint, will certainly turn heads.
  3. Painting your home’s outside walls is more than an aesthetic indulgence. It can help to protect your property from the elements including the weather, layers of dust and insects.
  4. Repainting your home can highlight damage to the walls that may have escaped your notice, including mildew, water stains and mould.


The cost to repaint the outside of a house depends on many factors including:

  • the size of the house
  • the composition of the exterior walls
  • the age and condition of the exterior
  • the paint and tools you choose to use and
  • any additional equipment you need to hire.

Tackling the job yourself may well appeal to you when you consider the costs of hiring a professional painter, which on average can cost between £100 and £300 a day in the U.K, (although this can vary depending on where you live and whether you hire a sole trader or a company.)

However, whilst cutting out the cost of labour may seem a great money-saving idea, it’s worth noting the following:

  1. Painting the outside of your house is not a quick or straightforward process. You will need a range of tools and materials to ensure you do the job well and safely – and this can all add up.
  2. If through inexperience you buy the wrong materials or make a mistake, fixing the error could prove costly.
  3. It is possible that you could get injured whilst painting your house, especially when working at height.
DIY exterior house painting


Painting the outside of your home is a multi-step process and as with most painting jobs, preparation is key to a successful outcome.

Below are some top tips to consider:

Select the paint and your tools

Choosing your tools and materials involves careful decision making. You’ll need to think about repaint time, whether you’ll be using rollers, brushes or sprays and how much paint you’ll need.

And, as well as buying paint and brushes, you may also need to purchase filler and a knife, sandpaper, masonry primer, dust sheets, a pressure washer, caulk, masking tape, mortar patch, detergent, brush cleaners and sweeping brushes.


Before you pick up a paint brush, it’s really important that you prep an exterior wall for painting. You’ll need to check your surfaces for naturally occurring mould and mildew, flaking paint, and other dirt including mud, oil, stains and insects.

Cleaning walls can take time. If using a pressure washer on brick work, you’ll have to be very careful not to damage it. A sponge or soft brush could be used, but this takes longer.

Don’t forget that anything you don’t want painted (such as pipes) should be masked off and remember to build in time to thoroughly dry out the surfaces.

Repair any cracks

As you inspect your walls, pay attention to any loose or hollow rendering.

Bad rendering can lead to water seeping in, which could in turn encourage damp and mould. Wall filler can be used on rendered surfaces and mortar on brick work.

Remember to sand down the surfaces afterwards and vacuum the surface to get rid of any residual dust or powder.

Prime surfaces

Some porous surfaces such as wood and brick work will need to be primed before painting. A primer will penetrate the surface, fill any nooks and crannies and help the paint to adhere better.

Paint from the top down

You’re now ready to get painting! To prevent drips, start painting from the top down, using a brush to cut in and do the gables, soffits and fascias.

When tackling the walls you’ll need to decide what’s best for your exterior’s surface. If you have an uneven pebble-dashed surface, you might want to use a brush and dab the paint on, although this is time-consuming. Alternatively you could spray the paint on, but this will involve you hiring specialist equipment and learning how to use it.

Brushes or rollers can be used on rendered and brick surfaces, which are generally easier to paint.

Tidy up the outside of your house

With the outside of your house all spruced up, the surrounding area might look a little lack-lustre in comparison. You may want to think about smartening up your front or back garden, repairing your fences or repainting your garden walls.


The amount of time spent on painting the outside of a house is contingent on a number of factors including:

  • the size of the property
  • the condition and age of surfaces
  • the weather
  • your skill level and
  • the paint used.

Here are some rough guidelines for a professional painter:

  • Terraced house – front and back (3 days)
  • Bungalow (3-5 days)
  • Three storey terrace (4 days)
  • Three bed semi-detached (4 days)
  • Five or six bedroom detached house (5-8 days.)

If taking this project on yourself, you’ll need to think about building in some additional time for preparation (including drying time and re-coats) and inexperience. Exterior house painting whilst an enormously satisfying accomplishment, is one that takes time and could impinge on your family, personal and work life.


The weather in the U.K. is not always our friend and can be very temperamental. Unfortunately, we need it to play ball if we want our painting project to turn out successfully.

If it’s too hot, paint can peel and show up the brush strokes. In addition, working in hot conditions leaves us at risk of dehydrating or succumbing to sunstroke.

Painting in humid weather is also not advised. As well as being uncomfortable to work in, paint dries best when the air is dry.

If the weather is too cold, the paint can crack or stain due to the appearance of mildew and if it’s wet the rain will ruin the application of the paint and jeopardise its finish.

Summer and early autumn are generally considered to be the best times of year to paint outdoors. Try to pick a dry, cloudy day, so that the paint can be applied and dry at a constant temperature.

For more information on the impact of weather conditions on painting and decorating outside, check out this blog from Promain UK Ltd, the U.K’s largest industrial paint distributor.


Painting your home’s exterior is not for the faint-hearted. It involves climbing and negotiating heights and it requires you to have good balance and be in decent physical condition.

Therefore if you know that you tire easily or that you struggle with your health, consider passing this project on to the professionals. Hiring an insured painter and decorator means that they’re taking all the risk instead of you and that if something goes wrong, they’re covered.

If however, you decide you’re capable of tackling the job yourself, it’s imperative that you put in place equipment that will safeguard you from injury and one of the safest options available to you is scaffolding.


Hiring scaffolding can cost anything between £40 to £150 or more a day.

Although this may seem an extravagance and one that you may not have budgeted for, as a secured structure, it really is one of the safest options when painting at height and in potentially changeable weather conditions.

It’s also a real time-saver, as there’s no need to hop up and down it or move it about as you would have to do with ladders. Scaffolding will enable you to tackle hard to reach areas accurately and with ease. With your paint tin and brush next to you, you’ll find the whole job a lot less strenuous.

It’s worth noting, having worked in the decorating business for years, we’ve built up good relationships with local scaffolding supply companies and can arrange competitively priced scaffolding for your projects.

Can I paint the outside of my house without scaffolding?

If you decide that scaffolding is not something you want to consider, we would highly recommend sourcing alternative equipment to help you work at height safely. 

Fortunately, there are several options available to you:

1. Ladders

Ladders are by far the most convenient and affordable option. However, the downside is they’re time consuming to use and can be dangerous. Not only do you have to continually move the ladder to where you want it to be, but if the ground is uneven, you’re at risk of falling.

In 2010, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) published statistics for DIY related injuries. Ladder and step ladder injuries accounted for 41,000 hospital visits – some of which resulted in serious injury and even death.

2. Extension poles

An extension pole is a risk-free alternative that enables you to keep your feet firmly on the ground whilst getting to those hard-to-reach areas. It’s both affordable and customisable, meaning it can be adjusted to a height that suits you.

However prolonged use can lead to neck pain as you’ll primarily be looking upwards whilst using it. The pole can also be tricky to control, meaning you may not be as accurate as you’d like.

3. Mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs)

MEWPs are secure aerial work platforms that provide quick and safe access to areas that are off the ground. However, MEWPs are costly to hire and you would also need to pay for a skilled operator to use it. Use of one is also contingent on favourable weather conditions.

In addition to the risk of falling from height, other health risks include exposure to toxic paint fumes, paint dripping in your eyes and dust inhalation. Therefore you may wish to consider other safety equipment including a dust mask, eye-shields or safety goggles and coveralls.


Painting the outside of your home is a major commitment and before undertaking it, you’ll need to carefully weigh up the following:

  • the amount of preparation involved
  • your skill, knowledge and ability levels
  • the costs involved
  • the duration of the project
  • weather conditions and
  • health and safety considerations.

Whilst some may relish the challenge, if you have little or no experience of exterior house-painting or if you lack the confidence to undertake such a substantial project, it’s best to leave it to a professional.

It’ll be more efficient

A professional will specify a timescale and work to it, meaning they’ll be in and out quickly and cause minimal disruption to you and your family.

It’ll be done to a higher standard

A professional has the skills, experience and specialist tools to do a top job. This means no dried paint drips on the wall and no unwanted paint on your home’s pipes, plants or driveway. However prepared you are and however carefully you try to paint you’re bound to make some mistakes, which could be costly and time-consuming to rectify.

It’ll be less stressful

Calling in a painting contractor to paint the outside of your house is a safe and stress free option. You won’t be placing yourself at risk, you won’t have to worry about sourcing the right tools and equipment and you’ll be freeing up your time to do the things you love.

Want us to paint the outside of your house in Cheltenham? Get in touch with more details about your project.

If you’re keen to know more about us and our trusted services, check out this link Painters and Decorators in Cheltenham.


  • Painting the outside of your home has many advantages including increasing your home’s resale value, improving its kerb appeal, repairing damage and protecting it from the elements.
  • However it’s a complex, lengthy and risky process, which requires careful decision making and ample preparation time
  • If you lack the experience, time or skills to paint the outside of your home or you’re simply daunted by the prospect it’s worth contacting a professional painter to see if they can do it for you.


How much does it cost to paint the outside of a house?

The cost of painting a house depends on many factors including the size, age and condition of your property, the painter you hire (if you choose to hire one) and the quality of the materials used. You may also need to budget for additional costs such as scaffolding.

What order do you paint the exterior of a house?

Painting the outside of your home is an involved process. First, you’ll need to select your paint and equipment, then clean and prepare the surfaces. Next, you’ll need to repair any cracks and prime any surfaces before starting to paint from the top down.

How often should the outside of a house be painted in the U.K?

Painting the outside of your home is an involved process. First, you’ll need to select your paint and equipment, then clean and prepare the surfaces. Next, you’ll need to repair any cracks and prime any surfaces before starting to paint from the top down.

What order do you paint the exterior of a house?

Painting the outside of your home is an involved process. First, you’ll need to select your paint and equipment, then clean and prepare the surfaces. Next, you’ll need to repair any cracks and prime any surfaces before starting to paint from the top down.