Home Improvement Interior Design Property Tradesmen

A Few Useful Decorating and Tiling Tips


When planning a new build or an extension, it is easy to forget to account for the finishing touches, hiring a professional decorator or tiler can ensure that your new ex-tension looks professional, while it is possible to do the work yourself, you shouldn’t do DIY at the expense of the finished product, if in doubt spend a little money now on a professional and reap the rewards later as your well presented property increases in value.

So what does a Decorator do?

A decorator decorates; this isn’t simply a case of painting at all. Decorators are re-sponsible for rubbing down walls and filling all holes to create a smooth, even surface. The painting of wood should involve a primer, undercoating and gloss coating on all joinery. Walls should be given one ‘mist’ as well as one or two coats of paint and the ceiling will need to be painted with two coats of emulsion. A decorator should also take care to paint all external render and apply mastic sealant on the external edges of all joinery.

What does a Tiler do?

Much like a decorator, a tiler’s job sounds simple enough: they lay all floor and wall tiles, but in practise the skill needed to lay tiles successfully means that it is often better to hire a professional than to attempt a DIY job. A tiler should be able to identify the right adhesive to use with type of tiles being laid, they will lay all floor or wall tiles, complete the grouting and apply mastic sealant to adjoining edges with countertops and sanitary ware.

When can a Decorator start?

Decorators are there to complete the finishing touches, as such they should only be employed at the end of the building project. Before the scaffolding comes down the decorator can paint and stain the facia, barge and soffits and apply sealant to joinery on the exterior of the build, but the rest of the decorating cannot be done until all other tradesmen are finished. Painting should not be done until plasterboard is completely dry as painting on damp walls will trap moisture and cause problems later on. At a push the misting could be done whilst other workers were finishing up but top coats should not be applied until all work is done including the installation of electrical faceplates. Radiators should also be fitted to the wall and then taken down for decorating.

When can a Tiler start?

Floor tiles can be laid whenever the floor is ready and then covered while other work finishes up. Wall tiles on the other hand should not be done until in the kitchen until all work surfaces are in place and in a bathroom when all units have been plumbed into place.

What makes a good Decorator?

A good decorator should complete their tasks with diligence and care, all holes and cracks in walls should be filled in, rubbed smooth, then filled again. Similarly preparation is key with timber, it should be knotted and rubbed down before priming and painting, when staining wood they should rub the timber down in between coats. In order to achieve clean, professional lines, a good decorator will use masking tape on all edges and apply mastic sealant on all external joinery.

What makes a bad Decorator?

Preparation is key to good decorating, so if your decorator picks up a paintbrush straight away by wary! A bad decorator will not clean and dust before working – which will ultimately hinder the work as dust and dirt will stick to wet paint. If the paint is ap-plied too soon and surfaces have not been prepared properly the decorating job will be a poor one. Lastly if the paint is applied unevenly, is allowed to spill over the edges or there are marks in the paintwork then you are dealing with a bad decorator.

What makes a good Tiler?

A good tiler will know where to begin laying their tiles: for wall tiling this is from a fixed level just less than a tile’s height from the floor. They should use a spirit level to make sure the tiles are level and not use the floor or wall as a reference point and if applying around a bath, the bath should be filled with water before sealant is applied. Floor tiles should begin in the centre of room rather from one wall. In both wall and floor tiles the sealant should be smooth and even.

What makes a bad Tiler?

A bad tiler will begin tiling at the floor, the edge of the worktop or the edge of the wall rather than using a spirit level. A bad tiler will also use inappropriate adhesive for the type of tile apply grouting messy and unevenly. When cutting tiles for the edges, a bad tiler may leave gaps and opening in the corners.

Who provides the tools and materials in a decorating job?

Generally a decorator will need you to provide all ladders, paints, paint brushers, fillers and abrasives being used for the job, while they can advise you on what to buy, most decorators are labour-only.

When should I contact the Decorator?

Although work can’t begin until all work is finished it is important to contact your prospective decorator as soon as possible, potentially at the start of the build, this means that they will be ready to start as soon as the other work is done and you won’t be subject to frustrating delays in the completion of the project.

How much do Tilers and Decorators cost?

To hire a decorator you should budget £135 a day, most jobs can be done with one person but if they do need an assistant this will cost an extra £60-100 a day. This means that decorating a large four bedroom house will cost £5,5000, excluding tools and materials. When planning for wall tiles budget around £20 per metre squared in labour costs and £25 per metre squared for floor tiles.

With costs of a build easily rising beyond your expectation it is tempting to scrimp and save where possible, unfortunately, although there is lots of DIY potential when it comes to decorating, a badly done decorating job will devalue your property. If you are unsure about your own decorating ability then it is best to hire a professional tiler or decorator to ensure a job done well and a real monetary value is added to your home.