How to become a Painter and Decorator

Painters and decorators apply paint, varnish, wallpaper and other finishes to protect, maintain and decorate interior and exterior surfaces of domestic, commercial and industrial buildings and other structures. Painters and decorators may concentrate on a specific area of work, such as the internal or external painting of domestic homes, commercial buildings, industrial structures and equipment. They may also concentrate exclusively on restoration work.

Personal requirements for a Painter and Decorator

  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • Able to work at heights
  • Enjoy practical work
  • Good hand-eye coordination
  • Normal colour vision
  • Good sense of balance
  • Able to work independently or as part of a team

Education & Training for a Painter and Decorator

To become a painter and decorator you usually have to complete an apprenticeship. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.


Duties & Tasks of a Painter and Decorator

Painters and decorators:

  • Determine the quantity of materials needed for the job by taking surface measurements or by looking at job specifications or drawings
  • Remove old paint or paper using sanders, scrapers, heat guns, liquid paint removers and steam strippers as appropriate
  • Prepare surfaces by fixing woodwork; filling or sealing holes, cracks and joints; and washing them down using high pressure wash systems to remove dust and grease
  • Select and prepare paints to match colours by adding tinters
  • Brush, roll or spray paints, stains, varnishes and other finishes
  • When wallpapering, set out the area according to the pattern match and starting point in the room, cut the paper to the appropriate length, apply paste to the back of each strip and hang the paper on the wall, smoothing out any wrinkles or bubbles
  • Spray paint surfaces using a spray gun or specialised equipment
  • Apply decorative paint finishes such as stencils, colour glaze, graining, marbling and lettering, gold leaf and texture finishes
  • Wash equipment and clean work areas.

Tasks

  • Cleaning equipment and work areas.
  • Applying paints, varnishes and stains to surfaces using brushes, rollers and sprays.
  • May lay and repair wall and floor tiles.
  • Hanging wallpaper, matching patterns and trimming edges.
  • Selecting and preparing paints to required colours by mixing portions of pigment, oil, and thinning and drying additives.
  • Erecting scaffolding and ladders, and placing drop sheets to protect adjacent areas from paint splattering.
  • Preparing surfaces by removing old paint and wallpaper, fixing woodwork, filling holes and cracks, and smoothing and sealing surfaces.
  • May repair windows and replace glass in wooden and metal frames.

Working conditions for a Painter and Decorator

Due to occupational health and safety laws, most painters work from elevated work platforms or built-up scaffolds erected by qualified personnel. They have to do a lot of bending and stretching.


Employment Opportunities for a Painter and Decorator

Painters and decorators are usually employed by painting and decorating contracting firms, or are self-employed contractors. Some work for government agencies concerned with public works, housing and railways. Advancement to supervisory positions, technical training or sales work is possible. Opportunities for painters mainly depend on the level of building and renovation activity.


Specializations

Painter and Decorator

Painters and decorators apply paint, varnish, wallpaper and other finishes to protect, maintain and decorate interior and exterior surfaces of domestic, commercial and industrial buildings and other structures. Painters and decorators may concentrate on a specific area of work, such as the internal or external painting of domestic homes, commercial buildings, industrial structures and equipment. They may also concentrate exclusively on restoration work.

  • Average age
    Average age
    42 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Moderate
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    4% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    43 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $1,371
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Medium skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Average unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    76% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    51,300 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 1.4%
    NSW: 29.7%
    NT: 0.9%
    QLD: 23.4%
    SA: 6.5%
    TAS: 2.0%
    VIC: 25.2%
    WA: 10.8%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 2.9%
    20-24: 8.8%
    25-34: 22.9%
    35-44: 22.5%
    45-54: 22.9%
    55-59: 9.8%
    60-64: 6.9%
    65 and Over: 3.4%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 4.1%
    Bachelor degree: 3%
    Below Year 10: 12.3%
    Certificate III/IV: 57.5%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 0.7%
    Year 10 and below: 16.7%
    Year 11: 4.5%
    Year 12: 13.5%
    Years 11 & 10: 13.7%
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