Painter and Decorator
Painters and decorators apply decorative and protective finishes in residential, commercial, institutional and industrial settings. They prepare a variety of surfaces (wood, masonry, drywall, plaster, concrete, synthetics, stucco and metal) prior to the application of materials such as paint, high performance coatings, waterproofing, fireproofing, varnish, shellac, wall coverings and specialty finishes. These materials are applied for a variety of reasons such as protection, decoration, sanitation, identification and safety.
Painters and decorators are employed by construction companies, painting contractors or building maintenance contractors, or they are self-employed. They work on residential, commercial, institutional and industrial projects. Some painters and decorators may work for years on a single site; others may work for contractors that rarely work on the same site more than once.
Painters and decorators may come in contact with hazardous materials such as isocyanates, free silica, lead, volatile organic compounds (VOC) and at times, carcinogenic materials. They may work with some physical discomfort when preparing surfaces or applying coatings in awkward positions. Painters and decorators may work indoors and outdoors. They also may risk injury from falling off access equipment such as ladders, platforms, scaffolds and swing stages.
Key attributes for people entering this trade are manual dexterity, excellent colour perception and artistic aptitude. The work often requires considerable standing, kneeling and repetitive activities such as brushing, rolling, spraying and blasting. Painters and decorators must have an eye for detail, the ability to plan work, and knowledge of many types of finishes, their properties and their applications. They must be able to calculate areas and relate such calculations to required material. Good communication and customer service skills are required by painters and decorators who often interact with home/business owners, contractors, interior designers, architects and engineers. Experienced painters and decorators may advance to supervisory positions for painting contractors or in other related fields such as construction management, instructing, estimating or building inspection.