Exterior Painting Edinburgh

In Edinburgh exterior painting is a summer job

For exterior painting in Edinburgh HomeForce provides reliable decorators fast. Call us now: – 0131 315 0000

However, be aware, that most Edinburgh decorators only tackle outdoor painting work between April & October. This article explains why.

Also included are tips for exterior painting that are specific to Edinburgh. Finally, we’ve provided a little price guidance for common outdoor painting jobs.

Our intention is to help Edinburgh residents planning exterior painting jobs at any time of the year.

Why is exterior painting in Edinburgh best done from April to October?

The obvious answer is, of course, “the weather”. However, there is more to it than just not wanting to be painting outside when it’s raining.

It is, in fact, a case of the “wrong weather” for external painting:

  • Rain
    • Rain “stops play” for outdoor painting. This is also the case if it is going to rain soon after external paint is applied.
    • Up to 24 hours is required for external paint such as Dulux’s Weathershield to dry.
    • If rain falls on the paint while it is still wet it will, at best, affect the longevity of the finish. It is also likely to leave water marks on the paint.
    • The warranty for Weathershield High Gloss Exterior paint is 8 years. This is invalidated if rain falls on it within the drying period.
    • Dulux Weathershield Masonry paint is “Shower Resistant” after 30 minutes, but note that is “Shower” – not heavy persistent rain – and “resistant” – not “proof”
  • Low Temperatures
    • Dulux specify that their Weathershield High Gloss Paint should “Not be used” in temperatures below 5 degrees centigrade.
    • This again applies not only to the time of application but to the drying period afterwards.
    • The consequenses of applying external paint in low temperatures are much the same as for rain; poor quality finish, reduced longevity, high chance of flaking.
    • Also note that drying times for external painting will be considerably extended in colder weather.
    • This also means a longer gap between coats – which is a logistical headache for decorators (See Below).
  • High Humidity
    • A typical Edinburgh autumn / early winter morning is low temperatures and high humidity.
    • In these conditions condensation often appears on the exterior painted surfaces.
    • If the paint is not dry or still drying the moisture from the condensation get’s in and causes it to flake.
    • Click Here to read more of the technical do’s & don’ts of Dulux Paints.

The Decorator’s scheduling challenge for Exterior Painting

External painting in Edinburgh presents a particular challenge for decorators. Particularly in winter.

  • If the sun is out now but it’s going to rain later they can’t do outdoor painting. Even though the customer sees the sun out and want’s the work done.
  • The same applies if temperature or humidity levels are going to fluctuate outside of tolerances for external painting.
  • Painters are mostly self employed, they only earn money when they are working. They can’t sit around waiting for the perfect day for exterior painting. Work that is not weather dependant needs to be scheduled.
  • However, if they are mid way through an internal job and the weather turns to be just right for external painting it’s difficult to just drop everything at the internal job. What would the customer of the internal job think?!
  • They also have to consider that by the time they’ve packed up, driven across town and got set up for the external work the weather may have changed again.
  • And to go back to the “being self employed” they simply can’t afford the down time of packing up and driving across Edinburgh again and again.
  • Further more, and to add insult too injury, some external painting jobs (for example fences) are best done when there isn’t a blazing sun.

In summary why Edinburgh decorators do exterior painting between April and October is that it reduces the chances of:

  • Days lost due to weather.
  • External painting being damaged by weather and so damaging the painter’s reputation.
  • Scheduling issues that can lead to unhappy customers.

Five tips for exterior painting in Edinburgh

  1. Source quotes for outside painting jobs in the winter and early spring.
    • Waiting until September to get quotes and thinking “I must get that painted before winter sets in” might mean that it won’t get done until the following year. By which time it may be a bigger, more expensive job.
    • Winter (except for the run up to Christmas) is usually a quieter time for decorators so they have more time to quote.
    • It leaves plenty of time to schedule the work and avoid the decorators scheduling conundrums outlined above.
  2. Preparation is key
    • For any decoration or painting job this is the case (see more here) but in particular for external painting where any short cuts are exposed to and by the elements.
    • Expect from 60 to 80 percent of the labour time for outdoor painting to be taken up by torching, scrapping, sanding, filling & stripping.
    • Customers are often surprised by the cost of external painting for relatively small areas. This is due to the amount of preparation required.
  3. Prime and Caulk
    • Ok, these are two different aspects of the job but they are often over looked by DIYers and less skilled decorators.
    • Apply a primer to bare wood to ensure the top coats stick and don’t flake.
    • Caulk gaps to add an extra layer of protection to joints that are most susceptible to water preparation.
  4. Know the Rules
    • Edinburgh Old Town and New Town are world heritage sites.
    • As such rules apply to what can and can’t be painted, what colours are to be used and how things are to be painted.
    • See here for more.
  5. Buy the right paint
    • Painting and particular external painting is more of a science than you might think.
    • Take time to read the technical details of paints to make sure you get what’s right for the job.
    • Sure, B&Q sell lots of paint but you might get better advice and a broader range to choose from at the likes of The Paint Shed
    • Or just leave it up to your chosen decorator.

Costs for exterior painting in Edinburgh

Naturally every job is different so it’s impossible to say what a cost would be without the requirement being looked at by a professional decorator. However, we always try – and we like to think we sometimes succeed – to be helpful so here are some costs and descriptions or recent outdoor painting jobs in Edinburgh.

Please be aware though that the cost of your job, even though it sounds similar, could be considerably less or more. The main factors affecting the price will include; accessibility, how previous paint was applied (in effect correctly or incorrectly) the condition of the existing paint, the condition of the material to be painted and any changes to colour or stain.


  • Exterior of front door, 4 windows & ledges
  • Burn off all existing paint, sand, fill & prepare
  • Prime, undercoat & top coat
  • Includes all materials & parking


  • Exterior and Interior of 3 windows. Exterior or 1 door
  • Sand, fill & prepare.
  • Undercoat & top coat only
  • Includes all materials & parking


  • 3m cast balcony railings
  • Scrape, brush & sand
  • Prime, touch up bare metal
  • Apply undercoat & top coat


  • 25m of panel fence
  • 2 days labour
  • Excluding materials (supplied by customer)

Find an Edinburgh Decorator fast external painting work: