Poor Standard of Decorating on a New Build House

Updated May 18, 2024 | Posted Jan 18, 2023 | Professional insight, Miscellaneous | 10 comments

The harsh reality of a £300k house completed and passed by the company selling it. We are coming across this more and more.

No primer anywhere, excessive use of caulk and silicone, terrible plaster finish and even worse decorating! There is paint on all new wood wardrobes, kitchen and door fittings. The list goes on and on. This really is a poor standard of decorating, and not what you should get with a new build house.

This customer and his family are currently in a hotel. The stress caused has brought his wife to tears.

The snag report from the firm is basically stating that they were going to botch the already botched work and are expecting the customer to wait weeks before any work starts.


We are a private decorating firm. This isn’t our work, but we have been contracted to do a complete redecoration of the house. We are having to rip everything off the walls, skirts etc. Unfortunately at the customer’s expense.

How is this acceptable at all? Surely there must be some sort of government policy that has to get put in place.

The pictures below are but a few we had over 300 snags in total.

Poor Standard of Decorating on a New Build House

Rectified byPristine Painting & Decorating LTD

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poor standard of decorating in a new build house
decorating in a new house

Poor Standard of Decorating on a Rented House


Its very rare I would call another decorator out on his work. None of us are perfect. Well I live in a rented property and they are all having the fascia, soffit and porches painted. I came home to this last night (see photos).

Last night I sent the photos to the contracts officer and the site foreman, (turns out site foreman and brush hand are same person 🤣).  This morning the “painter” is up his ladder next door “cleaning” the fascia and gutter with a dirty rag in the rain. So I had a rant about sanding down, proper prep and even offered to give him some 80 grit and a dusting brush.

He told me he had sanded it all down and I should of seen it before. I told him it’s not what it looked like before, its the quality of the prep and the finish that counts. Apparently, someone is coming from the office to see me in the week 🤣🤣

I feel bad for pulling the bloke, but I’m a decorator myself and poor decorating on my own home would be very hard to live with!! I hope you guys on the Forum can understand.

Maybe I’m being too harsh because I’m a decorator myself, but I can’t live with poor decorating to my own house when I spend my professional career as a perfectionist in other peoples’ homes. I also don’t want to kick up too much of a fuss, I understand landlords work to a budget.

I’ll see where we are after we’ve been through the complaints process, but I may just end up doing the decorating myself.

Exterior fascia boards and soffits painted without any prep. No sanding or filling

Chris Burr

Updated May 18, 2024 | Posted Jan 18, 2023 | 10 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.


  1. Richard

    Why am I not surprised?! Seen the work of such clowns in a job we did for a house only 2yrs after they’d moved in to their ‘brand new’ home. I refuse to work in the building industry in it’s current form, greed well above any idea of quality — I know as I’ve worked in it and witnessed said clowns — not just in P&D either! Get in, get paid, get out, repeat.

    • Kevin Robinson

      Totally agree with your statement, but having worked on new build and private properties as a self employed painter and decorator I can honestly say it’s a top down issue especially in regards to money 1st , time frame 2nd and pride in the job last. No true tradesman wants to leave a terrible Finnish, however after been a P & D supervisor it’s a ongoing battle for the property to be passed to us in a clean and complete plot. All other trades have had to rush, comprise and we’re left to not only fill our contract but to put righ plastering, joinery, damages , etc which by right should be extra and time allocated but it never works out that way. Money, money, money and time are there priority s. So we get the shit wages and no respect

  2. Richard

    The problem is the mass housebuilders won’t pay decent money and just want units bashed out at full speed, combine that with the skills shortage and sales targets their backs are against the wall
    The money can be screwed down.

    In a £300k house painters not even get £3k which is 1 % of sales price house.

    It needs to be either that or full time snagger on site paid decent money to fix these problems.

    Always remember the volume housebuilders profit % margin is protected they have financial experts telling them how to maintain that % margin.

    That said l was always taught ,a first decor with contact matt IS a first decor.

    After 12/ 24 months once cracks settled shrinking complete then people should then pay own decent decorator to decorate.

    I think high prices homes and trades this has stopped and people expect a 100% job from day 1 from the builder , sadly it’s not always going to happen.

  3. richard whatmough

    It’s very easy to come in to a new house and snag the work of a subby who’s probably worked his nuts off for not that great a wage. New houses can be build in the winter with no heating or lighting so the plasterers have a nightmare getting stuff finished. Sockets and pipe work are often patched with plaster not easifill so the finish is terrible. Conditions can be below 5 so masking tape won’t even stick to surfaces to cover them up. And other trades are constantly changing things or plots are not even finished at time of decoration.

    • Martin

      Fair point, if site agents concentrated on visual inspection rather than sitting on a laptop and taking others at their word that jobs are completed. Plot painters get bare minimum for plots and as you pointed out have ridiculous time frames and conditions to work with.
      But building companies pay multi trades and customer care painters a lot more to put things right . Don’t see the sense in this.

  4. Martin

    Seen it all and worse
    Feel sorry for purchasers and really don’t understand how these standards get past inspection!
    Then owner’s have to wait months or more because there are so many to put right

  5. Tom

    Dame that’s not funny or acceptable.. even a refurbish wouldn’t be finished like that. customer must be unhappy..
    that’s who we cater to. and then there’s your name.. dint think I would use them again..

  6. Richard

    What do you expect if “painters” are rushing because they don’t get enough money, I’ve been snagging this kind of jobs, where a company payed £550 for painting_decorating two bed house, (new build, West Midlands) it’s a joke and complete disaster. Paying peanuts, getting monkey.

  7. Stella

    I’m a professional lady painter and decorator and have recently bought a new house built by Allison Homes , the standard of decorating is unbelievably appalling , I ended up Sanding all the woodwork down myself and repainting because I just didn’t trust Allison Homes to come back in as they did offer to paint it again , I have spoken to other residents here who did have Allison Homes back in and it ended up looking worse than before causing a lot of stress , the whole estate has had many problems with leaks , plastering , walls that aren’t straight , mould , too many problems to mention , it’s like others have said all about money and getting the houses built and sold as quickly as possible

  8. Simon

    Even on luxury builds, standards are low. I dont expect paintwork to be the finished product, what I do expect is not having globs of paint, dried paint in paint, corners clearly thrown in massive brush loads, paint brush marks around edges you could run a train on. Meaning I have to spend more time and money to sand and fix.

    If the mist coats are this bad, I’d not want them to finish.


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