Paint me a house all over

Paint me a house all over

Adding those colourful last touches to buildings inside and out requires both know-how and hard work


Ng Hiu-wah, a trainee of the Construction Industry Council Training Academy, shows his decorating skills.
Ng Hiu-wah, a trainee of the Construction Industry Council Training Academy, shows his decorating skills.
Photo: Nora Tam/SCMP
Ng Hiu-wah loves art. Although he is not working as an artist, he thinks doing painting work helps him show off his artistic talents. He chose to study the painting, decorating and sign-writing course offered by the Construction Industry Council (CIC).

Getting started:

CIC's painting, decorating and sign-writing course teaches students skills in decorating walls. They will learn how to prepare paints, how to paint walls and furniture, and how to stick wallpaper. There are many different types of paint and students are taught how to make use of the right kind on different materials. They need to pass the intermediate trade test.

Moving up:

Painters need to bring their own tools to work. Construction sites provide safety gear, but not tools. After gaining the intermediate trade test qualifications, you can work as an apprentice. An apprentice needs to have two years of working experience and must pass the certificate of trade test to become a qualified craftsman.

With five or more years of experience, a painter can move up to be a sub-contractor. The sub-contractor is in charge of a section of the painting works for a construction project, like painting walls or water pipes. The sub-contractor will lead a team of painters to complete the job.

Where to apply: Painters can choose to work at construction sites, take on renovation projects, or work for property management firms.

Race to the top:

Techniques and technology in paint work keep changing. Painters have to keep their skills and knowledge up to date. They also need to be hard-working at practising their craft: practice makes perfect. When painters work on household renovation projects, they need to present clients with ideas. They need good presentation skills.

Rewards and benefits:

Painters working for construction and renovation projects are employed on a freelance basis. They are paid a daily wage. With intermediate trade test qualifications you earn around HK$450 a day. Workers with certificate of trade test qualifications can earn up to HK$800 a day. Craftsmen working for property management companies are paid month wages of no less than HK$10,000.

A day in the life:

Painters at construction site work six days a week. They work from about 8.30am until 6pm. The work of painters involves both indoor and outdoor jobs. Sometimes they have to wear a safety belt for painting outer walls. Other times they work indoors, painting walls or furniture.


Emulsion paint:The most popular paint for walls and ceilings. It is easy to apply and can be washed away with water.

Lacquer: A super-shiny, high-gloss paint. It is used to paint wooden furniture and metal ware. It is oil-based and provides a durable finish.

Paint scraper: A tool that is commonly used by painters to scrape off existing layers of paint before they paint on a new layer.



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