A successful commercial painter and decorator is someone with an eye for colour and detail, is adept at working with their hands, comfortable with heights, and versed in precise and creative work.

Painters and decorators apply paint, wallpaper, and other finishes to interior and exterior surfaces of residential and commercial buildings and other structures. Usually employed by construction companies, painting contractors and building maintenance departments, they can also be self-employed.

Main Responsibilities of a Commercial Painter and Decorator


  • Review specifications to determine quantities of materials required.
  • Prepare and clean surfaces using methods such as scraping, sanding, sand-blasting, hydro-blasting and steam-cleaning.
  • Remove old wallpaper and loose paint; repair cracks and holes in walls, and apply sealer.
  • Mix and thin paint to obtain desired colour and texture.


  • Apply paint or other materials, such as stains, lacquer, enamel, oil, varnish, fibreglass, metal coating or fire retardant using brushes, rollers or spray equipment.
  • Measure, cut and apply wallpaper or fabric to walls.
  • Assemble and erect scaffolding and swing gates.

Customer Care:

  • Advise customer on selection of colour schemes and choice of wall coverings.
  • Provide cost estimates to clients.

Future Opportunities for Commercial Painters and Decorators

The minimum entry for a painter apprenticeship is Grade 10 and proof of a minimum of 16 credits. After the completion of a 6,000-hour apprenticeship program, designated painters and decorators can work as journeypersons for small, medium, and large companies in the residential, commercial and institutional sectors or indirectly for those companies through contractors. Commercial painters and decorators can also work in union and non-union environments, as well as own their own business.

The Commercial Painter and Decorator Apprenticeship program at the Finishing Trades Institute of Ontario can lead to an exciting and fulfilling new career. The Painter Decorator 404C at FTI is also a Red Seal Trade.

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