Staining a deck costs $540 to $1,000. Covered porches might hit $2,000. Consider negotiating the price a bit lower by combining it with a full exterior job. Painting handrails can run anywhere from $1 to $2 per linear foot, depending on whether it’s wood, metal or some other material. Although you might think this is an easy $30 to $100 job, most painters charge a minimum fee regardless of the size of the project. You’ll probably end up paying at least $150.
Practicing ladder safety is key. When using an extension ladder, always test that its resting at the right angle by putting your toes against the feet of the ladder and extend your arms outwards. At the proper angle, you should be able to rest your hands on the rung in front of you comfortably. When on a ladder, you should always keep your hands free and maintain a steady center of gravity.
While some professional painters will charge a flat fee for a painting project, most charge an hourly rate—about $25 to $100 per hour on average. Most painters will charge more for last-minute jobs (think 48 hours' notice or less), travel costs (if you live far away, the painter may want extra money for gas), or intensive prep work (e.g., removing mold or stains before painting). Also, depending on the painter, the rate may or may not include the cost of paint materials such as paint, primer, and supplies.

Latex paint refers to water-based paint, the most popular and environmentally friendly paint. Since latex paints provide great color retention, they’re ideal for exterior walls that face a lot of weathering. Latex paints are also a good option for interior walls that are subjected to a lot of moisture, such as bathrooms and laundry rooms. Additionally, latex paints dry faster than oil-based alternatives and produce fewer odors.


High-gloss paint is the most durable and easiest to clean of all paint sheens. It's ultra-shiny, light-reflective, and hard (think appliance-paint tough). High-glass paint has too much shine for interior walls; you'd find the reflections and drywall flaws distracting. It is a good choice for areas that sticky fingers touch, though, such as cabinets, trim, and doors.
In addition, paint features such as mold and mildew resistance are important cost factors. Many mold-inhibiting bathroom paints, for instance, cost substantially more than ordinary latex-acrylic paint—sometimes close to twice the cost. Also, paints that come with warranties from the manufacturer may be more expensive depending on the length of the warranty. (A two-year warranty is standard.)

Most of a projects price is the cost of labor at $25 to $75 per hour. However, most contractors bid out based on the entire project which includes all work hours. Hourly rates are only useful if your pro asks to do the job as “time and materials.” However, be wary of this pricing structure, it usually shows the contractor is uncertain how long the project will take.

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