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.
The following guidelines will set you up for success. First, start at the top and work down. Second, paint out of the sun’s glare, since the sun will cause the paint to dry too quickly and flake or blister. To avoid marks, try to brush from one wet surface onto another. If you do have to paint onto a dry surface, overlap the wet paint onto the dry surface by several inches.
A more user-friendly option is a water-based “latex” paint, which blends acrylic pigments with a thin base for easy application with a brush or paint sprayer. Although many water-based interior paints are promoted as one-coat wonders, there can still be a need for an initial primer coat followed by one or two coats of latex paint. Water-based paints are very low in VOCs, which means minimal odors during the drying period. Most spills can be wiped away without the need for chemical cleaners, and clothing containing latex paint can be laundered in water and detergent. Water-based paint is a good choice for first-time DIYers and their younger assistants.
Oil-based paint is commonly used for high-moisture areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens, and floors, trims, and moldings, since these areas take more abuse over time than walls do. Typically oil-based paints are less expensive than latex paints, take longer to dry, can create bad odor while drying, and contain more volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which essentially means they're less environmentally friendly.
Some siding on older homes might need so much repair that it is more cost-effective to replace the siding rather than repair it all and then paint over it. Expect to pay between $1,550 and $3,050 for the removal and disposal of old siding and $4,000 to $14,000 for new siding and installation. Expect to pay more if the wood underneath is wet and rotten and needs structural repair work.
A single gallon of paint can run anywhere from $20 to $80 per gallon. Professionals get a contractor discount of anywhere from 25 to 50 percent. For rough siding, like stucco, you’ll need to use 10% to 20% more paint. Some textures, like wood and stucco, require extra paint because they have more surface to cover in a tiny area compared to smooth siding. Use the highest quality exterior paint your budget will allow for your project. It will look the nicest and save you money by offering better coverage and durability. Better coverage means fewer coats and fewer work hours. You’ll also go a few years longer without needing to shell out more cash for a new coat. How do you know how much paint you're paying for? Here's some helpful math: