It was, like, $100 per step!
August 31, 2008 9:52 PM   Subscribe

How much does it usually cost to paint a three-story fire-escape-style metal staircase?

Recently, painters were hired to paint the staircases at my condo. There are two of them, and they both go three stories, and have small wooden landing at each story. The painters also put some waterproofing stain on the landings in addition to painting the metal staircases.

The cost for this? $7,000.

That seems really high, but then, I know nothing about the staircase painting market. Is that the going rate?
posted by ignignokt to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
Best answer: If they're metal, was any rust removal and inhibition included? It's very tedious to get rid of existing rust. The easy way out is to encapsulate it using naval jelly or anti-rust paint. But that can be unattractive and doesn't always prevent further corrosion. The safest way to do it is to laboriously remove the rust using wire brushes (drill attachments and manual for small spaces). Since I've been doing this stage by stage to a set of scaffolding this summer, I'd say conservatively to expect four to five times the labor.
posted by dhartung at 10:29 PM on August 31, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for your perspective! This was what I was hoping for.

There was some rust, and I did see some power washing. Maybe that was what they used to remove the rust. I'll inquire further about it.

I'm not sure what you mean by "four or five times the labor." What would the base labor rate be?
posted by ignignokt at 10:36 PM on August 31, 2008

Best answer: I recently finished re-painting the 3-story fire escape of the 3 floor building that we own. Including removing lots of rust, one coat of primer and two coats of anti-rust paint it took me about 90 hours. It wasn't an easy paint job; lots of small nooks and crannies and part of the work was done hanging in a climbing harnass, because it was really hard to reach with ladders.

If I had paid myself an hourly rate of $40 that would have resulted in a $4000 (including taxes) job. So $7000 seems a little steep to me, no pun intended.
posted by maremare at 10:52 PM on August 31, 2008

He has two of them, three story porches, so maybe the price is not that bad.
posted by lee at 11:15 PM on August 31, 2008

Response by poster: Ah. I can see how that might add up, now, assuming $40 an hour is a normal painter's rate.
posted by ignignokt at 11:47 PM on August 31, 2008

Best answer: Plus cost of paint. To paint one room in my house with ordinary house paint cost me in materials about $500. I would assume much more for exterior, antirust stuff. Also cost of plant hire if necessary, cranes, baskets etc. Danger money?
posted by b33j at 1:47 AM on September 1, 2008

I think the key here would be to have a written contract that allows you to inspect for rust after they clean it, that specifies the type, quality and number of coats of paint, etc. I had to fire a painter who said he would do two coats, yet once on the job decided that one was enough.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:32 AM on September 1, 2008

I'm not sure what you mean by "four or five times the labor."

It takes 400-500% the time of just painting. Since I'm working on scaffold I use myself, I want to do a good job, so it takes me that long to meet my standards of thoroughness. And that's a piece of scaffold I can lean against a prop in the backyard and walk around while working on it.
posted by dhartung at 11:05 PM on September 1, 2008

« Older Which of us is the jerk?   |   Anti-social cat, help w/insulin... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.