Proper Methods For Removing Lead Paint

by Editor on May 6, 2013

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Lead paint is a dangerous hazard in homes that were built prior to 1978.  Not all homes have it, but you can have it tested if you are concerned.  If you discover that your home does have a problem, you can look at ways of removing lead paint.  If you want it to be removed completely, you will need to have an EPA certified painter handle the process as required by law.  However, there are several options that you as a homeowner have for dealing with the problem.

Encapsulation

This method is often the most affordable and least complex way of dealing with removing lead paint.  Unfortunately, it is also the least secure.  You can apply a special paint coating that will create a bond over the lead-based paint.  However, it can wear off in time in areas where you open and close doors or windows.

Enclosure

You can put up new drywall or cover window sills with vinyl or other materials.  However, if you ever remove the new surfaces, you will still have the lead to deal with.  It can also be expensive to cover a large area if your entire home has lead paint.

Removing Lead Paint

You can use several different ways to remove the lead paint such as wet hand scraping by using liquid paint removers.  This prevents the lead paint dust from getting airborne.  You may also find an EPA certified painter who will want to wet sand surfaces or use a low-temperature heat gun to hand scrape.  Certain methods of paint removal are not allowed such as dry sanding because of the dust it stirs up into the air.  Your painter will know which ones they are allowed to use to remove the paint from your home.

Replacement

You can remove certain features of the home and replace them with non-lead items.  This includes window frames, doors, woodwork, and other areas.  This is more expensive and requires more time and labor.

Can You Do Nothing?

If you have been living in this home for several years, you may wonder if you can continue to do nothing and leave things the way they are.  If the paint is in good condition and no children under the age of 6 live in the house, you can safely leave things as they are.  However, you will have to monitor any changes in the condition of the paint for future problems.  If you decide to sell, you will also have to disclose the fact that your home contains lead paint.  This could hurt your sale if the buyers are concerned with lead paint.

If the paint is peeling or if lead paint is on window sills with young children in the home, you will need to have it taken care of.  Children can bite on window sills and ingest enough of the paint to cause the lead to get into their bloodstream.

If you make the decision for removing lead paint in one way or another, you will have to continue to cleanup the paint and dust until the project begins.  Keep your family safe by washing window sills and floors and cleaning up paint chips when they fall.

You have several options for dealing with lead paint in your home.  Some are easier than others such as encapsulation.  Others require more effort such as removing lead paint or replacing fixtures.  It is best to work with a certified painter if you choose to remove the paint rather than attempt to do the work yourself.  Removing the paint can improve the value of your home and allow you to rest easy while you live there.

About the Author

Olger Fallas Painting is a house painter in Maplewood New Jersey specializing in removing lead paint from old homes.

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