How To Remove Lead Paint

Can You Paint Over Existing Lead Paint

How to Remove and Contain Lead Paint | This Old House

You can absolutely paint over lead-based paint in your home, but its important to follow specific steps, guidelines, and safety protocols. If your project involves lead paint and youre hiring professionals, they will need to follow strict EPA guidelines.

Painting over lead paint is known as encapsulation, and its frequently used as an effective remediation technique. In fact, its less expensive and safer than lead paint removal, since it doesnt disturb the existing paint and doesnt tend to release lead dust or toxic particles into the air.

Just remember that conventional oil- or water-based paints are not sufficient for encapsulation. Youll need to use specific paints called encapsulants during the process and follow the necessary steps to ensure the job is done safely and correctly.

How To Identify Lead Paint

If you live in a home built before 1978, we recommend following these procedures when disturbing paint for remodeling, repainting or making repairs unless you know that the surfaces dont contain lead.

Most homes built before 1950 contain lead paint. If your home was built between 1950 and 1978, it may or may not contain lead paint. The best way to check the surfaces you plan to disturb is with a lab analysis of paint chips. A public health center will tell you how to collect samples and where to send them. The chemical lead test kits sold at paint stores arent 100 percent reliable. A pro will charge a few hundred dollars for a lead inspection. Or simply assume you have lead paint and follow safe handling procedures. Plus: How to remove paint from wood.

Wet Down A Paper Towel

The washing and wiping process isnt as much extra hassle as you might think, because youd have to clean dust off the woodwork and walls before painting anyway. But for lead paint, the technique is more rigorous. Mix an all-purpose cleaner and water in a spray bottle and soak a folded, heavyweight paper towel.

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Lead Paint Removal Options

Encapsulation. Typically the least complicated and most affordable method, encapsulation involves brushing or rolling on a specially made paint-like coating that creates a watertight bond and seals in the lead-based paint. However, opening and closing your doors and windows eventually may wear off the coating.

Encapsulation products start at about $50 per gallon. Expect to pay about $800 to $1,400 to cover surfaces in a 1,200- to 2,000-sq. ft. home .

Enclosure. With this method, the old surface is covered with a new one, such as putting up new drywall or covering windowsills with aluminum or vinyl cladding. If the enclosed surface is ever removed, youll have to deal with the exposed lead-containing surfaces underneath.

Removal. A variety of approaches are used to remove lead-based paints, such as wire brushing or wet hand scraping with liquid paint removers. Your contractor may opt to wet sand surfaces, and must use an electric sander equipped with a high-efficiency particulate air filtered vacuum. Another option is stripping off paint with a low-temperature heat gun, and hand scraping.

Forbidden methods of removal include open flame burning or torching, machine sanding without a HEPA attachment, abrasive blasting, and power washing without a means to trap water and paint chips.

Replacement. This more radical strategy calls for taking out the offending surfaces or features and installing new windows, doors, woodwork, and other surfaces.

You Could Damage Your Home

How to Remove Lead Paint Safely

If youve never removed paint off of a building before, its likely that you may cause damage to your property.

Attempting to remove pain too aggressively can easily damage the wood underneath, leaving you with the need to make repairs before you can repaint the surface.

People who remove house paint on their own often need to work on the entire house, meaning that they wont have the time to meticulously strip every square foot of their homes surface. This leads to working more quickly than you should and potentially making mistakes.

This is particularly true for any methods that use heat, as it wont take much to char the wood underneath the paint.

So, attempting to save money by removing paint on your own could actually result in you spending more money if you cause enough damage.

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Getting Rid Of The Paint

  • 1Wet down interior surfaces that contain lead paint.XResearch source “Working wet” helps to keep the dust levels down. The lead dust will cling to the wet surfaces, allowing you to easily wipe away loose paint without causing a massive dust cloud. Before disturbing any painted surface, always use a water-filled spray bottle to wet the area.
  • 2Scrape off the paint.XResearch source Wet the surface down again. Using a 2 inch carbide scraper or wire brush, scrape off the loose and flaking paint.XExpert Source
  • How To Scrape Old Paint Off A House

    What stands between an old house and new paint? Ten tenacious coats of the old stuff. But you can get it off with these tools and techniques.

    From a distance, the house in Winchester, Mass., site of the 2002 This Old House TV project, was a picture of yellow siding and white trim. Closer inspection revealed a craggy clapboard landscape of cracks, chips, and flakes where 10 coats of paint, applied during the 80-year life of the house, were failing by degrees.

    “The clapboards are cypress, I thinkâa full 10 inches wide and 7/8 inches thick at the butt,” said TOH general contractor Tom Silva. “Beautiful wood in great condition, except that it won’t hold any more paint.”

    Painting contractor Jim Clark concurred: “We could feather out the failed areas with scrapers and sandpaper before priming and top coating, but a year after we finish, the flaking and chipping could start again. So all the paint has to go. That means a lot of work, but when we’re finished, we’ll have a baby-smooth surface that will hold nice, even coats of paint for a long time to come.”

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    How To Remove Lead Paint

    This article was co-authored by Andre Kazimierski and by wikiHow staff writer, Amber Crain. Andre Kazimierski is a Painting Specialist and the Founder and CEO of Improovy, an on-demand house painting service startup. With more than 15 years of experience, Andre and the Improovy team use data and technology to streamline the home improvement process for homeowners and painting contractors. Andre started in the painting industry as a sophomore at Depaul University in Chicago, working with one of the nations largest painting companies to launch new cities and territories across the Midwest. Years later, he started 3rd Gen Painting and Remodeling and had a successful exit after growing the company to two different states. This article has been viewed 35,699 times.

    If the paint in your home tests positive for lead, you can remove the paint yourself, as long as you follow certain safety procedures. Our guide will show you how to scrape and wet-sand the paint away while minimizing the risks of lead contamination.

    Why Hire All Clear Environmental For Lead Paint Removal

    How Experts Remove Lead Paint | This Old House

    All Clear Environmental is a fully certified and insured professional company in lead paint removal for residential and commercial properties. We take the safety of our clients and workers very seriously when removing lead paint from any property and we offer our clients 100% satisfaction guarantee as we get the job done right the first time.

    If you have lead paint in your property and require the help of a professional company then go ahead and contact us today by filling out the estimate form or simply give us a call at and one of our certified inspectors will provide you with a fair estimate.

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    How To Remove Lead

    Lead paint can be bad news when it comes to your health and your familys health, and its a silent threat that many homeowners are unaware of before its too late.

    However, knowing how to remove lead-based paint is extremely important because improper removal can dramatically increase the rate of exposure to lead.

    Below, Ill share information on identifying lead-based paint, its dangers, and the benefits and drawbacks of removing it yourself or hiring a professional.

    Abatement Activities: Option #2 Do Nothing

    This point brings me to the second option: to do nothing.

    Doing nothing could be the best option if you dont have the expertise or funds to hire a professional. With lead paint, it can be dangerous if its peeling, but you can easily clean up paint chips. Lead dust is created when the paint is exposed to friction, such as chipping, scraping, and sanding.

    If the lead paint is still in good condition and you do not have small children who might interact with lead paint chips, this might be an option worth considering.

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    Is Lead Paint Dangerous

    Lead paint can be dangerous when it begins to deteriorate, crack, or peel or when it is sanded or demolished. Lead is a toxic metal that can lead to a variety of health problems in humans, especially young children and other at-risk groups. When lead or lead dust is ingested, inhaled, or otherwise absorbed into the body, it can damage the brain, kidneys, nerves, and blood. In extreme cases, it can also cause learning disabilities, seizures, and even death.

    The first symptoms of lead poisoning can include:

    • Loss of appetite

    If you or a loved one experiences any symptoms of lead poisoning, consult a medical professional for confirmation, then remove yourself from the home and determine the next steps, which may include hiring a certified lead paint abatement contractor to perform the remediation.

    The Bottom Line Is Simple:

    How To Remove Lead Paint From Metal

    Doing your own lead-based paint removal leads to more harm than good. Without the proper tools, chemicals and other trusted supplies, you will not be able to accomplish the job to government safety standards.

    Experienced professionals are not only trained in this specific field, they have experience in what works and what does not.

    Their knowledge base makes them a valuable asset in this situation.

    Special cases call for special procedures. To avoid future problems and ensure that it is done correctly the first time, it is highly recommended that you use a professional lead-based paint removal expert.

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    What Other Places Can Lead Be Found Around The Home

    Unfortunately, before the ban on lead in consumer goods in the 1970s, it was used extensively in many applications. Leaded gasoline was used until 1975, which is why it contaminates the soil in house yards with lead.

    Plumbing and pipe soldering used to contain lead, so it can be found in the water supply. Also, some childrens toys made outside the US could have lead in the paint.

    Do Ensure There Is A Lead

    Before beginning, ensure that you have one entry into your home that will not be contaminated during the removal process.

    For example, if you have a front and back door but no other entry, do not remove lead paint from the front and back at the same time. You need one entry into your home that is not affected by your lead paint removal at all times.

    If you do not have an uncontaminated doorway, you risk your health and the health of anyone within your home.

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    Safety Points For Removing Lead

    Whatever method you use for removing lead-based paint, always take the following precautions.

    • If youre removing paint from the inside of your house, remove the curtains and furniture from the room and cover the carpets before beginning the job. After sanding, wet wipe surfaces to remove dust and then use a commercial vacuum cleaner fitted with a high efficiency dust filter.
    • If youre removing the paint from the outside of a building, make sure all windows and doors are closed to prevent contamination inside.
    • Collect all paint debris on a groundsheet large enough to contain all the debris. If youre working on a scaffold, tie a sheet underneath to catch falling paint. If youre removing paint by water blasting, try to collect all flakes of paint from the surrounding area.
    • Clean the area around the groundsheet with a commercial vacuum cleaner fitted with a high efficiency dust filter to collect any other paint debris. Dispose of the contents immediately. After sanding, wet wipe surfaces to remove dust and then use a commercial vacuum cleaner fitted with a high efficiency dust filter.
    • Wrap up all paint debris securely and, for small amounts, put out with the household refuse collection or take to the rubbish tip. If in doubt, check with your local city or district council.
    • Do not burn paint debris.
    • Keep children and pets away from the work area and make sure they dont eat or play with paint debris.

    Case Study: Toronto Condominium Fire Restoration

    How To Remove Lead Paint Safely

    Condo fire damage quickly spreads to nearby units as well as the building exterior, displacing residents from their homes until the building can be safely restored. Thats why a restoration company called the professionals at Wickens Dry Ice Blasting after a Toronto condo building experienced serious fire damage.

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    Is Lead Poisoning Only A Problem For Small Children

    Anyone can be dangerously affected by exposure to lead. But children under age 6 are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, for several reasons.

    Young children have a tendency to put things that can have lead dust on them into their mouths. And the younger they are, the greater the chance a child may put chips of peeling paint, lead dust, or lead-contaminated soil in their mouth. Consequently, young children are much more likely to consume large amounts of lead than older kids or adults, whose main risk comes from breathing lead dust.

    Children’s growing bodies also absorb more lead than adult bodies do, and a young child’s brain and nervous system are more sensitive to the damage lead can cause. But lead can and does affect adults, especially after long-term exposure.

    Lead also poses a threat for unborn babies. If there is lead in the mother’s system, it can pass to the fetus and cause premature birth, low birth weight, and brain and nerve damage.

    Protecting Yourself While Removing Lead

    • Before eating food or smoking, carefully wash and dry your face and hands.
    • When not actually working, change out of contaminated overalls . Wash contaminated clothes separately.
    • Before handling children, carefully wash and dry your face and hands and change out of contaminated clothing.
    • To prevent dust accumulating in your hair, wear a hat or cover your hair .
    • When sanding, making dust, or burning off lead-based paint, wear a good quality, properly-fitted, toxic dust respirator. If using a disposable type, only those with double headstraps are suitable. Respirators should meet the requirements of the Australian/New Zealand Standards AS/NZS 1716:2012 and AS/NZS 1715:2009 . Further advice on respiratory protective equipment is available on WorkSafe New Zealands website.
    • Do not smoke while removing paint as the hand-to-mouth contact may increase the risk of eating or inhaling lead paint dust.

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    Clean The Work Area With A Certified Hepa Vacuum

    You cannot use a household vacuum with a HEPA filter for this job. It must be a certified product designed to contain potentially hazardous particles. You can use the equipment over the plastic sheeting to get rid of as much dust as possible. Once youre finished, you can remove the sheeting, folding the edges into the center to prevent chips and dust from escaping.

    Once youve finished these steps, you can dispose of the protective materials according to local rules and regulations. Your room or home is now ready to receive a fresh coat of lead-free paint!

    Use Sanding Sponges To Smooth Rough Areas

    How to Remove Lead Paint Safely

    After spraying the area with water again, use sanding sponges to smooth the rough spots caused by the scraping. Youll need to keep the surface wet while working. Although itll take longer to complete the removal process this way, itll keep the environment safer. As you work, use a dampened sponge to keep cleaning the area. You might need to change the water in the bucket or have multiple containers available to have enough liquid to use.

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    Most Importantly Be Safe

    We stripped every bit of paint in our house and havent had any health issues, but it is, of course, important to take all possible safety precautions!

    Removing lead paint can be dangerous and cause health issues. Dont even think of attempting it if you are pregnant or have young children in the house. If youre unsure of anything always consult a professional!

    If youd like some more information on how to deal with lead paint you can check out the Lead Paint Safely Association or British Coatings Federation.

    Whats the biggest DIY hurdle youve ever faced? Do you have any hazards in your home?

    Prepare The Area For Remediation

    Everything in the room must be removed or covered with two sheets of 6-mil plastic. To prevent contaminating other rooms, youll need to seal off the area with plastic sheeting. Use tape to hang two 6-mil plastic sheets in front of doorways or any area where dust could enter a nearby room. The floor should also be sealed off with two sheets of plastic and taped at the seams and edges to collect dust. HVAC ducts should also be covered and the system turned off during remediation.

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    Setup The Work Area Interior

    • Restrict access by having occupants and pets vacate the areas where work will be done.
    • Protect the floor with taped down plastic sheeting extending at least six feet from where the lead paint is being disturbed.
    • Protect furniture by removing objects from the work area and covering and sealing objects that cannot be removed. Another important step is to close all windows, doors, and duct openings so dust particles do not spread.
    • Put all necessary tools and supplies on protective sheeting so you can avoid stepping off protective sheeting.
    • Wear protective shoe covering to prevent tracking lead dust to other parts of the house or areas nearby and remove them whenever you step away from sheeting. Use a trackpad or wipe down shoes whenever you step off protective sheeting. You can also use a HEPA vacuum cleaner to remove dust particles on clothing and shoes.
    • Setup a dust room which will make it easier to do dust-generating work and clean up after the job.


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