Before you start scraping lead paint, there’s a guide that you may very well want to consider reading. We’re in the business of ensuring that people don’t suffer from irrevocable damage from exposure to the material. The truth is that if you aren’t very careful, you may very well end up having your health suffer. You were trying to protect your family with various initiatives.
So, you just purchased one of the lead testing kits that we offer on this page. You ended up figuring out that things in your home look bad. They look so bad. You may have thought that your family was protected against all the potential toxins in old homes.
You don’t want to expose your family to mold and take various steps to ensure that you won’t find it in your home. You may also want to take steps against the lead.
It is only natural and good to take various measures that will help protect your family. We are very much of the belief that limiting the exposure to lead paint is a good thing. We have written extensive articles on the topic that we encourage you to read.
It includes articles on what is going on in the Melrose Housing in New York. We’ve also written about how buyers of a home may demand various things. It includes that common repairs are handled before buying the home. Look at the various articles on this site.
You can see that lead paint is a serious issue that many states still suffer from greatly. It is especially those people that are already very exposed that suffer more.
It means people are often forced to stay in public housing, most of which was built before lead in paint was banned. These are other places that aren’t usually maintained all that well-meaning the paint starts deteriorating over time.
Should you be concerned?
We want to clarify some things to make sure that you better understand the real danger you are living with. Yes, you can live perfectly safely in a home that contains the material. It does mean that you will need to stay on top of it and make sure that it doesn’t deteriorate.
Only when the paint starts deteriorating are the particles let out into the air, which the people living in the house ingest. As the paint deteriorates, paint chips may fall on the ground. They can also be absorbed in the ground outside, so you want to be careful what you plant if your home is old. There is a very high probability that the soil is contaminated.
Although it takes a long time before the painting starts deteriorating to the point that it becomes a health hazard, you have to go back to 1977. At this point, the material was banned in residential paint. It means these homes have had the paint on them for more than 40 years now.
It probably means that most homes contaminated with it will no longer have paint in good condition. You need to start doing something about it, as the metal will accumulate in your body as your exposure continues. When the meta accumulates, you get all the bad reactions. There are health consequences that you can read about on various websites.
It includes a developmental delay for kids, among other things. However, cognitive responses are to be expected. That means that you should be especially careful in doing the work the right way if you live in a household with kids living there. It’s especially if you’re doing the job yourself since it causes irreversible damage.
Is paint inside homes the only source for which you should be looking?
This article focuses on the home. You should know that it isn’t just on the walls that this type of damaging metal may be showing its dangerous face. There may be other places where you ought to be careful of what lingers beneath the layers of paint.
While the situation may be a lot better than it was back in 1977, the wall paint probably isn’t the only thing that contains the dangerous material. It wasn’t until 1992 that the amount of lead allowed in consumer products was vastly limited. There are still toy recalls, among other things, where kids get exposed. Try to Google “amazon lead paint recall.”
You will find various stories of their suppliers not having the necessary testing on their imported products.
These often have various types of harmful materials included, one of them being lead. That also means that you should be careful when you go abroad.
There aren’t the same strict manufacturing and testing requirements that US producers are exposed to. Suppose you go to a foreign country, especially in the third world. Therefore, you may want to reconsider whether you bring home a toy for that sweet little niece you have. It may be filled with all sorts of chemicals that you don’t want them to be exposed to.
Most countries will have pretty strong testing requirements in the first world, especially for consumer products. Some countries still add the material to their gas. At this point, you will effectively be inhaling it the whole time visiting those countries.
Suppose you want to bring home something from that trip abroad that you have been looking forward to for so long. We encourage you to look into their local legislation to ensure they have a strong stance on avoiding exposure with their relevant laws.
Why was it added back in the day?
If it weren’t for the laws to limit consumers’ exposure to this metal, it would probably still be used. It was added to a bunch of the things you interact with daily because of the various good things that it provides.
It includes making paint very durable. It was discovered in the mid-1900s that this type of material has many health consequences when we’re exposed to it and ingest it. It includes brain and organ damage, and authorities started pushing to limit its use. Although it may have been banned back in the day, many leftovers in those old houses still contain the material. It’s especially door and window frames & trim, and stairways.
Old radiators could additionally very easily contain the material. These are often things painted by those living in the houses. They’re often not replaced and end up being there for the entirety of the house’s life.
Another interesting read you may want to continue with: The Massachusetts Standard Purchase and Sale Agreement: A Comprehensive Guide
There are situations where you may not necessarily want to remove the old lead paint because it is still in good condition. An alternative can be to encapsulate it instead. Suppose it starts peeling or otherwise showing signs of aging.
In that case, that is when you will want to take action to avoid lead dust in your home. It’s sprinkling and contaminating both soil and other things that will cause unnecessary exposure. If you are doing any work that affects the paint, you will need to test it. It’s no matter if it is repainting or removing it.
Our recommendation is clear. We urge you not to do this type of work yourself. Improper handling of this material can be devastating to your health and could cause both kidney damage and death. There are reasons contractors must have the necessary training and certificates to handle all the waste properly. They have to ensure proper protection throughout the job.
As well as properly clean afterward, as you can’t simply use the normal vacuum to remove the dust that will inherently exist afterward. We recognize that there are people out there who are very good at all sorts of handyman work. You could save a lot of money by doing this work yourself. We cannot urge you enough to understand the possible consequences properly. You are otherwise exposing yourself and those you love to unnecessary danger.
Important lease clauses
Make sure that you educate yourself on the various lease clauses, whether you’re a tenant or a landlord.
If you decide to go about the project yourself, you must do several things. Remember how we said you couldn’t just use your normal vacuum when you are done? Instead, you will have to get a HEPA vacuum. These are designed to remove the dust everywhere when removing lead paint. They’re not all that expensive to buy.
You can generally find them starting at around $300, but you can also go to construction rental places where you can rent one. They’re usually $45 or so if you try to rent one for a day. There are also some communities where you can borrow one without paying for it.
There may be a remediation program to let you borrow one. It will minimize the exposure for the people living in the community. If you live in Kansas, try searching for the lead remediation programs around there. Get on the phone with the people you can get in touch with to see if it is a thing that they offer.
You must follow the various steps that we have included below so that you can keep ensuring the safety of your family when removing lead paint. It will be a good feeling afterward knowing that you have done what needed to be done to ensure your family’s safety.
How to remove lead paint in your home
- Make sure all objects are removed.
The first step is to make sure that anything in the way is removed. It will include furniture and other objects in the room that could collect dangerous dust. It would also make it more difficult to operate in.
It’s easier to move it rather than having to work around it. The best solution is that you work in a vacant house. It will mean you won’t have to worry about others being exposed to the dust in the process. If that’s not possible, work on one room at a time. Take the necessary steps to ensure you’re not contaminating the other rooms.
- Use 6 mm plastic sheeting to cover everything up.
The next step involves ensuring that you keep everything protected from the dust released from the work you are doing. You should use 6 mm plastic sheeting to cover everything up to achieve this.
Make sure that you use duct tape at the bottom of the walls to keep the sheeting from going back and forth. This keeps the paint chips and dust from going where it doesn’t belong, like the carpet.
It is more difficult to clean afterward with flooring where the paint chips can go between the cracks and gaps. It’s simply a better measure to keep everything covered in the process. We recommended that you also remove any objects from the room that isn’t strictly necessary to have there.
- Cover vents and registers.
It is not just your flooring or carpet that needs to be covered. It is also vents and registers and any other place where the dust or lead chips might go. You should also make sure that your HVAC system isn’t turned on in the process.
Do so even if it means that you will be doing the work in a nice and warm spot. You do not want the dust to be going into the ventilation system. Another important measure is to avoid drafts that can carry the dust from one room to another. Make sure that both windows and doors stay shut in the process.
- Put warm water in a big plastic bucket.
Did you know that water can help limit the amount of dust in the air? The next step is to find one of those large plastic buckets that you might have stored in the attic and put warm water so that it is halfway full.
Make sure to find both rags and a sponge. Put all the things next to where you will be doing the work.
- Cover doorways with plastic.
Before starting the work, you must cover the doorways with the plastic sheathing you used previously and tape it off so no dust will go into other rooms.
- Put on a lead-respirator.
Find that lead-rated respirator. It will make sure you don’t end up inhaling all the dust that comes from the job and make sure that you are using a fresh HEPA filter. Both are incredibly important to avoid exposure.
Goggles and rubber gloves are necessary to avoid the dust going into your eyes and staying on your hands afterward. Other websites say you can wear old clothing. We recommend that you wear a disposable suit for the purpose that you throw away afterward. The more of your skin that is covered, the better. While you won’t be ingesting it through the skin, it is a good protective measure to ensure you’re as covered as possible.
- Make sure all surfaces are wet before starting the work.
Step 7 is when that water comes into play that you put in the room. You will need to ensure that the area you are working on is wet. This keeps the amount of dust down, and it keeps your lungs and exposure to the dust lower than it would otherwise have been. You must keep the area wet that you’re working on.
It could include checking periodically to ensure that that is still the case. Because of that, you shouldn’t just go ahead and make the whole room wet by the time you start with it. While you may be tempted to do so, that is also the easiest way to get water damage. Instead, constrain the area you are working on to a smaller one of 2-3 feet. It will ensure that your area always has the necessary wetness but that you don’t damage other parts of the home.
- Start the scraping.
This is when you start scraping the area you are working on, which can be done with a hand scraper. While you technically only have to remove the peeling or damaged parts, you might be on a mission to rather remove all the paint.
At this point, you will repeat the previous steps as you move over the different parts of the room. Always ensure the part you are working on remains wet. If the paint is still firmly attached and in good condition, you could paint over it. You would have to address that part as well when it starts deteriorating.
- Wet and sand various areas.
Before sanding the area that has become somewhat uneven after the scraping, make sure to make the area wet again.
This is the point when you can smooth the area again. This part of the process is no different from all the other parts and requires keeping the area wet. It’s even if wet sanding may seem more tedious than dry sanding. The amount of lead exposure is still minimized with these steps.
- Clean the areas you’ve worked on.
As you progress with the various steps, use a dampened sponge to clean the areas you have been working on. It keeps debris and residual dust from staying on the walls. Make sure that you are not just using the same water the whole time. Change it out frequently and safely dispose of the contaminated water.
- Use the vacuum.
With the HEPA vacuum, it has now become time to start the cleaning process. That is when you are done with all the scraping. It needs to be a HEPA vacuum because these have the important HEPA filters that you need. Go over the plastic sheeting several times to remove as much of the dust as you can, and do not be afraid to do it once more.
- Properly dispose of the lead paint.
Congrats, you have made it to the last step. It includes properly removing and disposing of the plastic sheeting.
The edges should be folded into the center. It helps ensure that any remaining dust and paint chips stay on the plastic rather than ending up all over your house. Rather than just throwing away this plastic, you will need to check with your local waste authority. Ensure that it is the right way to dispose of the material.