10 Points to Remember When Removing Lead Paint

Shannon Lee

If you live in a home that is older than 50 years old, you are probably surrounded by lead paint. Lead paint that is in good repair is a minimal health hazard, and can simply be covered with layers of new paint or wallpaper to mitigate any potential problems.

Serious problems arise when lead paint begins to age, chip, flake, and peel. The lead chips and dust do create a health issue, especially for young children and pregnant women. If the lead paint in your old house is deteriorating, it's time for more serious repair.

10 Points to Ponder on Lead Paint Removal

  1. Consider hiring a professional contractor to take care of the lead paint removal for you. They have the proper tools and training to mitigate the lead paint problem without danger to you or your family.
  2. Consider enclosing the areas of lead paint by installing coverings of fire-resistant drywall, vinyl, aluminum, and the like. Look at the cost of simply replacing lead-covered windows or doors. Enclosure or replacement might be cheaper than lead paint removal, and it is certainly safer.
  3. If you do opt for removal, explore all the options. Some require more time than others, and the dangers of lead exposure vary. Choose a method that fits with your needs.
  4. Pregnant women and children should stay away from the work area--no exceptions!
  5. Work in only one area at a time, and seal it off from the rest of the house until removal is complete.
  6. Always wear a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) mask when handling lead paint removal. This helps filter the dust and fumes you deal with during the removal process.
  7. Wear clothes and shoes that you can dispose of when the job is done. This eliminates the possibility, no matter how slight, of lingering lead dust and chips.
  8. Eating, drinking, or smoking on the job make it very easy to ingest the lead you are trying to remove. The best rule of thumb is--don't put anything near or in your mouth while you are on the job site.
  9. When working inside, cover all lead-free areas, such as floors and furniture, with 6-mil plastic sheeting. Tape the sheeting at the edges to form an airtight seal. When working outside, lay the sheeting on the ground to catch lead dust and debris.
  10. Pay close attention to cleanup at the end of each day and at the end of the job. Cleanup is the most important part of lead paint removal, so thoroughly educate yourself on cleanup long before you actually begin the work.

Keeping these 10 important tips in mind can help make your lead removal project safer.

About the Author

Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.

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