When To Test For Lead Paint

Allison Beatty

Lead paint is a serious health issue that can lurk underneath layers of paint in an old house. Whether you're buying an old house or preparing to renovate one, it is important to know how to manage the hazard.

Lead Paint Background
Exposure to lead paint--whether through ingesting it or inhaling the dust--can cause serious health problems, particularly for children. If you're buying a house built before 1978, when lead paint was banned, there is a good chance that it contains lead paint.

If you're lucky, previous owners painted over it several times. This may keep it stabilized for awhile. The danger comes when the paint is disturbed through renovations or the aging process that leads paint to start chipping.

Buying a House
Home owners are required to disclose the presence of lead paint if they know about it. This gets tricky, however, if the owners have never tested for it. If you already own the house, however, you are on your own. This can be troubling if you plan a renovation that involves lots of demolition.

If you have small children--or plan to have them in the future--it is wise to test for lead paint. (Lead exposure also is dangerous for pregnant women). The testing will provide you with a sense of security, as you'll know where the danger is and can take action to remedy it.

Test Methods
There are two main ways to test for lead paint--a store bought kit and a professional inspection. The kits are inexpensive, but are not always 100 percent reliable. The professional inspections average about $350 and provide a detailed analysis of walls, floors, windows and doors throughout the house. The inspector typically provides advice on how to remove or stabilize the paint.

Lead paint is a serious issue, but one that can be managed. Before buying an old house or renovating one, consider having a test done to determine where you stand. You'll then have the information you need to protect your family.

About The Author
Allison E. Beatty is an avid old house enthusiast who has been renovating houses and writing about them for more than 10 years. She contributes regularly to national newspaper, magazine,s and web sites. She lives in an 1888 Victorian era home.


About the Author
By Allison E. Beatty

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