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Lead Based Paint

Lead based paint is a potential serious issue with older homes. Any home built prior to 1978 is at risk. The cliff note version about lead based paint is do not eat it. Pets and children are at highest risk. Peeling paint is often found around old windows. It chips off of sills and flakes off of window sash cords. Remodel jobs can also cause the release of LBP.

The EPA has put out a lead based paint pamphlet. Oregon real estate law includes a lead based paint disclosure and a provision in the earnest money allowing the buyer to inspect for lead based paint. The disclosure requires that the buyer receives a copy of the pamphlet.

This is not a recommendation but experience: I have yet to see a buyer complete a lead based paint test on a potential purchase and I have never seen a seller disclosure that stated that the seller had any knowledge of lead based paint or had ever tested for it.

Anybody have any experience with lead based paint? Good or bad?

3 Comments on “Lead Based Paint

  1. Well, I have just bought a house built in 1971, and we did have the inspector do a swab test for lead paint. If it had turned up suspicious in any of the rooms, we’d have run a more in-depth test – this was important because we want to have children soon. Fortunately, it seems to be clear.

  2. I think that the danger can get exaggerated sometimes, lead is horrible for children but it isn’t that hard to fix the problem spots and deal with it.

  3. Well, lead based paint. I know more about it than I ever want too. Mostly because my wife was pregneant and we started remodeling what was to become the baby’s room. I agree that lead based dangers get overstated. It is the same as with everything else. Withoput a crisis no one pays attention, so there is a tendancy to overstate the true risks.

    So our house is a 1912 home. We tested for lead paint only after closing. Our real estate agent was remiss and told us we could test for lead paint because it “removed material from the house” and that “it’s just understood that all old houses have lead paint” we were naive so we didn’t push it.

    Anyway, we did several lead swab tests and found evidence of lead paint. My wife was very concerned about the lead issue and being careful, however I brought up that the half assed remodel that was done when the house ws flipped surely didn’t take lead precautions. So here is what we did:

    -Isolate the work space if you are remodleing room by room. Get a zipper door and put it between the remodel space and the rest of your house. Close all known air passages, including the furnace. Close registers and cut a piece of 6 mil plastic. Use the heavy duty painters tape (I find 2″ works well) to seal off the vent as much as possible. This is easier with wood floors or low pile carpet. If you have carpet you need to put 6 mil plastic over the entire floor. Remove everything from the space.

    -Have seperate cloths and shoes for work space. Take off all of your cloths and shoes when passsing between spaces. Plan so you work in the space and then when you are done, strip down and go straight to the shower. Wash used cloths in 1/2 cup TSP instead of detergent.

    -Use TSP (Tri- Sodium Phosphate) (diluted) to clean up everything that leaves the space. TSP is the only way to truly clean up spaces potentially contimainated with lead dust.

    -Work as normal. The biggest challenge is avoiding sanding since it is the only was to make woodwork look good if you are correcting earlier half assed painting jobs or patching holes. When you sand, use a canister mask. You can buy ones at Home Depot that have the purple lead filters. Buya few filters and change them out as they get used up. Wear the mask when sanding. I had to take apart some double hung windows which breaks lead paint seals (I had to remove some trim) which spreads lead dust around. Essentially if you are taking apart any woodwork that is painted or rehabing old windows (that is in a early 1900s house), you are surely stiring up some lead dust. Try to minimize the spread of material. I used a vaccum attachment for my sander.

    -Once eveything is remodeled, back togthter, and painted, remove the plastic over the carpet. Vacuum carpet or floors with a HEPA vacuum. Suck it up and buy one of the true HEPAs (dual seals) that range in cost from $300 to $500. You don’t need a $1400 HEPA vaccum. I also bought a HEPA filter for my shop vac, and though it isn’t a true HEPA, it’s good for a first pass and limitng the spread of dust from sanding. Clean every surface where dust can collect with diluted TSP solution. For carpets, rent a carpet cleaner and clean with TSP solution (after HEPA vaccuming), then clean with normal carpet cleaner (might be overkill, but it was going to be our son’s room). For wood floors, tile, etc, mop with TSP after vaccuming with a HEPA.

    -I don’t know how much you can truly isolate the space, but the above precautions will minimize any chance of lead contamination spreading around.

    So our son is 13 months now, is healthy, and his lead blood test at 1 year came back well below the (admittly low) level that the govenerment considers the cutt off point for danger from lead.

    In short, it worked. These skills are good too even if you don’t have a lead issue to keep remodling debree from infirtating your living space. So much easier to contain then clean everything up later.

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