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Practical Steps for Dealing with Lead-Based Paint in Your Home


Practical Steps for Dealing with Lead-Based Paint in Your Home

Lead-based paint is a major concern for many homeowners. And why wouldn’t it be? The health hazards it poses make it quite a threat. 

Often, homeowners wonder how to deal with this. The aesthetics of their homes are as they like. There are no such issues with the house either; there might be some compromises made because of lead-based paint.

With the potential risks associated with lead exposure. Particularly with pregnant women and children. It’s ideal to understand what measures one should take to handle it. The complexities of lead-based paint require careful consideration and adherence to established guidelines. In this blog, we’ll take you through each of those. We’ll discuss the practical steps for how to manage lead-based paint. By the way, you don’t have to wait till then…you can also cater to the issue beforehand. So, without further ado, we should start.

Test for Lead Paint

Firstly, you need to make sure that your house is actually under threat. For this, testing is the most ideal option. You can use a home lead test kit for this. Or you can send a paint chip sample to a certified laboratory. In fact, the best way to test for lead paint is by scheduling a consultation with a certified professional. This will give you authentic, accurate, and reliable results.

Protect Your Family

This is an important step if you reside with pregnant women or children. They’re more vulnerable to lead exposure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 2.6% of preschool children nationwide had a blood lead concentration of 5 μg/dL or higher from 2007 to 2010. This represents about 535000 US children aged between 1 to 5 years. These levels of lead exposure can lead to different toxic effects like:

  • Aggression
  • Destructive and delinquent behavior
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Decreased cognitive abilities

So, it’s better to relocate them until the work is done.

Wear Protective Gear

When testing for lead, you must wear protective clothing, this includes:

  • Coveralls
  • Goggles
  • Gloves
  • U.S. National Institute of Occupation Safety and Health (NIOSH) approved respirator

Wearing all this will help reduce the possibility of lead intake or exposure. Even though the process of lead testing involves direct contact with lead sources. It’s important to note that lead exposure can occur through various pathways. These include inhalation, ingestion, and skin contact. So, it’s better to protect yourself from any chances of getting exposed. After all, prevention is better than cure.

Pro Tip: Do not smoke, eat, or drink in the area where lead paint is being removed.

Prepare the Area

You’re fully prepared. Now, it’s time to prepare the area. Your goal here is to prevent dust and paint chips from spreading around the house. For this, you can seal the area and all heating vents. Also, ensure that the HVAC system is turned off during the remediation.

Furthermore, it would help if you protected the working area’s entrance with plastic sheets. This will help contain dust. You shall also remove all the furniture, rugs, drapes, and household items from the area. And don’t forget to cover the floor with heavy plastic. You may seal this with tape, it will help in saving the dust or paint to get to the floor.

If the remediation is taking place outdoors, you can use drop sheets. It will be an idea to catch any paint scrapings.

Pro Tip: Avoid scheduling paint remediation on windy days. Also, cover the doors and windows with plastic sheets. This will keep the dust out of the house.

Use Safe Stripping Techniques

If the dust spreads, it’ll be a bigger problem. So, you need to act smarter and use techniques that don’t result in spreading lead fumes or dust. The key to removing lead paint is reducing the dust’s amount as much as possible. And how can you do this? We can do this by using wet sanding or wet scraping techniques, basically by keeping the area wet. It’s better not to choose mechanical removal methods like sanding or grinding as it produces more lead dust. Following are some of the preferred options for lead abatement:

  • Enclosure: This involves covering the lead paint with a wall covering. But this is usually done for large surfaces like walls.
  • Replacement: Remove the window, door, or molding that is covered in lead paint. You shall replace it with a new one.
  • Paint removal: This is where you completely remove lead paint. Of course, this will create lead dust. So, hiring a certified professional to handle the removal step is better.
  • Encapsulation: This method seals and covers the affected area with a specific coating.

Do Not Spread the Dust 

The best way to prevent the dust from spreading is by turning off air conditioning and heating systems. Also, cover the vents with taped plastic sheeting. You may also remove the protective gear you’ll be wearing whenever you exit the work area. And while working, you need to use a vacuum with a HEPA filter that can periodically suck up paint and dust chips.

Finish Remediation

Ah, the final step (finally)!

You may use TSP, warm water, and a sponge to wipe down the remediated area. End the process by removing the protective plastic wherever you use it to mask off. Put the plastic in a plastic trash bag. Because, of course, saving the surroundings from lead exposure is still on the list. Putting the plastic in a trash bag prevents the dust from spreading. And, once you’ve dealt with the lead paint, it’s better to test the area again to ensure there’s nothing left behind.


If you want to DIY this “dealing” part, you may. But let us be honest with you, it’s best if you leave the testing and following steps to the experts. They know what to do and how to do it. This is a sensitive yet severe concern, and you can’t risk it, can you? Of course not.

The threats lead exposure imposes on you and your family are serious. So, it’s better not to trigger those unintentionally. But even if you decide to go with the DIY option, best of luck! You can start using a testing kit and can end up disposing of everything that might have the paint in it.

However, if you want to schedule a lead-based paint inspection, you can always count on GreenWorks Inspections. We’re here to serve you right and protect you well. Contact us today and save yourself and your family from lead exposure threats.