How to Remove Old Lead Paint
The use of lead paint has been banned for nearly 50 years now due to the link between the presence of lead paint and brain damage, as well as other health concerns (especially in young children). Still, lead paint remains in many homes and businesses that were built prior to the 1980s. In some cases, this lead paint poses a minimal threat, lying dormant and often trapped underneath other coats of paint. However, any presence of lead should be taken seriously, as it can pose health risks to you and your interior painting services.
Given enough time and movement, sealed lead paint particles can get released into the air and get ingested by those nearby. So, having your lead paint removed is an important step in keeping yourself and your people safe. That said, removing lead paint is a much more involved process than removing other types of old paint and must be handled by EPA-registered lead certified professionals. Without the proper experience and equipment, doing this on your own will likely release significant amounts of lead inside your property and make matters worse.
With all this mind, let’s go over how you should approach having your old lead paint removed.
Contact a Lead Paint Abatement Specialist
The first step to proper lead paint removal is determining whether lead paint is present, and where. To figure this out, you can’t hire just any local painters. Instead, hire a local lead abatement professional who can properly inspect your property inside and out. For the most thorough assessment, your inspector(s) will examine every painted surface inside and outside the building and take samples for later testing (typically X-ray testing). The test will then be conclusive (i.e. lead or no lead) or inconclusive. If the results aren’t clear, the inspector will need to perform more testing until an answer is found.
Depending on your needs, your inspector may also (or instead) perform less extensive evaluations, such as a risk assessment or hazard screen, which involves less targeted testing. These assessments may be done first to gauge whether or not a full lead-based paint inspection is warranted.
Determine Whether to Remove or Seal
If your lead paint inspector finds conclusive evidence of lead paint, they will inform you of two options for proper remediation: removal or encapsulation (sealing). Both options can protect the health of those nearby, but only the former guarantees a permanent solution.
Removing the Lead Paint
Safe lead paint removal requires proper technique and specific equipment to ensure lead particles are not released when disturbed. To achieve this, certified lead paint removal contractors work one room at a time. To prepare, they will remove or cover any furniture, rugs, curtains, or other objects on which lead dust might land. They will also seal vents and open windows to allow fresh air flow. Wearing protective equipment, they will then remove the lead paint by either manually scraping it or sanding it with wet material to minimize the spread of lead particles. Either way, they’ll immediately vacuum the loose debris as it occurs.
Encapsulating the Lead Paint
While complete removal provides a permanent solution, it can be an extensive, expensive process that also runs the risk of releasing lead dust inside the property. For these reasons, your certified specialist might recommend lead paint encapsulation as an alternative (though temporary) solution. As its name suggests, this process involves sealing the lead paint in place so it cannot release any of its materials into the air. Not just any paint can be used for lead encapsulation, though -- special elastomeric paint specifically designed for lead encapsulation is required. While anyone can purchase these products, lead-certified interior painting contractors will know which ones are the most effective and right for your situation.
Leave Your Old Lead Paint in the Dust
If you think your property may contain lead paint, you might hesitate to deal with it. However, taking care of your lead paint problem now will ensure the health and safety of you and your people and save you many headaches down the road. The EPA recommends that inexperienced individuals contact a certified lead-based paint abatement specialist rather than tackle this project themselves. Of course, after your lead paint has been removed or enclosed, odds are you’ll be due for a new paint job. If so, hire the Nashville painting company that always puts the customer first: Nash Painting.
To find out more about us, our services, and our values, call us at 615-829-6858 today!