Painting Over Lead Paint Walls? Here's How to Do It Safely!

calander Jan 30 , 2023 user-icon Nash Painting

Painting over lead paint walls can be an intimidating task, but with the right preparation, knowledge, and safety protocols in place, you can give your interior space a makeover without risking any health hazards. In this blog post we'll talk about how to identify lead paint, prepare the room for painting, and safely paint over those walls.

It's also important to note that the steps we've outlined below are based on a couple of foundational assumptions: first, that your walls are in good condition and only need to be repainted, and second, that you use a proper encapsulant paint. You can seal in lead, but it can't be done with just a standard house paint. Please only go into this process if you've researched it thoroughly! If you have any questions or reservations, it's best to contact a professional painter that can help with lead encapsulation.

Please also note that you cannot scrape, sand, or disturb walls painted with lead-based products unless you have ventilation equipment, proper training and credentials, and a way to completely contain and dispose of the lead paint. It's a specialized process and should NOT be tackled by a general homeowner.

With those key points shared, let's move on!

Table of Contents:

  • Identifying Lead Paint

  • Preparing the Room for Painting

  • Safely Painting Over Lead Paint Walls
    • Choosing the Right Type of Paint for the Job:

    • Properly Ventilating the Room During Painting:

  • Conclusion

What is Lead Paint?

Lead paint is a type of paint containing (you guessed it!) lead as an ingredient, and was used on the interior and exterior of homes until 1978 when it was banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission due to its toxicity. Lead-based paints are still available for certain industrial uses but should not be used in residential settings.

How to Test for Lead Paint

The only way to know for sure if you have lead-based paint in your home is to test for it using a certified laboratory or testing kit designed specifically for this purpose. Professional laboratories use X-ray fluorescence (XRF) technology which can detect even trace amounts of lead in samples taken from walls, windowsills, door frames and other surfaces where old layers of paint may remain hidden beneath newer coats of non-lead based paints. Other areas such as porches or decks may also contain traces if they were built prior to 1978 with materials that contained high levels of lead at the time they were manufactured. Additionally, window sills, door frames, baseboards and stairwells are common areas where you might find lead-based paints.

Key Takeaway: Lead paint was widely used before 1978 and is a hazardous material. Testing for lead paint should be done with a certified laboratory or testing kit to identify its presence in your home. Common areas where it may be found include windowsills, door frames, baseboards, stairwells and porches built prior to 1978.

Preparing the Room for Painting

Before beginning any painting project, it is important to properly prepare the room. Removing furniture and covering floors and fixtures helps protect them from paint splatter. This can be done by moving furniture away from walls and into the center of the room or out of the space entirely if possible. Covering floors with drop cloths will help keep them clean during painting. Additionally, fixtures such as light switches should also be covered with painter’s tape for protection.

Cleaning walls before painting is also essential. Start by wiping down all surfaces with a damp cloth to remove dirt and dust buildup that could affect how well the paint adheres to the wall later on.

Finally, applying primer helps ensure better coverage. Primer creates an even base layer which allows colors to show up more vibrantly while also providing additional protection against moisture damage over time since it acts as a sealant between your wall surface and topcoat layers of paint. It is important to choose one specifically designed for use over lead-based paints so that you get maximum benefit from its application.

Once the room is properly prepared, it's time to safely paint over your lead paint walls.

Key Takeaway: When painting over lead paint walls, it is important to properly prepare the room by cleaning and covering surfaces, then applying a primer specifically designed for use with lead-based paints.

Choosing the Right Type of Paint for the Job

It is important to select a high-quality, low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint when working with lead-based surfaces, and one specifically formulated for lead paint encapsulation. This will help reduce emissions and protect both your health and that of your family from potential exposure to hazardous chemicals. Additionally, oil-based paints should never be used on these types of surfaces due to their higher VOC content which can cause further contamination.

Properly Ventilating the Room During Painting

When working with lead-based surfaces it is essential that proper ventilation techniques are employed throughout all stages of painting - from preparation through clean up - in order to avoid inhaling any toxic particles released into the air. Open windows and doors whenever possible, use fans, wear protective masks, and consider using an exhaust fan near where you’re working if necessary.

After completing a project involving lead-based paints, it is important that all leftover materials are disposed of safely so as not to contaminate other areas or people who may come into contact with them later on. Contact your local waste management company for information on how best to dispose of such items according to their regulations in your area.

Key Takeaway: When painting over lead paint walls, safety should be the top priority. Choose a low-VOC paint, properly ventilate the room and dispose of leftover materials safely.


Painting over lead paint walls is a task that requires special attention and care. With proper preparation and safety measures in place, you can safely complete your project with confidence knowing that you have taken all necessary steps to protect yourself from potential health risks.

Are you looking to give your home a fresh, new look? Nash Painting can help! We specialize in high-end residential and cabinet painting services. Contact us today to learn more about how we can transform your space!