Lead-based paint, which is a significant health hazard, was banned entirely in 1978. Yet, lead paint can still be found on doors, windows, or railings in many homes built before that time. Removing lead paint can expose you and your family to health risks.
Safety precautions must be taken to reduce exposure if you plan to remove lead paint.
Why It’s Important to Safely Remove Lead Paint
Disturbing surfaces with lead paint creates lead dust, which gets into the body when ingested or inhaled. People may swallow or breathe in lead dust or fumes as they work on jobs that scrape, sand, blast, brush, or disturb surfaces that contain lead paint. Children may be exposed to lead as they perform ordinary hand-to-mouth activities.
Lead can cause lead poisoning and an array of health problems. In the body, lead can cause damage to the nerves, kidneys, blood, and reproductive organs. Children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to the effects of lead poisoning.
If you want to remove lead-based paint from your home’s walls, windows, ceilings, and other structures, it’s important to take certain precautions and hire a trained professional certified in lead-based paint handling.
How to Safely Remove Lead Paint
Here are some necessary steps to safely get rid of lead paint.
Test for Lead Paint
The first step is to test for lead paint to confirm your suspicions. You can do this using a home lead test kit or taking a paint chip sample to a certified lab.
Test kits react to two chemicals; rhodizonic acid and sodium sulfide. Lead paint will change color when it comes in contact with these chemicals.
You can also have an EPA-certified contractor conduct the test for you. They have proper X-ray gear to detect lead on painted surfaces. The three different methods an expert can use to test for lead in your home include dust samples, lead-based inspections, and lead risk assessments.
Protect Your Family
If, after testing for lead, you discover your home has lead-based paint, do not attempt to remove the lead-based paint yourself. Children are more susceptible to the effects of lead compared to adults.
Be sure to find temporary accommodation for preschool children, toddlers, and pregnant women until the removal work is done.
Wear Protective Clothing
To help minimize the possible intake of lead, be sure to wear protective gear, including gloves, goggles, footwear, and a respirator approved by the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Avoid eating, drinking, or smoking in an area where lead paint is being removed.
Prepare the Area
To effectively prevent paint chips and dust from spreading to other sections of the house, seal the area and the heating vents. Cover the heating vents and turn off your HVAC system to prevent lead dust from entering the ventilation system.
Remove all area rugs, drapes, and other items you need to work on in the room. Ensure the floor is covered with heavy plastic and sealed with tape. Avoid windy days, and cover doors and windows with plastic sheets to prevent dust from spreading in your home.
Use Safe Stripping Techniques
Make use of proper techniques that don’t spread lead dust or fumes. When removing lead paint, the goal is to minimize the amount of dust as much as possible. This is achieved by keeping the area wet and using wet scraping or wet sanding techniques.
It’s important to use an electric sander with a HEPA-filtered vacuum attachment.
Hazardous lead paint removal methods include open flame torching, machine sanding without HEPA attachment, sandblasting, and power washing without a technique to trap paint chips and water.
Final Clean-Up and Disposal
Once the paint is removed, a HEPA-equipped vacuum should be used on all surfaces, including walls, floors, ceilings, furniture, carpeting, and woodwork. Please do not use a standard household vacuum because it does not have enough power to trap lead dust particles.
The next step involves wet-mopping hardwood surfaces using a heavy-duty household cleaner. Another vacuum should follow this.
Debris from lead paint removal may be double-bagged and disposed of in household trash. You should never burn lead debris or dump it onto the ground. The mops and clothes used to clean up the area should be disposed of when the job is done.
It’s also important to have the remediated area tested for lead to ensure there’s none left behind.
Trust the Professionals to Handle the Job
Stripping lead-based paint can be difficult and hazardous. So, you want to hire a professional with the equipment and experience to handle the job and protect your family from the dangers of lead paint. Here’s why you should let the pros handle the job:
- A Lead-Safe Certified Firm should carry out EPA-certified: Lead-based paint removal. These professionals receive EPA-approved training and follow safe lead abatement practices. They have the equipment, skill, and experience to remove lead paint and repair buildings with lead paint safely.
- It’s safer: If mishandled, the lead removal process can become hazardous to you and your family. The chemicals can stain your home’s floors, carpets, and other woodwork. A professional contractor understands the special measures to take when dealing with lead paint.
- Better results: Stripping old paint can be tiresome, especially on larger surfaces. Hire a professional to make sure the paint is completely removed, and the surface is well prepared for a smooth and long-lasting new coat.
If you have an older home that needs repainting, don’t hesitate to contact Moss Roofing for quality lead paint removal services in Indianapolis. We have training in the most effective methods of removing lead-based paint and managing waste. We also protect our staff with the proper safety gear and equipment. Our team will restore your home and keep your family safe.