Atlanta has so many lovely older homes throughout its many neighborhoods. Whether you’re buying one (congrats!) and painting it a new shade; you have lived in one for many years and are thinking about a remodel, which would include removing existing paint from your walls; or you have little kids (or pets!), it’s good to know if your home has lead paint. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a great resource if you’re wondering “does my home have lead paint?” and can answer many of your questions, as can your quality, professional home painter. But we’ve saved you the trouble right here! The following are the essentials of what you should know about lead paint and lead paint removal.
What is lead paint?
Lead is a naturally occurring element found in the Earth’s crust. It can be toxic to humans and animals, causing negative effects on health and wellbeing. it’s extremely dangerous for children and moderately dangerous for adults. Before people knew the health effects of lead, it was often an ingredient in paint, which is why it can still be found in older homes.
Buying an older home
If your home was built before 1978, it’s likely that it has lead paint. The seller of the home is required by law to disclose any information regarding the finding of lead paint in the home prior to the closing, and you typically have 10 days to get a lead inspection from a certified inspector.
What is a lead paint inspection?
A professional who specializes in lead paint can test the paint in your older home to tell you the lead content of every painted surface in the house. And yes, Castle Painting can inspect your home for lead paint — let us know!
How to safely remove lead paint
Please, do not attempt this yourself. Lead paint is only dangerous when detached from your surfaces and walls — without a professional’s know-how of how to safely remove lead paint, it’s just not a good idea to go at it on your own, and can contaminate your whole house. Your professional will assess the situation to determine one of a few tactics, including enclosure (covering the surface with a new surface), encapsulation (bonds materials to existing painted surface), replacement (of window and door frames, for example, if they are chipping), and finally, removal through scraping, sanding and heat stripping.
After it’s over
What’s perhaps equally as important as the removal, or coverup, is the cleanup. Lead removal leads to dust and debris that can be more hazardous after the work than it was before if you don’t clean your home properly and frequently. On a daily basis, any leftover debris should be misted with water, swept up and placed in double plastic bags. Then, wet-dust or wet-mop all surfaces. Use a HEPA-filtered vacuum on all surfaces (from floors to walls), which are specially designed to deal with lead dust particles. Always double bag your cleanup materials and don’t just dump it in the trash or the ground.
Contact your local health department or Castle Painting for help in determining if your home has lead paint, and for lead paint removal.
*Photo credit: Freedigitalphotos.net