How To Safely Remove Lead Based Paint From Walls


Lead has long been recognized as a harmful ingredient in paints. Paints used in the 70’s often contained lead. Lead can have adverse effects on the health of children, pregnant mothers and generally everyone. Its effects are prominent in kidneys, brain, central nervous system and blood cells. These effects are usually fatal and it is therefore important to take good care while handling lead based paints.

When to remove
Lead based paints will not pose a hazard unless the paint is deteriorating. Ensure that you are removing the paint only when it is necessary. These times could be if the paint is peeling, when you are remodeling your house or when you are doing it as a preventive measure.

Source of problem
Look for what is causing the paint to chip or peel. These could be plumbing problems or leakages on the roof. Make sure that you fix these problems to avoid any further problems in future.

Clear the work area

Separate the work area from the living area. Ensure that the dust associated with the remodeling process is contained only in the work area. This can be done using a proper ventilation strategy or using barriers. 

Prepare the area

Before you begin removing the paint, protect surfaces in the room such as floor and also protect furniture and other equipment in the room by covering them with plastic sheets. Scraping window sills, removing molding or sanding woodwork could release lead particles in form of dust. Also remove drapes, curtains, toys, rugs and any removable furniture in the room as these may trap dust.

Protective gear

These are necessary to protect yourself from the harmful lead dust. Your whole body should be covered so as to completely reduce your chances of contacting the lead dust.  Also let everyone not involved in the process leave the building. 

Paint removal

There are a number of ways of removing lead based paints:

Heat stripping . This involves using a low temperature heat gun and later scrapping by hand. However, this method should only be used by experienced people as the gun could cause fires.

Wet hand scrapping or wire brushing . This involves using liquids to remove the paint. The non- flammable solvents are usually used on small areas. Manufacturer’s instructions should be followed when using solvents.

Sanding (wet hand or using power). HEPA filtered vacuum attachment is necessary for electric sanders or wet hand sanding equipment. This helps to contain the dust. Dry sand increases chances of more dust formation. Interior renovation Long Island discourages use of equipment without the HEPA attachment, using abrasives to remove the paint and open flame torching.

Clean up

Carefully remove the plastic sheets. Hold them by the corners so as not to drop dust. Cleaning procedures are also provided on the internet. By following these procedures for daily and weekly cleaning, you will be safely handling lead- based paints. Overall care should always be taken when handling lead- based paints as their effects are hazardous.


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