peeling off exterior lead paint

per08July 22, 2010

The house is very old. Recently we found the paint on exterior wood (such as eaves, garage trims) are peeling off.

We talked to paint contractors about repaint the exterior. They all said that the loose paint needs to be scraped or sanded away. But None of them mentions about the possibility of lead. I sent paint chip for testing. And the result shows it contains high level of lead. I only tested the paint on the wood; that's where the paint is peeling off. The paint on the stucco is different and looks very solid.

We have small child at home, and we are expecting another baby. We want to play it safe. Any advice?

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Billl

Under the new laws, anyone who removes lead paint is going to have to be certified and follow some set procedures. If your contractor isn't familiar with this, you should find a new contractor.

Basically, they are going to take steps to make sure that the paint that comes off doesn't make it to the ground. Everything will be bagged up and taken off your property to be properly disposed of. Of course, that is going to be more expensive than a standard paint job.

Also, if you are really concerned, you should have the soil around the house tested. Any paint that has chipped and flaked probably just fell down to the ground below.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 10:13AM
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kudzu9

Just because there is lead paint doesn't necessarily mean you have a problem. However, I agree with everything billl says in his post, particularly about the possible soil contamination. The main questions, if you do nothing, are: 1) Can the soil close to the house, even in small amounts, get walked on and tracked inside?, and 2) Could your kids come in contact with contaminated dirt by playing near the house? Children are notorious for having their hands in their mouths and this is one way lead contamination gets into their bodies.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 2:21PM
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per08

Today a EPA lead certified painter came and gave estimation. He asked for $5000. Is he asking too much? Previously other painters asked for $2000. I understand that covering/masking needs additional labor than a standard paint job. But does those covering/masking need $3000?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 2:38AM
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PRO
Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

yes

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 8:26AM
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kudzu9

It's a much more complicated job to deal properly with this. It takes more time, requires protective gear, and payment of hazardous waste disposal fees. I don't know if that is a good estimate, but I'm not surprised by that price difference given what's involved to do it properly and safely. However, you should always get several estimates for any job. And on stuff like this, you also need to check out references, even if they are or claim to be EPA-certified.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 3:03PM
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per08

Thank you all for the reply. I'll get more bids.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 4:18PM
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per08

Today one contractor came for estimation. He said he would use stripper to remove the peeling paint.

I think stripping is a good idea. No lead dust generated, right? The total cost should be similar as regular paint job.

But he said he still need to follow the special procedures (such as cover 10 ft in the ground). I am waiting the estimation from him.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 9:02PM
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powermuffin

Even using stripper there will be sanding involved. The oldest layers of paint will not come off easily or in one layer. So be sure that the contractor uses equipment to sand that has a vacuum attachment like EPA wants. That is probably the best he/she can do. I'd have the ground/soil tested around the house a couple of weeks after the painting is done.

We are currently painting our house. We tried the heat gun, stripping and a leveling product. None of them was really any better than the other and sanding was involved with all of them. We decided to replace the worst clapboards and live with the rest. For us that meant replacing about 8 boards. I don't expect the clapboards to be perfect; it is an old house.
Diane

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 4:57PM
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per08

I got two bids, one is $2500, the other is around $3000. I think those bids are reasonable.

Now I am more worried about the roof, as I need to re-roof as well. I don't want to have a crying baby and leaking roof at the same time. Apparently, the roofer I am going to hire has no experience on lead paint. Some eaves has dry rot, and needs replacement. The gutter and spout also have similar paint.

For roofer, what's the regulation on lead paint?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 11:58PM
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Billl

Presumably, the roofer isn't going to try to get any paint off the house. If a board is damaged, he'll remove the board and replace it. That is much less likely to spread lead around.

Of course, he should dispose of any lead containing products in an acceptable way - ie not just take it to the dump. That might be an unexpected expense for him.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 9:24AM
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