DIY Lead Paint Precautions

kalmiopsis48February 16, 2012

Somebody please tell me if these are sufficient precautions for do-it-yourselfers:

I was going to paint my bedroom and my adult son offered to prep it for me. House was built in 1950.

One evening he started scraping & sanding to smooth walls. Discovered the original wallcovering was wallpaper, followed by a layer of light blue paint that was powdering, followed by a couple of coats of latex paint that were loose and came off in strips because of the powdering.

Next morning, I realized the powdery paint likely contained lead. We read the EPA guidelines for dealing with lead paint removal or encapsulation and some contractor-talk online about the subject. Couldn't find a local lead abatement specialist in the phonebook or online (and don't have the money for one from another town).

Realized EPA guidelines are probably extra-cautious because professionals risk exposure on a continuing basis. Besides, I've already lived in this house 30 years and raised 2 kids in it, but in the past I just washed the walls and then painted them.

We decided to wet down the wall and scrape it while wet, no sanding. We covered furniture, floors and doorways with plastic drop cloths. We wore respirator masks and didn't eat or drink while working, showered right afterward, and washed our work clothes each day separately from other clothes.

When wet, the wallpaper and paint came off in strips. We double-bagged and threw away the drop cloths and scrapings. We vacuumed with a HEPA bag and wet-mopped the floor after removing the debris. Also double-bagged the HEPA bag before disposing of it in the trash.

My son sealed the wall with a coat of Zinsser Gardz, then skim-coated the wall with wallboard joint compound. (He was planning to do the skim coat even before we got into the lead issue.) Now he will go over it with another coat of Gardz before we paint it.

Does this seem like sufficient precautions? Is there anything else I should do when tackling the next room or that my son should know before volunteering to help someone else?

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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

Does this seem like sufficient precautions

more than enough

I would have actually tested for lead before going through all that

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 4:32AM
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Same comment about testing first. Otherwise, you are good.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 2:02PM
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You're supposed to wear tyvek suits and dispose of them with the rest of the waste, because the lead dust in your clothes will contaminate other things in the washer. Other than that, you did it exactly by the book. There are cleaning products optimized for lead dust. Like TSP.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 7:33PM
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