Help! Lead Paint found after sanding/stripping baseboards

NJhomeownerSeptember 12, 2011

Bear with me folks. Me and my wife just purchased our first house a few weeks ago and jumped right into some remodeling. First up paint and then floors. We started sanding last week as previous owners must have painted with blind folds on as their are paint globs and runs everywhere.

Anyway, I got really into it and started chugging away with a power sander to get rid of all the defects in the walls. As I am sanding yesterday and the dust is flying, it hits me, should I be concerned about lead paint? The house was built in 1968. So today i go out and buy a home testing kit. Better late than never.

I have sanded the walls, window trim and baseboard trim of 3 rooms (Dining Room, Master BR and Bedroom Hallway).

Good News:

No hit for lead on any of the walls of the rooms. I made sure to test in places where multiple shades (paints) were exposed

No hit on any of the window trim. Makes sense as all the windows were replaced in the 2009.

Bad News:

Lead paint hit on base board trim, 2 layers down.

As my wife was sanding the baseboards, she noticed the paint was easily peeling away. So she pulled it away revealing another layer. That layer i am unfortunately getting a positive reading.

No kids yet, no pets.

My question to you all, what extent can I go to remediate? I looked into this and understand i could get Child Guard Primer to encapsulate the baseboards? Should i remove the baseboards entirely? We didn't sand the family room yet, but my wife did remove the shoe molding in anticipation of having the floors refinished in two weeks, and some of the baseboard trim with lead is exposed now too.

How concerned should we be? The lead paint looks to flake off only, the layer above that is which comes off easily (essentially peeling off) Any help/advise would be greatly appreciated. Quite honestly I dont know what to do.

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From a personal safety standpoint, I would not worry about it too much as long as you take precautions when you are working with it. Information about those precautions are readily available.

It might be worthwhile to replace the baseboards, however, because the word lead has become scary to many people and it might affect the resale value of the house even though it is irrational.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 7:38PM
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lol well, my wife went to town on the baseboard in the dining room with my sander removing all of the top coat of paint exposing all the lead based paint. All she wore was a cheap nuisance mask (not hepa rated) and while we did tape the entranceway up, it is in no way officially contained.

Baseboard trim is at min $15 per 8 feet. Child Guard is $55 a can. Should I suck it up and remove the baseboard and door trim or just go ahead and paint using the child guard? Oh the joys of homeownership

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 9:02PM
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The following is just my opinion, but, using the Child Guard will leave you with ugly baseboards and you will still have the lead paint stigma when you go to sell. Unless you have an historically significant house that should be preserved, I would remove and replace the trim.

It isn't something you need to do today. But you should do it before your wife becomes pregnant - if that is in the plans.

Personally, I wouldn't worry too much about your exposure thus far, but a blood test for lead at your next physical exam could relieve any concerns you have.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 10:23PM
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Being a paint contractor I deal with lead all the time. I think people do get carried away with the dangers of lead. Im sure your walls and ceiling where originally painted with lead paint, as well as your exterior siding. As long as you have a layer or in your case multiple layers of paint covering the lead base layer, it is contained at that point. It really cant hurt anything at that point.
If it was me I would replace all the trim just because its a pretty easy fix considering. That way you wont have to worry about that part again. It will also look a lot better. The MDF baseboard works good, and paints well if your gonna paint it, and is rather inexpensive. Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 2:53AM
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I am going to suck it up and just remove baseboards now. It will help with my piece of mind, and it will make it easier to paint walls and refinish the floors next week. I may try to have door trim replaced asap as well we'll see. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 7:50AM
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