Curbside Molding...lead paint maybe?

flowermumAugust 10, 2009

I found a bundle of molding and trim pieces alongside a curb last week. There were 12 foot pieces and smaller sizes with the nails still attached, they also have several layers of paint on them. I removed all the nails and I want to use the pieces for chair-rail inside my home, but I'm concerned about the possibility of lead paint because I researched the homes in that area and I believe they were constructed in the 40's.

I went to Lowe's and Walmart looking for a lead-test kit but they didn't sell them. Walmart has the kit online.

Any tips regarding the possibility of lead? Or any tips for refinishing the pieces? They are currently painted a muted yellowy color and I want to paint them a Country White.

(They are presently stored in my garage and I don't have little wee-ones running around.)

Thank you

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I seem to recall reading that the DIY lead test kits weren't all that accurate but my memory could be at fault.

Assume it's lead based paint and proceed accordingly.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 3:39PM
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The DIY lead kits are accurate as long as all the paint layers are exposed.

Evil Orange has them.

Stripping results in a lot of lead contaminated waste.
Unless it is very fancy molding a real lumber yard should have the exact same stuff in paint grade for less than gallons of stripper will cost.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 7:09PM
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Thanks guys for the follow-up to my question.

Brickeye---I thought I had made a score with the "free" trim, but you're right, it would be less of a headache to just purchase new lead-free trim.

I'm not familiar with Evil Orange but I may look into that before totally giving up on my freebies.

: )

Thanks a bunch

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 12:41AM
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OMG...duh, duh, duh to moi. I get it!

You meant evil orange/H.D.

I actually googled evil orange. It didn't occur to me what you meant until I saw the results of my search.


    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 12:46AM
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I've struggled with the relative merits of stripping old trim vs. throwing it away. By my reasoning, the leaded paint is going to end up in the landfill either way. So something else has to make the decision for you.

I do go with stripping whenever there is something underneath that I couldn't get any other way. For example, our house is a 1905ish vintage with original mouldings that are nearly 5" wide, and 7" baseboards, and they just don't make 'em like that any more. So we have stripped, taking reasonable precautions with respect to lead (and to a much larger extent, we haven't stripped - the bulk of our salvaged mouldings have remained in the basement for 15 years, resulting in a truly eclectic look in the house...).

But if it is a trim design that you can get new at any kind of store, then you might save the chemicals and the work and just get new trim.

Unless you are needing something to fill up your time :-)

And PS - I would put the salvaged stuff on craigslist just in case someone else wants to do the recovery.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 12:47AM
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See...I'd have loved to get my hands on some 1940's trim when we were re-habing (re-habbing? neither looks correct)our former home. It was built in 1942 and had "true dimension" lumber and trim. New stock trims did not match the original in one room we paid a serious premium to get stuff specially milled.

Of course, we worked under the assumption that all the paint in the house was leaded...wet-stripped and then sealed with an oil (or perhaps lacquer?) based primer. Whatever the pro in the paint store recommended. (It was 21 years memory isn't that good anymore). If you aren't going to use it, definitely CL it!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 8:51AM
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"New stock trims did not match the original in one room we paid a serious premium to get stuff specially milled."

A full service lumber yard should be able to order full size older trim.
There is one in Alexandria, Virginia that has been running well over 100 years (they have moved multiple times).

You can also save money by running the molding yourself with a router table and a few bits.
Some older patterns are available, and most of the rest can be created using multiple passes with multiple cutting bits.

For paint grade work I use mostly poplar from a hardwoods dealer so I can get whatever thickness I need to start from.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 4:40PM
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I still haven't decided what to do yet. I thought I could patch and sand down any rough areas and be done with it, but it's now growing into a HUGE project. When I first saw the molding on the curb I wanted it to make picture frames for my artwork, but after getting it home I realized it was enough to do a chair rail in one room plus some extra left over.

If I ever get the chair rail up I'll post a follow-up. When I look at my garage I always swear I'll never bring another thing/junk home unless I plan to actually use it immediately.

I have fantasies of being at Lowe's or HD and being chosen for one of those surprise home/landscape improvement shows. I think of how amazed they would be at all my finds/junk and the ingenious ways they would put them to use.

Diagnosis: Too much GW and HGTV.

Don't even ask what I brought home last night!

Is there a dumpster-divers anonymous group? (I don't actually go into dumpsters...only curbside for me.)

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 5:45PM
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