How to test your home for lead paint

Older homes can offer the charm and nostalgia of life in a different era. But homes constructed before 1978 can also factor an additional consideration for home-owners: the possibility of the presence of lead-based paint.

Lead is a chemical that is highly poisonous for humans and pets. According to the World Health Organization, there is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe.

Children are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning because their young physiology absorbs lead at a rate much faster than adults. They’re also at higher risk because of their natural curiosity and tendency to put objects in their mouth.   

What you can do

Pick up an inexpensive lead test kit at any major retailer. Here’s a few recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency. Perform the test as outlined in the manufacturer’s usage instructions.

If your home tests positive for lead paint, make it a priority to regularly wipe down surfaces like window sills and sills. Watch for loose paint chips and carefully dispose of them using disposable gloves or a wet paper towel.

Renovation precautions

If you’re DIYing home improvements, follow these steps to protect yourself and your family.

  • Use a face mask and eye protection while performing work in the presence of lead paint.
  • Cover the entire work zone with plastic sheeting, including six feet beyond its boundaries. Secure the edges with tape.
  • Cover counters, windows and windowsills, and any horizontal surface with plastic sheeting and seal with tape.
  • Regularly mist water on the sheeting to keep dust from spreading through the air.
  • Gently break apart wall surfaces instead of using a sledgehammer to avoid spreading lead dust in the air.
  • If using a power tool that cuts or grinds wall material, connect it to a vacuum fitted with a HEPA filter to catch dust as it forms.
  • After completing renovations, conduct another lead test to determine if lead dust remains in the area.

Contractors who perform home renovations are required to follow these precautions. Ask if your contractor is a certified lead dust sampling technician before hiring them to tackle your project.

At Graystone Painting, we’re certified to safely perform home painting and handyman services that will protect your family from the dangers of lead paint. We’re happy to help you make your home a safe haven from lead paint. Give us a call.