November 15, 2023 - AMC Painting

Family-Owned & Operated Since 2006

Workmanship & Quality

Day: November 15, 2023

Lead Paint Abatement: What to Look for in a Lead-Based Paint Contractor

When it comes to lead paint abatement, hiring the right lead-based paint contractor is the first and most important step a property owner can take. Lead paint is a serious issue for home and business owners and any potential contamination should be taken seriously. Do you know if you have lead paint in your home right now? Do you know how to check for lead paint? We’ve broken down the basics of dealing with lead paint, including why it’s bad for you, how to tell if you have it and how to find the right lead paint mitigation specialist to help. 


Why is Lead Paint Bad? 

Lead is a very toxic metal that was added to paint decades ago to make the paint dry faster and to achieve super bright colors that were not as easy to accomplish back then. It also made paint last longer, which made it a more affordable investment. That also ensured that lead paint was used on everything. Walls, home decor, tools and even toys made for kids. If you know even a small amount about the toxicity of lead paint, the last item on the list should bring you chills. That is because children are the group most impacted by lead paint, which can cause the following effects:


  • Damage to the brain
  • Damage to the body’s neurological system
  • Damage to organs
  • Convulsions
  • Physical disabilities
  • Coma
  • Damage to fetal development
  • Developmental delays
  • Speech problems
  • Behavioral problems
  • Death


These symptoms are most likely to affect children, whose smaller bodies cannot protect them against the damage from contamination. The younger a child is, the more likely the child is to be seriously harmed by lead poisoning. That’s a big problem when you consider how easy it is for children to ingest or inhale lead. Lead can enter the body through:


  • Ingestion: A child eats lead paint chips or puts their hands in their mouth after touching lead paint chips or dust. 
  • Skin contact: Lead can seep into the skin and enter the bloodstream.
  • Inhalation: The worst of the three, inhalation allows the poisonous properties of the lead to enter the body much faster. 


While we are focusing on the most vulnerable here, it is critical to remember that lead paint damages adults, too. Thousands of painters died from exposure before the paint was banned in the 1970s, as did many other adults. It may take more lead contamination to do damage, but that should not deter adults from mitigating lead paint, even if they do not have children in the home. 


How to Tell if You Have Lead Paint

You cannot simply tell you have lead paint by looking at your walls, and this is not a “give it your best guess” situation. If you are concerned you have lead paint, here are a few factors that can help you take the next steps:


  • Lead paint testing: There are lead testing kits available in your local hardware store you can use. However, it really is better to hire a professional to test for lead first. Even handling the paint to perform the test can contaminate your body. Not only that, the tests can be inaccurate, especially if you are not experienced with the process. 
  • Lead paint inspection: A professional can assess your areas of concern and perform tests to determine if you have lead paint. . 
  • You received a lead-based paint disclosure statement during the sale of your property: The law requires that sellers provide a disclosure statement if there is the potential for lead exposure in the home. 
  • Your home or business were built before 1978: Lead paint wasn’t made illegal for use until the late 1970s. That dramatically increases the chances that you may have lead paint. 


Whether you know that you have lead paint or suspect you might based on the criteria above, there’s actually a pretty easy way to solve the problem. And no, it won’t involve burning the structure to the ground and starting over, nor ripping out the walls. In fact, the latter is actually likely to increase contamination and introduce lead dust into the air. Lead paint removal can even be illegal to complete on your own, depending on the codes and requirements of your city. The best solution, oddly enough, is more paint. The key to making it work is to hire an EPA-certified lead paint contractor.


Top Things to Look for in a Lead Paint Contractor


The Contractor Uses Lead Encapsulating Paint

Lead paint  encapsulation uses a specialized paint to coat the entire surface of the affected area. As it dries, it bonds to the old paint as it hardens, forming a protective coating that seals in the lead paint. Your lead paint specialist should use lead encapsulating paint to ensure the mitigation process is performed properly. 


Contractor is Knowledgeable About Coverage 

It’s not enough to encapsulate the paint. Your contractor should also demonstrate they have a thorough understanding of how to apply the paint so that it is actually effective. If they paint the wall but fail to seal the lead paint behind the trim or molding, then you still have the potential for lead paint exposure.  


Contractor is an EPA Lead-based Paint Certified Contractor

The Environmental Protection Agency has established several requirements for lead paint mitigation under the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule. Anyone who works with lead paint is required to complete a specific training and certification program on the proper lead paint abatement process. It is imperative that you ensure your contractor’s lead paint certifications are up to date — and that they have them in the first place. 


Many painting companies might mention they can work with lead paint or have experience abating it. However, you should ensure that statement is backed by the appropriate training and certifications. Certified renovators, painters and repair specialists must demonstrate skill, knowledge and recorded evidence of training in order to be compliant. If you know your painter is certified, you can be confident that your painted surfaces will be properly encapsulated and you and anyone else on your property will be protected. 


Don’t Push Lead Paint Abatement to the Bottom of Your To-Do List

If you suspect you have lead-based paint in your home or business, it is very important that you begin to address it immediately. This is particularly important if you have small children, medically fragile individuals or elderly adults living or working on your property. Lead paint is extremely toxic and can cause irreparable harm. Hiring a certified lead-based paint renovation contractor will ensure the mitigation process is completed safely and properly. 




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