Remodel & Renovate in 90026>Question Details

Home Seeker, Other/Just Looking in Los Angeles, CA

dealing with lead paint?

Asked by Home Seeker, Los Angeles, CA Tue Apr 6, 2010

We're moving into an old house, with lead paint. We have a young child and would like to have the lead paint removed.

What's the best method of dealing with lead paint in an old house? Is painting over it the best solution, or does it have to be stripped off?

Can all house painters deal with removing lead paint, or are there experts.

Help the community by answering this question:


Unless the paint is chipping or peeling, there's no danger at all.
Trying to remove it will create a greater hazard then leaving it
in place, and painting over, (encapsulating), it.
Sanding or burning the paint off with a torch, will create persistant dust
or lead oxide powder that is somewhat dangerous to adults and very
harmful to children.
If you feel you must remove it, a liquid paint stripper will keep it in
a form relatively safe to handle.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 6, 2012
Painting would be the quick fix, but if it's been TESTED with a positive result, then the property owner is responsible for the removal of the lead paint. If this is the case, then you should have the lead paint removed by a licensed professional and have him certify it.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 27, 2010
Asking a Realtor is the wrong place to go!
We have an obligation to disclose and to hand you a government printed pamphlet on the matter!
As with most facets of buying a home, you should direct all technical questions with a licensed contractor who specialises in the problem that has come up! In the case of lead paint and how to deal with it, you need to go to a general contractor and ask what would be the best and safeest action be for our potential home!
I would treat this like any other important issue and get at least two opinions on this! Do not go to just a painter many have a license but a county license may not mean anything more than they paid for a license, General contractors are more liable to the work they do and to what they need to know to make proper fixes to a home! Some will give you free advice and then an estimate of what they can do for you, others may ask for a fee for their advice, simply put, your Family is too important to try and scrimp on fees, so in this case invest in theanswer and be sure the safety of you family is there!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 19, 2010
Dear Home Seeker,

There are companies who specalize in the removal of lead paint and asbestos. It will take proper licensing and they have to follow strict guidelines for the removal and disposal of lead and asbestos. I recently worked in a property that had both Lead and Asbestos and the inspector who evaluated the property gave this information to us.
Even though the worst contamination situation would be if the paint is old and chipping..I would get it removed from all living areas if at all possible .
For more information about lead paint see the government information at
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 6, 2012
There are companies that are experts in lead and asbestos removal.
Most of my clients have scraped the lead paint off themselves, and repainted it.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 19, 2010
You ca find excellent resources on the EPA's website:
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 22, 2010
A new EPA law comes into affect April 22nd (earth day) called Renovation Repair and Painting, it will affect any homes built prior to 1978 that you disturb more than 6 sq ft inside or 20 sq ft outside for any type of work , electrical, replace siding, painting. Any contractor working on your house disturbing this area's company must be registered with EPA and then there must be one supervisor who has been trained on the newly adapted process, it is quite thorough. We would suggest doing as much renovating before you move in. Give us a call if you have any more questions.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 7, 2010
After having determined that there was lead paint in my own home, we found a way to safely get rid of it. It's time consuming, but it works. There is a product called "Peel Away that will remove a lot of layers of paint all at the same time. You apply the Peel away paste, cover it with the special paper provided, wait up to 24 hours and then peel the paper off and the paint comes with it. We were able to remove 15 layers of paint in one fell swoop! It's messy and time consuming and requires neutralizing with a vinegar solution afterwards but it is safe and effective. You can find it at Dunn Edwards among other places.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 7, 2010
Hello Home Seeker and thanks for your question.

If the home you'll be living in is more than 30 years old, chances are high that there is lead paint on the walls. To see how many surfaces have been coated in a lead paint, check the surfaces with a lead tester available at most paint stores. You may need to check several layers of paint in order to determine if there is any lead paint since any new applications of paint will not necessarily show the presence of lead. Although, as the others have already mentioned, many coats of paint will often "seal" lead paint away from the inhabitants, doors, windows and window sills that have lead paint should be checked as surfaces (like door jambs) that "rub" against other surfaces can quickly expose and cause lead particles to become airborne.

If your home does test "positive" for lead paint there are several things you can do to contain or remove the paint. First, so long as the current paint coating is not chipping or broken, lead can be held safely under coats of paint. If the surfaces are chipped, you may wish to encapsulate the areas with a special paint intended to "bond" to the lead paint and to keep it from becoming exposed. This is not just regular paint, but a special encapsulating paint for lead painted surface--talk with your paint store to get more information about this product. If the lead paint is on the walls, the paint can be "encapsulated" by simply covering over the surface with wall paper or with another 1/4" sheet of drywall.

If lead is present in doors or door jambs or window sills, it is often less expensive to simply remove and replace those elements than to try to strip the lead paint from the surfaces. Unless you are familiar with removing these items in a manner that provides the least "surface disruption", it's best to leave both removal and replacement to a qualified contractor.

If you would like to remove the lead paint, there are several extremely good sites with information on how to remove small sections of lead paint. Check out handyman Ron Hazelton's site at for more information.

Good luck!!

Grace Morioka, SRES
Area Pro Realty
San Jose, CA
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
The best thing is not to move into an old house.

The second best thing is to repaint the house, and not disturb any of the lead paint - no sanding, etc.

It's beyond my expertise to determine whether removing lead-based paint is cost-effective, but I do know that it ain't cheap.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
Currently the federal regulations call for disclosing that lead based paint may be present. The most commonly used remedy is painting over the older lead based paint and encapsulating it. Several coats of fresh paint should serve to isolate the problem.

Abating the problem totally can be quite costly or dangerous if done by an untrained.

It generally helps to monitor these painted areas for chipping and other signs of deterioration that should receive immediate reapplication when damage is present.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
If the house was built before 1978 then there is probably lead base paint.

It becomes a hazard when it becomes airbourne. Lead base paint around older windows that slide up and down can cause airbourne particles as can peeling paint. Painting over it is usually enough to mitigate it.

If you want to remove it from the house completely, then you should get someone who knows what they are doing. It can be quite involved and expensive to do.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
Chemical stripping and mechanical removal are the 2 ways to remove it.

Painting over lead paint still allows the lead to remain.

mechanical removal would come down to either scraping or sanding. Sanding will create a lot of dust. That will get into your lungs without a professional grade respirator ($30-50)

I would look at chemical stripping. Just keep the sunshine away until the stripper does its job. It will evaporate in sunlight and high heat to quickly.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
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