What type of lead paint inspection should I get?

Asked by John, Walpole, MA Tue Apr 22, 2008

I am a first time homebuyer looking at a property built prior to 1978. The house is well maintained with new windows and no visible paint chipping. As with many of the older properties, the lead paint disclosure lists “unknown.” From my research it appears that there are two options for a lead paint inspection. One inspection checks the entire property for lead while the other is more of a spot check. Should I have the full inspection done and then have the house deleaded if needed? We plan on starting a family very soon so I am not sure a spot check is good enough. Mass.gov shows that lead paint was found on a number of other homes on the street.

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Josh Barnett, Agent, Carney, OK
Thu Apr 23, 2015
Here is a great site for LBP info http://www2.epa.gov/lead/real-estate-disclosure
0 votes
Al Roppolo, Agent, Hingham, MA
Thu Apr 23, 2015
Its common to find lead paint in homes built pre-1978
Which should be taken care of if you have kids in the home.
Your home paint inspector can give you their opinion as well.
0 votes
Kelsey Compa…, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Tue Apr 21, 2015
This is a great question and it is good that you are getting an inspection done. You could talk to an inspector about this and see what they think. If there is led in the home you will want to get it taken care of right away. http://www.kirbyenvironmental.com/Services.html
0 votes
Jonathan Bow…, Agent, Stoughton, MA
Thu Apr 24, 2008
John, you seem to be very worried about the lead paint issue. In your case, I would advise you to buy a house that was built after 1978 because it seems like you would otherwise spend thousands of dollars on a process that will never entirely remove lead paint from the house unless you completely gut the property. In almost nine years of selling real estate I have had very few buyers, actually I can only remember one buyer, ever spending the money for a lead paint inspection. Good luck, Jon
Web Reference:  http://www.bowenboston.com
0 votes
Joe Michalski, , Philadelphia, PA
Thu Apr 24, 2008
It is typical to find lead paint in older homes. Abatement (or "deleading") is expensive and should only be done by contractors that demonstrate that they understand how to handle it properly (i.e. have a plan for minimizing dust, eliminating waste, etc). If you go this route, be VERY careful as even many professional painters, etc do not understand how to properly handle lead abatement.

Lots of good information can be found here: http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/leadinfo.htm#protect

Having said all of that, around the Philly area, it is quite common to simply keep piling on surface coats of latex paint to cover over the lead and reduce the potential for dust or chipping.

The areas to worry about the most are door frames and window frames where friction from the motion of the doors and windows can create flaking or paint dust (inhaling lead is far worse than eating it, apprantly). Also, pay special attention to the children's rooms.

The real difference in lead testing is that some companies use a machine (x ray technology) that detects lead right down to the wood, even if painted over. Others use only a swab test which will identify only lead that is on the surface. If you opt for a less thorough inspection, I would say to test children's rooms first (or more throoughly) and assume that if the rest of the home was built at the same time as the kid's rooms, then similar materials were used there, too.
0 votes
Gerry Bourge…, Agent, Leominster, MA
Wed Apr 23, 2008
Lead Paint is a serious issue that should never be taken lightly. It is Very costly to De-Lead a property and/or get a property within lead compliance (yes, there is a difference). AND Unless you want to be on the receiving end of a Lead Paint lawsuit - or having one of your children affected, I'd suggest getting the most comprehensive lead test available. It is worth every penny, and then some.
0 votes
Michael Giles, Agent, Beverly, MA
Tue Apr 22, 2008
Hi John,
There are many different factors involved. First of all, assume there is lead paint and that you will need to have the place deleaded. Now, If you plan on making renovations to the property you should wait until the renovations are done before having the test done. Tearing down walls and ceilings will stir up the hidden lead paint particles and most lead paint inspectors will tell you that this is more of a problem than kids chewing on window sills.
If you don't plan on renovating, have the test done and go from there. Use this link http://webapps.ehs.state.ma.us/Leadsafehomes/default.aspx to see if there have been any previous tests done on the home. Let me know if I can be of any more help.
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