How to Handle Lead Paint Removal during a Renovation

Written by :- Axis Response Group

January 15, 2018

DIY projects are popular nowadays, especially when it comes to fixing up an old house and putting one’s personal stamp on it. However, many old houses, especially those built before 1978, are likely to have lead paint on the walls, doors, window sills, and other areas. Lead paint removal is serious business that’s best handled by a certified environmental contractor like Axis Response Group. Serving Glenview, Schaumburg, and the greater Chicago area, we know exactly what steps to take to ensure the job is done safely and efficiently.

Appropriate Dress

Before entering a lead paint-affected home, our professionals always dress appropriately. This means covering one’s entire body with resistant, disposable clothing, and using a respirator mask to guard against inhaling lead-contaminant dust. Lead particles in solid (i.e. paint) form aren’t nearly as dangerous as when the lead is broken/disturbed and converted into a dust cloud. Only masks with respirators proven to filter lead dust and fumes are acceptable. Fabric/paper dust masks are useless in the presence of lead dust.

Prep Before Testing/Removal

There are several precautions that must be taken prior to testing for and removing lead paint. These include:

●      Preventing children and pregnant women from entering the work site. Also, if bedrooms are located close to the work site, we suggest making arrangements for temporary living quarters.

  • Everything in the room – furniture, carpet, dishware, food, etc. – is either removed or covered with plastic sheets. Any plastic sheets used to cover flooring are secured to the wall or baseboard with duct tape.

●      Eating, drinking, and smoking are prohibited in the work area due to the risk of ingesting lead

Testing/Removal

Before removal can occur, testing must be done to pinpoint the areas of the renovation that contain lead. Sometimes this testing involves lead swabs, while other times we may cut into the paint and procure a chip for analysis. During the testing period, there’s always a possibility that dust-containing lead may crop up. For this reason, prior to testing we cover all windows and doors with plastic sheets, along with all heating and ventilation ducts, and switch off any running fans and AC units. Also, if more than one room of a house tests positive for lead paint, we work one room at a time, sealing off that particular room from the rest of the house.

If the home you’re planning to renovate tests positive for lead paint, one thing is certain: the removal process won’t involve heat guns or sanders. Both can easily convert lead paint into toxic dust, and heat guns are especially dangerous because lead is most harmful when heated to high temperatures. Instead, we commonly employ a “wet scrape method” which involves thoroughly wetting the paint before scraping it. The moisture helps keep the scraped paint from becoming dry dust. When all walls and other lead-containing surfaces have been scraped, the detritus is put into containment bags that we then dispose of at an EPA-designated location.

For safe, efficient lead paint removal done by experienced professionals, contact Axis Response Group today.

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