How To Test For Lead Based Paint – Part 1

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If you are renovating, repairing or painting a home or building built before 1978 you should take precautionary measures and take this quick and easy test to see if the paint has a lead base. This instructional video teaches how to preform a lead paint test on painted wood and metal with swabs that provide instant results. If the paint tests positive for lead, be sure to follow the safety measures described in this video.

We recently bought home #4, an 1886 Victorian home in Wisconsin. Although we have not yet moved in, I flew up there for a week to start cleaning and meeting with contractors to quote out a few things we would like done prior to moving in. My overzealous ambitions got the best of me after I had watched a video from This Old House about removing multiple layers of paint from woodwork. I decided to tackle our daughter’s bedroom woodwork and had planned on surprising her with photos of her newly painted room – but boy was I far off! While I didn’t finish her room, I did however learn a lot along the way as well as how to test for lead based paint!

What You’ll Find In This Post:

  • What is lead based paint
  • Why test for lead based paint
  • Should you be concerned if you have lead based paint
  • Safety precautions when dealing with lead based paint
  • Products to test for lead based paint
  • Video tutorial: how to test for lead based paint

How To Test For Lead Based Paint

 What Is Lead Based Paint?

Lead is a naturally occurring element (heavy metal – think high school science class) found in small amounts in the earth’s crust. Lead was added to paint to accelerate drying, increase durability, maintain a fresh appearance, and resist moisture that causes corrosion.

Why Test For Lead Based Paint?

Homes and buildings built before 1978 have a good chance of having lead-based paint in them. In 1978, the federal government banned consumer uses of lead-containing paint, but some states banned it even earlier. Lead paint is still present in many homes and buildings, however, often times it is under (many) layers of newer paint that does not contain lead.

Should You Be Concerned If You Have Lead Based Paint?

While lead has some beneficial uses, it can be toxic to humans and animals causing health risks and even death. Lead based paint in good condition typically is not harmful to you, however, if your home was built before 1978 you should regularly check for chipping, peeling, or deteriorating paint.

Safety Precautions When Dealing With Lead Based Paint

If there are areas of your paint that are of concern you should address them without excessive sanding. If you must sand, sand the minimum area needed by wetting the area first with water to reduce dust debris and clean up thoroughly with a safe cleaner. You should also always wear a respirator that is approved for lead based paint.

This instructional video teaches how to preform a lead paint test on painted wood and metal with swabs by 3M that provide instant results. If you are renovating, repairing or painting a home or building built before 1978 you should take precautionary measures and take this quick and easy test to see if the paint has a lead base. If the paint tests positive for lead, be sure to follow the safety measures described in this video.

YouTube video

This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure here.

Products Used In Video:

 

1) 3M Instant LeadCheck Swabs

2) 3M Medium Mold and Lead Paint Removal Respirator Mask

3) Dumond Chemicals, Inc. 3301 Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover, 1 Gallon 

4) Dumond Chemicals, Inc. 1324 Dumond Laminated Paper, 13″ x 300′ Roll

5) Wagner Furno 750 Heat Gun

I’ve Got Lead Paint, Now What?

Whether your paint has tested positive for lead or not, snag my free guide to proper paint removal to learn how to remove both lead based paint and non-lead based paint and how to use a heat gun to remove paint! Once you are ready for paint, be sure to check out my free 24 page eBook on picking neutral colors that you will love!

2 Comments

  1. I have a big area that was once an outside wall but now is inside, since an addition was added. There’s most likely lead paint which is in rough condition. I hope that covering it over with drywall and then primer and paint will be adequate to deal with the problem. Will this be possible? I’m a senior citizen and live by myself, with limited income and hard to find help.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Barbara, yes that should be good! I actually had a certified specialist come in to my home to take a look at my wood that is painted (with lead based paint) and give me tips on safe removal, etc. The gentleman explained that if the paint is not in good condition, then covering it is the best option. Removing it is difficult and tricky (I wrote about this in the blog post). Really the main concern is the DUST created by the lead paint when it falls off of the wood. So if you are covering it up and it will no longer be exposed, I believe you should be just fine! Best of luck! I’d love for you to send before and after photos!! …I’ll even share them on the FB page!

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