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Old 06-24-2017, 08:33 PM
9 posts, read 6,871 times
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My husband and I recently bought a house in Melrose built in 1890. We currently live in a deleaded apartment so I have never had to worry about lead paint. The house does have some spots where paint is chipping on the baseboards and banister. We are going to have a painter touch it up before we move in. Now I'm starting to worry hay won't be enough and we should look into deleading. My fear is that the deleading process could be extremely expensive. Anyone have experience with deleading? Our house is about 1700 square feet. It had new windows and vinyl siding. Is it enough to just keep your house well maintained? Our house has a lot of painted molding.
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Old 06-25-2017, 07:44 AM
Location: Montreal
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Unless you plan to strip or sand your mouldings, baseboards etc, I wouldn't worry about it. The problem with an older house, and mine dates back to 1875 is that the trim is oftentimes multilayered in paint. The older paint layers contain lead. If your trim is OK, let it be and try to not add too much paint over time by choosing quality opaque finishes. An expensive but potentially rewarding possibility is the removal of all trim and stripping of paint by a contractor in a shop. One advantage is that the walls where the mouldings are removed can more easily be glazed by fine coats of plaster to correct defects before the trim is added back on. If you have old paneled doors, you can also strip them yourself by removing them and working on them in a shed or outdoors with proper protection. In the US, a lot of fuss is made around lead particulates. In Massachussets, you may want to check about what and how you are allowed to do yourself. In Canada, there are no laws governing this, it's a free ride.

If you or your partner or someone you know are handy, removing the trim can be done, but the older wood esp. Pine is dry and brittle. Baseboards are more difficult not to break because they usually have more and tougher nails.

If you leave your trim alone because it is OK, not too caked with paint, then dont worry about the walls. They have layers of lead paint beneath the subsequent coats but if left alone, they will not be problematic. You can even repair and glaze thin coats of plaster to straighten them out and sand without worry. Wear a mask when removing and sanding. Do a good job of vacuuming. Good luck and don't worry too much about it. The vinyl cladding will do more to damage the environment over time than the lead in thin coats of paint that was used as an opacifier.
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Old 06-25-2017, 07:56 AM
Location: North of Boston
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What's your concern? Do you have small children?

The danger from lead paint is if you ingest it. Don't gnaw on your painted woodwork and you will be fine.
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Old 06-25-2017, 10:08 AM
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I have a two year old and a baby on the way. There is some chipping paint on the baseboards and banister.
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Old 06-25-2017, 11:37 AM
Location: North of Boston
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Originally Posted by Ski98 View Post
I have a two year old and a baby on the way. There is some chipping paint on the baseboards and banister.

Well then, that is a legitimate concern.

I would not remove any of your woodwork, better to leave it alone. Lightly sand the affected areas, patch with spackling or lightweight joint compound, sand again, prime with an oil-based primer and then paint with a latex semi-gloss.
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Old 06-26-2017, 07:31 AM
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OP, there are home lead test kits available to test areas of concern. I'd pay attention to high wear areas around doors and windows as this is where small paint chips can fall and be ingested.

A child doesn't need to gnaw on the wood to ingest it. It can be picked up as innocently as a child eating a sandwich looking out a window and putting the sandwich down on loose paint particles. Best protection for this is to encapsulate the paint in good, fresh modern paint, and monitor it for chipping and touching up. With the lead paint under a few layers of modern paint (which is the case these days in many old houses) it's really not a huge issue at that point unless the child does actually chew on the wood.

I grew up in a house built in the 1890's that was mostly original through the 70's and 80's. When we remodeled it in the 90's, I did a bunch of lead testing and it was difficult to find any due to the sheer number of layers built up over the years. I'm sure it was there, but I'd really need to sand down to the original layers to find it.
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Old 06-26-2017, 08:13 AM
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There are certified lead safe painters in MA. Google RRP.

Massachusetts makes deleading so insanely expensive, it prohibits people from doing it. Focus on chipping paint and friction points (doors and windows).
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Old 06-26-2017, 10:49 AM
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The level of mitigation needed will depend on how bad the paint is flaking, and how many layers deep etc. and as BostonBurbs said focus on the friction areas in addition to anything that is flaking - having new windows is a big help as that is a source that is often overlooked.

Assuming there is lead paint a few layers down, it could be a relatively easy fix - remove the loose stuff and paint over it with primer and final. This won't cost a whole lot more than a standard interior paint job .... and can escalate quickly/$ from there. Unless it is extremely minor, I would suggest using a painter who knows what they are doing (certified). You don't want someone using a power sander and making it far worse.

Some painters will also use an approved encapsulant like ChildGuard but again very dependant on the situation. ChildGuard Lead Based Paint Encapsulant

I wouldn't ignore it but I wouldn't freak out either. Pretty much every house that was built through late 50's used lead paint at very minimum in base boards and trim work and anything built prior to 1978 should be checked. Most people have mitigated it by painting over it, usually many layers deep at this point.
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Old 06-27-2017, 06:37 AM
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Do keep in mind that the whole lead poisoning of children by paint thing started by ghetto children being left alone all day boredly chewing on window sills, etc. if you keep your painted areas in good repair and your children are not chewing on window sills, they will be fine. Remember, every person in the US who was born before about 1970, grew up in houses with lead paint. 99.999% of us are just fine.

I am not saying we shouldn't have gotten rid of lead in paint and gasoline, but the level of freakage about this and asbestos has run way way past what is justified by the facts.
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Old 06-27-2017, 07:13 AM
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We went through this process when our first was about a year old. Half of our house was built in 1775 and all of the woodwork/doors are original. We had a lead inspector come in, which is a slippery slope. The inspector files a report, which is basically just paperwork that says that there is lead in your house and details where. So now when it comes to those lead forms when you're renting or selling a house (where most people just say that the presence of lead paint is "unknown")--we can't check the "unknown" box anymore because there is paperwork saying there IS lead paint in the house. But we wanted to know exactly where the lead paint was so we could tackle the de-leading process.

The cost to de-lead is very expensive. It would have been at least $40K to completelyl de-lead our house (only about 1,500 square feet of our house is original). We ONLY focused on the most critical areas, like in the windows where the sashes going up and down could create lead dust. Or areas around the doors where opening and closing could create lead dust. We spent about $10K on stripping some things and replacing others (if it was original, we didn't replace it). We also had a fresh coat of paint applied in every single room, so that was another $3 - $4K (I did half of it myself).

If I had a chance to do it over again, I would not have bothered with the inspection and the de-leading that we did. Really it was somewhat pointless since we couldn't do everything (so our house isn't lead-free), and we could have easily just spent the money to paint everything and have been done. Our girls are 3 and 5 now, so we've had the annual lead test done on them for years and it's never come back as above "normal" levels. I think my husband and I were just being overly cautious since we had one baby and were planning to have another soon, so we got caught up in it.
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