Lead Paint? Don’t Panic!

If you have a house built before 1978, chances are there is or has been lead paint used inside it. However, while lead is dangerous to everyone, and especially to children, this isn’t a huge cause for alarm. Whole professions have popped up around the practice of removing this stuff, and the process isn’t really that difficult. However, depending on how much lead paint was used in your home, you may be looking at spending a pretty penny to get it fixed.

The professionals will probably suggest one (or a couple) of the following options, depending on your situation: enclosure, encapsulation, removal, replacement, or nothing. That’s right, they may just recommend you let it sit if it’s in good condition. However, that’s not typical at all. Enclosure is when you seal the lead paint in with other materials, like drywall for instance. It can’t chip if it’s literally sandwiched between two pieces of wall.

Encapsulation is similar; it means painting the area with a primer paint that is water-tight and seals everything in. If you’re attempting to solve your lead paint problem yourself, this is probably the easiest and most cost effective way to go. Removal is exactly what it sounds like: removing the paint with a combination of chemicals and sanders. Best to leave this one to the professionals, because the cure might be worse than the disease.

Finally, full replacement is when someone (hopefully a contractor unless you really know what you’re doing) rips out and replaces everything that’s been touched by lead paint. It’s expensive, but it also is your best bet that you’ve removed all the lead based paint from your house. Which method is the right fit for you?