Want to repaint your home exterior? If your home was built before 1978, then you may be dealing with more than just peeling walls and outdated colors—you may also have to contend with lead paint. Older houses frequently used lead-based paint, and it’s only in the last few decades that lead was recognized as potentially hazardous. So, you may need to take a few extra steps to ensure your family stays healthy if your home has lead paint.
Our painting team often is asked about lead paint in Michigan’s older homes. As a lead-safe certified contractor, we have the proper training and experience to safely and professionally handle lead-based paint so your home retains its value and your family stays well.
To help you understand the issues involved in addressing this type of paint, we’ve put together a handy list of the most frequently asked questions we get about handling lead paint the right way.
Is Lead Paint Something I Should Be Concerned About?
Current regulations may prohibit the use of lead paint, but unfortunately this wasn’t always the case. If your home was constructed any earlier than the 1980s, then the paint originally used on it almost certainly contained lead. Even if it has been painted since then, you may not know for sure whether any lead paint was properly addressed.
Why Is Lead Exterior Paint a Health Hazard?
It may seem like lead paint would only be an issue inside your home, but it’s just as much of a health hazard in exterior paint. When this type of paint is disturbed or begins to deteriorate, it can produce dust or fumes that you can inhale. Lead is a toxic substance, and exposure to it can affect our health with a number of symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Memory loss
- Abdominal pain
- Feeling distracted
To prevent health issues and protect your family, it is important to either remove the lead from the environment or encapsulate it. Handled with the right, lead-safe techniques, a professional paint contractor can help you address the issue while preventing exposure to toxic fumes, dust, or lead paint chips.
When Is It Okay to Paint Over Lead-Based Paint?
When the condition of the existing lead-based paint and the wall containing the paint are in good shape, then painting over them can form a barrier against the toxins in the lead paint. That barrier is called encapsulation.
But not just any kind of paint will safely cover the older, lead-containing paint. There are specific paints qualified as encapsulants that must be used to ensure that dust and fumes are minimized. This special paint is applied carefully and precisely over the lead-based paint to seal it, preventing toxic elements from being inhaled.
Although anyone can apply an encapsulant on their own, hiring a professional who is certified to do lead-based paint treatment is the safest way to properly encapsulate a painted space.
When Is Encapsulation Not a Good Idea?
If your home exterior paint is peeling or flaking, deteriorating, chipped or bubbling, then encapsulation is not a good idea. This is because any paint used to do the encapsulation is very likely to peel and flake as well. Eventually the toxins underneath the top layer of certified encapsulant paint will still be exposed, creating dangerous conditions for anyone who comes in contact with it.
If you’re uncertain about the condition of your exterior paint, it’s best to consult a lead-safe certified painting professional for advice. They can review your exterior for signs your home needs repainting, and assist you with creating a plan if you’re dealing with lead-based paint.
Should I Use a Professional Painter?
Addressing lead paint can be challenging and potentially hazardous, especially if you are not experienced in dealing with it. So, it’s best to turn to a home exterior contractor that is well-equipped to do the work safely.
In addition to looking for a painting contractor with good reviews and a positive reputation, you should also check to see if they are an EPA lead-safe certified contractor. This certification means the painting team knows how to safely meet EPA standards in handling lead paint without risking exposure to dangerous lead dust and fumes.
Enjoy Exterior Painting that Makes You Proud of Your Home
Beyond dealing with lead paint, there are many other benefits of painting your home’s exterior that a professional contractor can provide. You’ll enjoy enhanced curb appeal, updated style, added protection for exterior walls, and confidence in a dwelling that you’re proud to come home to.
John McCarter Construction is a lead-safe certified home exterior contractor with years of experience in exterior painting and other home renovation projects throughout the Detroit area. If you suspect your home has lead paint, we’d be happy to do a free assessment and consultation. Contact us today to learn more.