My husband and I normally do all the remodelling in this house.
Previous owners said the outside wood siding (underneath the current
vinyl siding) has lead-based paint on it. Had the whole house tested
and sure enough only the outside has lead.
Husband refuses to install two much-needed new bay windows in 2
separate front rooms. Called several "good" contractors in the area -
none of them have procedures to carefully remove old windows without
disturbing (or at least taking precautions against) lead-based paint
dust. One said he did this for 20 years and no one has ever asked him
I have an infant whose new fascination is putting everything in her
Am I being overly cautious? Should I just let the contractors do their
thing and just clean up stuff myself afterwards? (HEPA filters, TSP
soap, etc.) Is it unreasonable to expect a contractor to do things
properly with regards to lead?
While one can be too paranoid, I don't think you are, with an infant
in the house. I would call a few- make that quite a few- more
contractors, until you find one who will do the removal with proper
precautions- plastic sheeting to isolate the area from rest of house,
vacuum to create negative pressure so the dust goes through vac filter,
thorough cleanup of area. You can follow with your own cleanup, wipe
down walls, etc. Infants do put everything in their mouths, and the
more we learn about lead, the more we find that it is harmful even in
minute quantities to infants. Qute a few middle class people who have
done home renovations have been shocked when their kids turned up with
high lead levels, which they always associated with 'the ghetto.'
Granted, yours is not a major renovation, but I would still take
I certainly think so...you're talking about only exterior paint on
siding encapsulated behind other siding and only removing an existing
window to replace it with a new one. I see virtually no problems here
as long as there is even the modicum of care taken to not just try to
see how much material can be scattered around.
You're not scraping old paint or otherwise really doing anything to
disturb the old paint--you're getting rid of it. I'd simply have them
put down some plastic and maybe if you're really concerned hang a drop
cloth around the area for confinement and have at it with a modicum of
care. Unless there is a tremendous amount of paint thickness and it's
just falling off the sills, etc., I can't see much reason to think
there will be any great amount released.
If the only lead is outside, you should be able to isolate it pretty
well. Cover window with plastic tarp, taped in place, when outside demo
work is being done. Stray paint chips, if there are any, should be easy
to pick up. Sanding or creating fumes would be the way to spread lead
around the interior. You probably have more hazardous stuff on the
toilet seat and door knobs - what you track in on shoes isn't sterile :o)
On 12 Sep 2006 09:06:51 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
It's not necessarily unreasonable, it's just likely
to cost you an extra $3000-$7000 for following
Was it me, I'd find someplace else to be for the time
it takes to do the windows, and clean thoroughly
afterwards. THere won't be enough led to cause acute
lead poisoning, and the exposure isn't long-term enough
to accumulate from chronic exposure.
After about 6 months, get the child lead-tested,
just for your own mental health.
There's no hazmat protocol for lead. You just wrap the old window in
plastic and carefully throw it in the dumpster. Extra cost is about
$10 for plastic and tape.
While the kids shouldn't be around in any construction project, this
whole thing will be done with in a day.
Lead is not a big deal in your case. Keep the infant away from the
construction, and clean up the yard after it's done using a rake and a shop
vac. If you keep the jobsite clean, there shouldn't be enough exposure to
harm your baby. Lead poisoning comes mostly in the form of either eating
paint chips or continual exposure to the dust. People have been surviving
both the application of lead paint and living in homes covered in lead paint
for a very, very, long time.
Here's a link for more info:
Don't let that contractor fool you; notices regarding lead paint are on
every paint can these days. There won't really be a lot of lead exposure
when installing windows. If the contractor has to cut or sand wood coated
with lead paint, he can wear a dust mask or respirator, though with 20 years
of experience I doubt this'll be the proverbial straw.
If your exterior paint contains lead, you should definitely paint the house.
That will take care of the dust and much of the chipping. There is no good
reason for not getting your windows installed.
Shouldn't rake or use shop vac. Use HEPA vac. You can rent them if you
don't have one. If you use shop vac., put on the wet filter and use it
do control dust. You don't want dust coming out of the vacuum.
If you keep the jobsite clean, there shouldn't be enough exposure to
Yes. And a wall painted with lead paint is perfectly safe as long as
it is in good shape, not getting abraded, etc.
Generally work should be done in a matter to mitigate or eliminate
dust. Wet sanding, for example. Cutting should be done wet. Before
pulling windows, etc. cut through paint with sheetrock knife to control
Of course. For a price. As soon as you start talking about
remediation and abatement (lead, asbestos and other toxins) the price
jumps by a factor of five or ten.
Is it possible that those "badly needed" bay windows are actually just
greatly desired? If so, waiting until the kid outgrows the oral thing
might be the easiest solution. It's not like it's forever.
If you're sure it's only the old siding that has the lead paint it's
not such a big deal. If the window is shut tightly there's little
chance of any lead dust or chips getting inside. Cover the ground with
plastic tarps to contain the chips and small stuff and keep it out of
the soil. Demo just the siding, cut back as much as necessary to
facilitate patching so you won't be distrubing the lead-painted siding
again later on. Lightly spray down the affected siding area with a
mist of water (two gallon pump sprayer works well) as you work - that
will help keep the dust down. When you're done with the demo give a
final rinse, remove the window carefully, pick up the tarps and you're
That's pretty much it. Work wet. Work carefully.
She doesn't need remediation or abatement. She need Lead Control and
Safe Work Practices. It should add much. You're probably used to
seeing remediation because you work on bigger projects -- so
remediation is necessary. But for this it is just control.
Might consider removing and replacing all wood around window that you
can get at without damaging siding, just to get rid of it.
Water can go down a drain. Put plastic in double garbage bags. Wrap
window and plastic.
BTW, Rico, did you know that on a Federally subsidized project that
needs remediation or abatement; that you can't enter the site without
taking the lead course. It's an interesting law because says the
architect and building inspector can't enter the work site. Talk about
a problem for getting draws. I run grant programs and I took the
course just so I can enter sites if I want to. It's a good idea for
architects for the same reason.
Most states now require a lead paint inspection when a property is sold.
This is especially true of an older home, the theory being a todler
hangs on the window sills inside and chews them. As it turns out, lead
has a sweet taste that encourages this.
Call the real estate board in your state and ask. Maybe a statement
saying there is no lead (radon, asbestos, evil spirits of recently
passed individuals, ...) is sufficient. Maybe you will have to put
money in escrow for some time until the problem is fixed... There are
lots of solutions.
Okay, first off don't panic.
Yes. Lead is a concern. It is not earth shattering, but still a
No. Lead poisoning is not "bad parenting" or "gettos". Put a penny in
your mouth and it taste like copper. Put a nickle in and it has a
taste, too. So does lead. It is sweat so kids want to eat it.
No, it will cost 10X more and you will NOT do abatement. You want
"lead control" and "safe work practices."
If you and your husband are reasonably handy, you can do the work
yourself. HUD, most states, and many gov'ts have free or low cost
courses to teach contractors to work lead safe. You can take the
course. 1 day. It is as exciting as watching lead paint dry.
Let me give you an example. Say you want to drill a hole through a
wall with lead paint. It creates dust. Dust creates problems. So you
put the drill bit where you want it, then spray a big old glob of
shaving cream on the entire area. Then you drill. No dust. No mess.
You clean it up with a wash cloth. And it's not 10X more expensive.
That will eventually lead you to: http://www.leadsafetraining.org /
Find a class near you.
If there is not one near you, find a local community (most cities) with
either a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program or a Section
8 program. Ask them to find a local training for you. Both will also
have a list of contractors who have training because they must test all
homes and use safe work practices.
For windows, you will find that they put up plastic to seal up the
inside. Put down a plastic drop cloth outside. Then wet down the
area. They will work wet. Then they will carefully clean the inside
using wet cleaning (damp cloth, not broom). Then vacuum the area,
including the outside, using a HEPA vacuum.
You can do it yourself. It is a bit slower and you need to work in a
manner to minimize dust and debris. But get the training or have the
contractor get the training.
Remember, you are after safe work practices and to some extent
mitigation, you are NOT after abatement. Yes, abatement is very
expensive. For your purposes, your siding is perfectly safe because it
is under vinyl. That paint isn't going to hurt anyone. For abatement,
you have to remove it anyway.
Check you windows for chipped or peeling paint (and dust) and use wet
methods to clean and then paint over with good quality non-lead paint.
You should also consider testing the ground around the dripline of your
house. That might have lead from the pre-vinyl days. If so, there are
a few things you can do. But it might be best to lay down a few inches
a clean topsoil in the area to be extra cautious for your darling
So for the sake of maritial harmony, I will say that you both are
right. Your husband is right that he should not do it. And you are
right that you should be concerned over it. But with a one day course,
you can get the training you need so that you can do it.
Sorry for the long post. Good luck.
We have concrete/asbestos siding on the outside and 60s panelling on
the inside. Not a lot of lead.
I remember reading an email a year or two ago that questioned how any
of use lived through the 50s, 60s & 70s. I don't remember much of it
-- other than it was very funny and very true -- but it said something
We had lead paint
We had leaded gas
We had whole milk
People thought sugar on cereal was a good thing
There were no "light" cigarettes
Kids went out and played without cell phones and no one ever knew
where you were until you came home at dinner time.
Moms didn't obsess over soccer
We played football without helmet and pads
We we got into a fight, someone one, someone lost, and then everyone
made up or went home.
We had wooden cribs with wide slats.
Toys had small parts
Babysitters weren't licensed.
Meat had nitrates. Food has MSG.
TV was okay, but only 3 channels.
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