I am contemplating some renovations in my mid-60's house. Some of these
renovations may involve removing or sanding the walls. What reasonable
precausions againt lead paint are considered necessary for sanding or
removing gypsum board in my home? Is lead paint a certainty on walls merely
based on the age of the house?
It probably does have lead paint based on the age. It's never a
certainty, but it's very likely and you should probably proceed with
the assumption that it does contain lead. Here's some good info:
1) Assume it does have lead paint until you test it. Test kits are available
at hardware & paint stores.
2) The web site louie provided will probably tell you about precautions. If
you need to remove major pieces of wall, you're probably best off hiring a
professional. If you hire someone, interview them carefully and be sure they
have a clear plan for how they will vacuum up the dust that's created. If
they just say "shop vac", and they can't elaborate on whether they have
special filters for dealing with dangerous dust, call someone else.
3) If the main reason you think you'll be removing walls is to get rid of
the lead, STOP. You'll create more problems that way. Create the minimum
amount of disturbance as you do minor things (light fixtures, electrical
outlets), and then just seal in the old paint with modern paint.
Mid sixties was little lead paint being used. Very good odds it is just
plain old latex, especially on the walls. Lead was more often used on wood
trim and even there, it was being phased out earlier than that.
The biggest problem with lead is ingestion, kids chewing on window sills and
such. Removing anything on a wall would be a potential problem if it did
exist if you kicked up dust. Even if there is no lead you want to wear a
good dust mask.
Many hardware stores have lead test kits.
Heck I gutted a 100 year old house full of lead paint after a fire!
If you have children STOP! Hire pro help, for childern lead can cause
If your a typical resonably health adult, go to it.
lead exposure is made worse by time. so do it fast, clean up well and
wear at least a dust mask. wash and clean up well, try to not make
excess dust. dONT drag job out for months and ideally your not living
in the construction area.
1960s paint likely had lead, its just another risk of doing a job like
tripping on a wire.
human bodies excrete lead continiously, whats bad is absorbing more
than your body can get rid of
If I were sanding interior walls, I'd probably be as concerned about
asbestos as lead. Joint compound of that era contained asbestos. If you're
just drywall (and you don't have kids), I'd probably just wear a mask, keep
it damp with a spray bottle of water, and do it. My home built in '61 had
lead in the exterior window sashes, but none inside anywhere.
Instead of heavy sanding you might try a skim coat.
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