I'm about to sand an old porch floor which almost certainly has a lot of
lead under those many layers.
I'm having second thoughts about stirring up that old mess. Is this a wise
idea? Would a standard dust-mask offer any protection?
A little, but the main thing you want to do is prevent lead-laden dust from
coating stuff kids and animals play with or touch. A shop vac with the
proper filter attached to the sander helps a lot. So does a spray mister and
wotking the material wet (with wet-rated sandpaper, of course.)
But before you go down that road, examine alternatives. Is this a wood porch
floor, or poured concrete? If wood, how hard would it be to change out the
boards? Labor-intensive either way, but may not be worse than sanding. If
concrete, I'd strip the minimum amount possible to get a good bite, and
encapsulate with new paint.
Spend 8 bucks and buy a test kit. Then if there is no lead you don't have to
waste your time and money worrying.
If there is lead, you don't want to cause brain damage to children under 7
or leave lead on your property from the dust. There are many sites on the
net that touch on proper removal. Sanding should be done wet (yeah, good
luck) so no dust is created. A real PIA to do it right..
Most paint stores sell them. It takes a special filter to contain lead dust
(in a mask or a vac), most off the shelf ones will do nothing.
Chances are there is more lead from passing autos already in your yard. the
amount (if any) in the floor might be hard to measure. The issue is often
overblown, but I do not promote ignoring local laws or the potential for
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