How to Get Rid of Lead Paint

Lead-based paint was used in homes before 1978 and is still found in older buildings today. The dust and chips from this paint are dangerous, because it has such a high lead content. Pregnant women and small children are particularly susceptible to the high lead levels in lead-based paint. Although lead-based paint that is not damaged or peeling is not dangerous, it requires removal as soon as it begins to deteriorate. This used to be done only by professionals, but now, special products are available enable you to remove it without creating more dust or chips that can harm you. Call your local municipality to find out about any regulations regarding lead paint before you begin.

Things You'll Need

  • Water-based chemical stripper
  • Bristle brush
  • Long handled putty knife
  • Garbage bags

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Apply a water-based chemical stripper to the walls according to the manufacturer's instructions. These are usually applied using either a brush or airless sprayer. The brush application is simpler and may be more desirable for small home projects. Apply the stripper during the afternoon and leave it until the next morning.

Use wide putty knives to scrape off the paint. It will peel off in rubber-like sheets, because the stripper removes the bond between the paint and the wall.

Seal the lead paint in garbage bags. Contact your local municipality to determine how you should dispose of it, but in most locations, you can add it to your regular garbage.

Prepare the wall for new paint by sanding any rough spots, washing it and applying a primer.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the wall had many coats of paint on it, you may need to apply the stripper twice.
  • If you're using an airless sprayer, use a low pressure setting and a tip no smaller than 0.019 inches.
  • Effective, environmentally friendly, non-toxic paint strippers are available.
  • This method of removing lead paint does not create dust, but it is a good idea to work in a well-ventilated area while wearing gloves and a mask while removing the paint.


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