Do you know how to remove lead paint from wood? As early as the 4th Century B.C., laborers and artists began adding lead to paint to create a thicker, more opaque product. This practice persevered through the Colonial Era and well into the future.
When building was a more tedious process and took longer to complete, having paint fit to stand the test of time was crucial. By the mid-1900s, however, health officials had become aware of what a detriment lead exposure could pose to the general public. By 1978, lead paints were entirely banned from the market. Still, many live in homes built before 1978 – remodeling these buildings poses a hazard to DIY enthusiasts.
No one wants to spruce up the living room paint job if it poses a health risk. Thankfully, removing lead paint from wood isn’t impossible. By following this guide, you can learn how to safely remove paint from wood furniture in your home without putting anyone at risk.
- How to Get Lead Paint off Wood
- Why Is Lead Paint Removal Hazardous?
- Preparation for Removing Lead Paint From Wood
- Working Wet While Getting Lead Paint off Wood
- How to Remove Lead Paint From Wood
- The Best Way to Remove Lead Paint From Wood
- Cleaning Up After Removing Lead Based Paint
- Consider Hiring an Environmental Protection Agency Certified Contractor
How to Get Lead Paint off Wood
Removing lead paint from wood doesn’t have to be a headache. Just because lead paint is in your building doesn’t mean anyone is necessarily at risk. The key is to identify whether removing lead paint from wood is necessary or if the lead paint is suitable to be painted over and sealed.
Painting over the lead paint with a market-safe product and sealant minimizes the risk of exposure. If the lead paint in your house is chipping or pulling away from the wall, the better option is to remove it.
Before we describe how to remove paint splatters from wood floors, it’s essential to know why lead paint removal is hazardous to understand what to avoid.
Why Is Lead Paint Removal Hazardous?
Lead exposure is a significant concern whether you’re changing paint colors or want to refresh a painted surface by removing the old lead paint. If the paint is chipping, there’s a chance children or pets may consume the paint chips, or people in the home may inhale lead dust in the air.
This exposure to lead-based products causes poisoning, which is no joke. Lead poisoning can cause body weakness, anemia, kidney damage, and even brain damage. Consumed in high amounts, exposure to lead and consequential lead poisoning leads to death.
Preparation for Removing Lead Paint From Wood
While considering your project, you’ve determined that removing the lead paint is the best action. Before beginning, you need to prepare for the job.
Wear personal protection equipment while working with lead paint. Seal your workspace at the doorways to protect the other rooms in the home from lead dust and debris.
Once the entrances are covered, spread a plastic sheet across the floor and seal at the edges with duct tape to prevent paint debris from sifting through carpet fibers or falling into crevices in wood flooring.
Have a certified HEPA vacuum on hand to help during clean-up to altogether remove lead paint particles. HEPA vacuums are lead rated and manufactured for the job. Their specialized filtration system won’t miss those dangerously small paint particles.
Working Wet While Getting Lead Paint off Wood
“Working wet” is essential for removing lead paint from walls since it lowers the possibility of breathing in lead dust. The concept is straightforward – keep each wall section wet as you work on it to avoid lead dust particles entering the air.
To guarantee the area you’re working on stays moist at all times, keep your workspace small and work in sections, perhaps two to three feet at a time. Use a spray bottle filled with water, rags, and sponges to wet your work area as you go.
How to Remove Lead Paint From Wood
Once your plastic seals are in place and your working region is wet, use a paint scraper or putty knife to scrape old paint off wood baseboards and trim. Hold the paint scraper at an angle with the edge against the wall and work methodically to move it over the surface to lift the lead paint.
If you’re struggling to peel the paint, heat the region gently with a heat gun to soften it. If a heat gun fails, abrasive blasting loosens stubborn old paint. Never use excessive pressure, or you risk gouging the wall.
The Best Way to Remove Lead Paint From Wood
A paint stripper is a chemical solvent that dissolves paint to make it effortless to remove.You can use a cabinet paint remover for home improvements like methylene chloride. Methylene chloride is a typical paint remover but poisonous and dangerous. It produces lead fumes when it interacts with lead paint.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other consumer and environmental organizations, it’s wise to avoid methylene chloride. Instead, use the new generation of chemical stripper designed for lead paint removal.
This new stripper contains lead abatement substances to make the process safer. Apply the stripper to the wall per the manufacturer’s guidelines, and use your paint scraper to slough off the paint as it becomes soft.
Cleaning Up After Removing Lead Based Paint
When you’re through scraping and sanding, thoroughly vacuum your work area with a certified HEPA vacuum, not a regular vacuum with a HEPA filter. To eliminate as much lead paint dust as possible, vacuum directly over the plastic covering with the wand attachment.
Remove the plastic wrap from the floor and entrances with care. Before wrapping the sheeting up and putting it in a garbage bag, fold its edges into the middle to catch any leftover paint chips or lead dust.
You might be able to put the trash bag in your garbage can for pickup, or a different disposal technique could be required for lead particles. Check with your local trash authority to find the recommended route to get rid of your trash.
Remember to wear your personal protection items during clean-up to prevent accidental lead exposure from lingering airborne particles.
Consider Hiring an Environmental Protection Agency Certified Contractor
Removing paint is typically a straightforward project suitable for most DIY enthusiasts, but this isn’t the case with lead paint. The dangers of working with lead make it worth consulting an EPA-certified contractor to help you refresh your interior painting without risking your health.
If you’re not comfortable or lack the supplies required to remove the paint safely, hire someone instead. Professionals have specialized tools, materials, and expert training to complete the paint removal process correctly and safely.
Once you know how to get lead paint off wood, it’s vital to proceed with caution and keep your safety at the forefront of the procedure. Working with lead paint is intimidating, and the health risks are no joke.
Choose a method you feel confident with and tackle the paint methodically. Prepare your working zone before beginning. Perform a thorough clean-up to ensure the lead paint and all the dangerous lead particles are removed from your home.
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