Whether you’re a landlord or a private home owner, you may be drawn to older style properties for their aesthetic appeal and solidity of construction. However, there are plenty of hidden hazards involved in purchasing older property, not least lead paint.

Since the 1960s, the majority of lead paint has been eliminated from home decor. However, if your property is pre-1960s and shows signs of having original coats of paint, particularly on woodwork or radiators, then there could still be some lead paint around. If the paint coat is particularly thick, or the property has been newly redecorated, the chances are the lead paint has been safely locked away under the other layers.

Am I or my family at risk?

Rather like asbestos, lead paint is not a risk if it’s unlikely to be damaged and thus release lead dust into the air. However, if you have children or animals that like to gnaw or scratch paintwork or if you intend to strip back paintwork that is already peeling, then the chances are there could be contamination. If there are pregnant women or young children in the home, then they’re most at risk.

Making it safe

If your suspected lead paint is in good condition, then simply seal it with a coat of modern paint. If it’s already damaged or flaking, then you’ll need to strip it back with a liquid paint stripper – don’t, under any circumstances, try to sand or scrape away the flaking paint. If you have a hot air gun you can use this to soften the paint, but don’t set it at temperatures above 450C degrees because you’ll melt the paint and release toxic fumes.

When you’ve removed nearly all the paint, you can moisten the surface and rub back with waterproof abrasive paper – never use dry sandpaper. Dispose of all waste safely and securely.

Be protected

It’s sensible always to wear protective clothing when undertaking this kind of work, so make sure you use gloves and a face mask containing a filter that conforms to standard EN143 P2. Store your work clothing in a sealed bag when not in use and make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after each session. Finally wash your work clothes separately from others when you’ve finished with them.

Ask the professionals

If you’re uncertain whether your newly acquired property contains lead paint, then get in touch with us today to arrange led paint testing.

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