How to remove Lead Paint?
Things you will need: • 6 mm plastic sheeting • Clear plastic tape or duct tape • Large plastic bucket • Water • Spray bottle • Hand scraper • Sanding sponge • Sponge • HEPA Vacuum • Lead rated respirator mask • Disposable rubber gloves • Old clothing that can be discarded • Protective goggles • Large garbage bag(s)
Yes, you can remove lead paint. First, we need to remind you that lead-based paint is dangerous. Always take precaution when working with lead paint, whether it’s in good or bad condition, by wearing a respirator, gloves, eye protection and coveralls. We at Painters in Austin are here to help you go through the process, talk you through the do’s and don’ts and to help make the job easier for you. Keep reading to find out more!
Remove furniture, area rugs, and all other items from the room you’ll be working on. Unless the house is vacant, it’s a good idea to limit lead paint removal to one room at a time to reduce the risk of spreading hazardous dust to other rooms.
Spread 6 mm plastic sheeting over the entire floor, using duct tape to secure it at the edges to the bottom of the walls or to the baseboards. This prevents lead paint chips and dust from contaminating carpeting or sifting through the gaps in hardwood and laminate flooring.
Turn off your HVAC system and use clear plastic or duct tape to cover heating vents and registers. This will keep lead dust from entering your home’s ventilation system. Close any windows in the room to prevent drafts, which can distribute lead dust.
Fill a large plastic bucket halfway with warm water and put it in the room—along with a sponge or rags—where you’ll be removing lead paint. Then seal off adjacent rooms by covering doorways with 6 mil plastic sheeting and clear plastic tape.
Protect yourself before you attempt to remove lead paint by wearing a lead-rated respirator mask (not a dust mask), fitted with an approved HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter. You’ll also need to don goggles and rubber gloves and be sure to wear old clothing that you can dispose of when you’re done.
Spray areas of chipped or peeling paint thoroughly with a spray bottle filled with water. The key to removing lead paint is to “work wet,” which reduces the risk of inhaling lead dust. Keep your work area relatively small, approximately two to three feet or so, to ensure that the area you’re working on remains wet at all times.
Scrape away loosened bits of paint with a hand scraper. It’s not necessary to remove all the lead paint, just the paint that is peeling or deteriorating. The paint that is still firmly attached can be painted over without scraping.
Spray the area you’re working on with water again, and then sand with sanding sponges if necessary to smooth down rough areas caused by scraping. The same rule applies here: Keep the area wet while you’re working. Wet sanding takes a little longer than dry sanding but it won’t create toxic lead dust.
Wipe and clean the area with a dampened sponge as you go. This will help remove residual lead dust and debris safely. Change the water in the bucket frequently to keep it clean.
Clean up your work area when you’re done scraping and sanding by vacuuming thoroughly with a certified HEPA vacuum—and, we repeat, not a household vacuum with a HEPA filter. Using the wand and nozzle attachment, vacuum right over the plastic sheeting to remove as much loose dust as possible.
Carefully remove the plastic sheeting covering the floor and doorways. Fold its edges into the center to trap any remaining paint chips or particles before rolling up the sheeting and placing it in a garbage bag. It may be permissible to put the bag in your outdoor garbage can for pickup, but it’s a good idea to check with your local waste authority first—a different disposal method may be recommended or required.