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I have an old shed which has timber beams that have lead paint on them. The paint is flaking and I want to fix it up. The shed is going to be knocked down in about 5 years, so I don't need a permanent solution, just a temporary one, and I don't really care what the end result looks like as these are internal beams.

Does anyone have any advice on the best method to paint over these beams?

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If you are the age your avatar appears, avoid lead paint! –  bib Jul 15 '13 at 14:11
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3 Answers

You can't paint over flaking paint. Doing so only adheres the new pait to the old paint, and since the old paint is flaking, so will your new paint.

You need to remove the flaking paint. Scraping is likely best, along with the appropriate safety gear (Lead approved face masks, lead approved filters for the shop vac, etc.)

If it's only going to stand for another 5 years, though, I'm not sure I'd worry about it too much--unless you have children playing in there.

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They have been making primers and paints recently that dry thicker than standard paints, specifically for "locking" lead paint in (used a lot in commercial buildings where children are normally present). Here's a link to one:

Lead Lock

I'm blanking on some of the other types I've used. Here's one from Home Depot that I don't have any experience with, but it's along the same lines:

EcoBond

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Peel Stop is another rustoleum.com/CBGProduct.asp?pid=228 –  HerrBag Jul 15 '13 at 19:23
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Since you are planning to dispose of the shed relatively soon, I suggest incorporating proper disposal of lead painted wood into your plan.

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+1 more answers here need to incorporate environmental impact –  mike Jul 16 '13 at 1:37
    
I hate to bum you out guys, but at least in my state there's no such thing as "proper disposal of lead painted wood". There are required methods of encapsulating it on the way to the transfer station, but the bags full of lead paint just get mixed in with the rest of the garbage.. –  Glendale Jul 17 '13 at 2:33
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