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I live in an older home (built c. 1920) and I am positive that it's full of lead-based paint. When we bought the house, there was NO wood exposed anywhere in the house. The previous owners covered every inch of any natural wood with layers and layers of paint. Well, my do-it-yourself type husband removed much of the paint in an effort to expose, sand and refinish some of the wood baseboards, door trim and trim around the room transitions. Unfortunately, he's notorious for leaving projects half-finished so there are a couple places where there is not a clean transition between painted and unpainted wall/wood. Long question short... What's the best way to seal off these transitions to limit the exposure of the lead-based paint hiding underneath? We have a very mobile 10mo daughter and it's imperative that any lead-based paint be sealed away from her. Any ideas?

  • Stripping paint is quite a job. In my opinion even if you did get rid of the lead based paints the left over solvents are often just as harmful as the lead. I would simply make sure that anything that could be lead is painted over twice and that is cured. Goes without saying that make sure grandchildren don't chew on anything painted. – DMoore Nov 17 '14 at 21:29
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    I'm a little confused about the condition you're concerned about: the bare wood? The old paint that's covered? How much "transition" is there actually? From a containment perspective probably the worst thing you can do is disturb the lead paint by scraping or sanding it... if it's covered by "new" paint in good condition there's not really any risk. In the future it may be easier to just pry off the trip and replace it with new instead of trying to sand & contain the dust. – Hank Nov 17 '14 at 22:43
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Stop sanding immediately! Lead based dust is the worst threat of all. Simply painting over it to encapsulate it is the simplest measure.

To fully remove the lead paint is a big chore, and important to do right. Look for local community classes if you can - the local one here had some classes on lead certification. The short answer is, you have to seal the area off with plastic, wear a hazmat suit, scrape it all off and remove the paint from the premise, and then clean up all the dust.

You can google around and turn up tons of hits for lead removal procedures, here's the first I found and looks pretty good:

http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/lead/homes/interior.html

One tool I used in my own lead paint removal was http://www.speedheater.us/

While it is stated not to use heat guns to remove lead paint, this one is a much lower temperature version that is much safer. The fumes are still an issue so make sure there is ventilation to outside while working. (Not related to speed heater, just a happy customer)

  • +1 for the speedheater link. Did not know a low heat options exists out there. – milesmeow May 31 '16 at 7:15
  • You absolutely do not need a hazmat suit to remove lead paint. Don't eat the paint and try not to breathe it. Lead paint contacting skin is not going to give you lead poisoning. Its lead not radium. – OneChillDude Aug 20 '18 at 4:27
  • Hazmat may not be the right word, but any painter or contractor in the state of KS (and many other states) are required to have training and licenses to do any kind of destructive work around lead paint. This process includes disposable white protective gear. It's not just the danger to the worker; it's the danger of lead dust in the environment that you or a child could breathe. My son had elevated lead levels and development delays, partly due to the lead paint dust in our carpets and house. – DGM Aug 21 '18 at 14:58
  • kshealthyhomes.org/lead_regulations.htm – DGM Aug 21 '18 at 15:00

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