I want to repaint the interior of a 1930's house we just bought. When does it make sense to strip the paint before we put on new coats of paint? What if there is no lead underneath?

I know that the EPA has guidelines on how to work with lead in the house.

We talked to a contractor and he said that for our kitchen renovation, he would demo and scrape off all the paint, reseal, prime and then paint.

What factors go into deciding whether to remove the existing layers of paint before repainting?

  • What's the surface under the paint? Wood, plaster, drywall? – Daniel Griscom Jun 15 '16 at 11:43
  • Did the contractor say why they wanted to strip? (The only reason I can come up with is that you have poor bonds between older coats, which would mean eventual failure.) Beyond that, most people encapsulate the old paint. (One possibility is new 1/4" drywall...) – Aloysius Defenestrate Jun 15 '16 at 13:35
  • The walls are plaster. – milesmeow Jun 22 '16 at 8:43
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    IMHO, if the paint is not peeling, then I would just paint over it. Any house built before World War 2 is going to have lead paint, unless someone took the house apart and removed all of the plaster. For most houses that probably did not happen. So if you want to change the color and the paint is not peeling then just paint over it. If the paint is peeling and you can scrape off the loose paint then put on a skim coat that might be enough. but do you really want lead tainted dust in your house. – Gandolf989 Jul 18 '16 at 18:50

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