How to Remove Lead Paint Safely

A brief disclaimer to begin with – we generally recommend against the DIY approach to removing lead paint. This applies to interior and exterior painted surfaces alike, due to the risks associated with lead inhalation.

Unless you are 100% confident in your capabilities to get the job done safely, we strongly recommend calling in the pros. DIY lead paint removal can be hazardous, irrespective of how carefully and cautiously you approach the job.

exterior painting

What’s the Safest Way to Remove Lead Paint?

Before getting started, it’s important to conduct a thorough assessment of the surface you intend to work on. The condition of the paint will influence how easy or otherwise it is to remove.

But even where lead paint it peeling away in large strips and can be easily removed, you still need to prioritise your health and safety. Wearing the highest-quality PPE at all times is mandatory – even if it doesn’t appear you’re in any real danger.

Lead Paint Removal Supplies

A brief rundown of the supplies you’ll be needing to remove lead paint safely:

  • Plastic sheeting
  • Tape
  • HEPA respirator
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Coveralls
  • Paint scraper
  • Power sander
  • Chemical stripper
  • Spray bottle
  • Wet/dry vacuum with HEPA air filter
  • TSP (tri-sodium phosphate)
  • Bucket
  • Sponge

It’s at this point that most households (and businesses) realise they could actually save money by calling in the pros. Unless you already have all the equipment you need – including an appropriate vacuum cleaner with HEPA air filter – it could be far more expensive to attempt the DIY approach.

Before getting started, contact a member of the team at Homm CPS for an obligation-free quotation.

Prepare and Protect the Surrounding Area

Whether indoors or outdoors, you need to make sure that everything in the surrounding area is sufficiently protected. Lead paint dust can travel a surprisingly long distance and contaminate anything it comes into contact with.

Remove as much as you possibly can from the space, ensuring the rest is protected with plastic sheeting. If possible, use tape to close the gaps between the sheets and seal off the area in its entirety.

Don’t forget to cover any air vents, ducts, extractors and so on, to prevent contamination.

Begin the Removal Process

Removing lead paint safely is all about keeping dust production to the bare minimum. Consequently, it is a job that should never be approached without first wetting the surface thoroughly. Working on dry lead paint can be immensely dangerous and should never be attempted.

Use a spray bottle with water to regularly mist the area you are working on, in order to prevent dust from being produced in the first place.

Larger areas of flaking and peeling paint can simply be pulled away from the surface using an appropriate scraper.  If necessary, chemical strippers and power tools can be used to remove more stubborn paint from the surface material.

However, be mindful of the fact that the more aggressive and abrasive the removal technique, the greater the risk of dust and debris being thrown into the air. In addition, the PPE you wear should not be removed for even a second before you have fully cleaned and decontaminated the surrounding space.

Additional Tips for Removing Lead Paint

The safest and most cost-effective approach to DIY removal of lead paint is wet scraping and sanding. This is usually effective when dealing with smaller areas and can negate the requirement for more expensive power tools.

When working with sanders, cordless drills, angle grinders and so on, you need to take extra care to avoid damaging the material beneath the paint. Again, using power tools also heightens the risk of dust and debris being propelled into the air.

Under no circumstances should you walk around other areas of your home while wearing the PPE used to protect yourself while removing the lead paint.  Doing so could result in contamination through the distribution of dust and debris around your home.

Lastly, if you suspect that a surface may have been painted with lead paint but you’re not sure, treat it as lead paint. It is not worth putting your health and safety at risk if you’re not 100% sure what type of paint you are looking at.

Call Anytime for a Quote…

At Homm CPS, we specialise in all types of interior and exterior painting services for homes and businesses. This includes the safe and effective removal of lead paint, handled by our experienced team of local contractors.

For more information or to discuss your requirements in more detail, contact the team at Homm CPS anytime.