Safe management of lead based paint
If you live in a character home in Auckland and are thinking about painting this summer have you thought about lead paint? As Auckland Master Painters, Wall Treats paints some of Auckland’s most beautiful multi-million dollars homes, and many of these were built before 1970.
These homes can have a charm and character that makes them a real treat to work with and using a colour scheme designed to bring out the best in these homes is very satisfying. However, if the existing paint has never been removed there is a high chance that at least one of those coats may contain lead-based paint – and beautifying your home shouldn’t come at a risk to your health!
Why is lead-based paint dangerous?
Untreated lead poisoning can cause brain damage and can be fatal. The biggest cause of non-occupational exposure to lead is lead-based paint, and children are particularly at risk.
Lead from paint is mainly taken into the body by inhaling dust or fumes, or by eating paint fragments or contaminated materials. Lead is a highly toxic and accumulative poison, which means it can have toxic effects that may be acute (after intense exposure) or chronic (from ongoing low exposure).
It can be tempting to leave lead-based paint layers undisturbed to avoid causing health issues, however, painting new coats over degrading paint will be detrimental to the longevity and finish of the paintwork – meaning you will have to face the same issue sooner than expected.
How do I know if my home has lead-based paint?
While you can’t identify lead-based paints by appearance, if a building was built in the 1970s or earlier, it is safest to presume that it has been painted with lead-based paint.
When the paint starts cracking and taking on the appearance of an alligator’s skin (known as alligatoring or crazy cracking) it is a sure sign that the previous coats of lead-based paint are deteriorating. The only way to ensure the longevity of a new finish is to get right back to bare timber and start fresh.
So how do I deal with the lead-based paint?
Because the previous coats of lead-based paint will be disturbed in the process of removal precautions must be taken, and it is essential that you engage a painting contractor with lead-based paint management training and experience in removing lead-based paint.
Wall Treats lead-based paint management procedure
Our preventative measures focus on limiting exposure and are in line with Resene’s specifications on lead-based paint. We also keep up to date with any recommended changes in best practice.
- Mask windows and doors (from inside the house) with masking film
- Cover plants and vegetable gardens with plastic masking film
- Remove existing paint coatings using a paint stripping agent. This may leave paint residue, which we remove with a sander, with a vacuum attached to minimise sanding dust. Alternatively, we may wet sand
- Sand the exterior faces of the timber joinery with the windows and doors closed
- To properly prepare the areas where the interior and exterior faces meet, the joinery needs to be open. Vacuum the interior floor area around the timber joinery immediately after sanding
- Lay down tarpaulin, then canvas dropsheets to capture paint debris. Throughout each working day, the paint debris are tipped into heavy duty black rubbish bags, which are disposed of at council approved locations
- To prevent paint debris entering the house, footwear should be removed before entering the home
If you have concerns about lead-based paint on your home, get in touch with Wall Treats today and we can talk you through your next steps.
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