Looking for the right signs of Lead Paint
Where to Look
While virtually any painted surface in an older home could have been treated with lead paint, there are a few particular places where it might be more likely to appear. These include any exterior surface, surfaces that are regularly exposed to weather (like windows and doors), interior trim, stairs, and railings. Also consider that older furniture and toys could contain lead paint as well.
What to Look For
Lead paint typically cracks and chips in a distinct “scaly” or geometric pattern. This is probably the best indication of the presence of lead paint, although bear in mind that oil and latex paints can crack, flake, and chip as well. A secondary indicator that you might be dealing with lead paint is that it rubs off with a chalky residue.
If You Suspect It’s Lead Paint
If you think you might have lead paint in your home, it is best to confirm it with a lead paint test. You can purchase a test kit for around $10 at your local paint store or big-box hardware store. There are a couple of different types of test kits available at this price, so be sure to read the label before you purchase it. The first, and my chosen method, is the disposable swab kit. One kit typically comes with two swabs, each of which contains non-toxic chemicals that turn a specific color when they come in contact with lead. This test yields results within one minute. If you feel uncomfortable interpreting the results of a swab test, your other option is to purchase a kit that allows you to collect a sample of the paint in question and send it to a laboratory for analysis. Typically, these results will be mailed to you within a week of the lab’s receipt of your sample.
If Your Paint Tests Positive for Lead
First, don’t panic. Some experts agree that if your paint is not cracking, chipping, chalking, or flaking off and is not in a high-traffic or child-accessible area it is best to leave it alone and simply monitor it for future signs of damage. However, lead paint in heavy-use areas like windows, doors, stairs and railings should be addressed even if it is not clearly chipping off. The friction resulting from the regular use or operation of these surfaces can create airborne lead dust. In addition, any cracking, flaking, chipping, or otherwise compromised lead paint should be addressed immediately.
About SERVPRO of Big Rapids/Fremont
SERVPRO of Big Rapids/Fremont specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.