How To Identify Lead Paint in Residential and Commercial Structures - Alliance
Brick Wall battered and abandoned, detail of a wall in the city in ruins, neglect and dirt textured background
September 24, 2014

How To Identify Lead Paint in Residential and Commercial Structures

Written by Alliance Environmental

Knowing how to identify lead paint and understanding where you might find it is important in order to be able to handle it in the safest way. You can generally tell if the paint you are dealing with is lead-based if the sub-layers of paint are still present on a surface and the building was constructed before 1978, or by using a lead paint test kit on the paint in question.

Structures Built Before 1978

Most homes and apartment buildings built before 1978 have lead paint somewhere within them. Generally, the older the home is, the more of a chance that you will find at least one layer of lead paint. One of the most straightforward ways of figuring out if lead paint is present is to get down to the bare surface of a wall, either the drywall, plaster, or paneling. If the sub-surface appears to only have one or two coats of paint on it, there is a good chance that the paint isn’t lead-based, and any lead-based paint has probably been sanded away at some point in the past. If you discover several layers of paint, especially if your home was built before 1950, you can be fairly confident that at least some of it is leaded.

Lead Paint Test Kits

Most home improvement stores sell test kits that can be used by homeowners, apartment managers, and commercial contractors to tell fairly easily if there is lead present. While the tests will usually show how to identify lead paint, you should know where in your house to test in order to get the most accurate results from the kit.

Window sills, especially in older homes, are hotspots for lead paint not just because they are often painted over instead of sanded down, but because window sills chip and peel very easily. Depending on the age of the windows, your window sills may be chipping and peeling every few years due to poor climate control. Heat, cold, and humidity are all amplified near windows, causing paint to expand, contract, and start to fail in a relatively short span of time. These paint chips, if they contain lead, can be within reach of children who may intentionally, or accidentally, come into contact with them, leading to a host of health and developmental problems.

Using a test kit can help you figure out if you do have a lead paint problem, and if you need to get in touch with an EPA-certified lead removal expert. The tests are relatively inexpensive, and they’re an absolute necessity for older homes where small children reside.

Hiring a Professional

EPA-certified professionals know how to identify lead paint and remove it safely. For commercial and residential buildings, it is imperative to use an EPA-certified contractor to test for and remove leaded paint. Failure to do so can bring hefty fines and draw the ire of the public if people are subjected to health problems because of your negligence. If you find lead yourself, especially if there is a lot of it, it’s usually best to let a contractor handle it. Most of the lead-removal personal protective equipment you see at home improvement and paint stores is there for use by contractors. Removing it yourself is dangerous and you can actually make the situation worse by spreading the particles in the air and getting lead dust on surfaces throughout your home or office.

Download a free copy of our Don’t Get Sued! eBook to learn about mitigating liability risks associated with asbestos, lead paint, and mold.

Related

Other Environmental Posts

View Category
May 18, 2022
-
Alliance Environmental
ALLIANCE NEWS – NEWSLETTER 23
The month of May is dedicated to National Wildfire Awareness Month. Knowing how to prevent and be prepared for wildfires is crucial to the health and safety of all. Over the last few years, every corner of this country has been affected by devastating wildfires. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, 45,518 wildfires burned…
April 13, 2022
-
Alliance Environmental
ALLIANCE NEWS – NEWSLETTER 22
Spring is in full bloom, and Easter is around the corner. As we enter the second quarter of the year, we are starting to see a return to life as we had once known. More people are dining out. Travel has seen an increase as people go on vacation, and retail shops see an increase…
March 8, 2022
-
Alliance Environmental
ALLIANCE NEWS – NEWSLETTER 21
We at Alliance Environmental Group would like to acknowledge the women who continue to break down barriers and excel in all industries but specifically those who play key roles either in the field or positions of management and leadership. March helps us celebrate these phenomenal women with the celebration of International Women’s Day and the…
January 6, 2022
-
Alliance Environmental
ALLIANCE NEWS – NEWSLETTER 20
Here’s wishing you a wonderful start to 2022 and a prosperous year ahead. With a new year, we are afforded with the opportunity for us to focus on ensuring safety while effectively addressing indoor air quality and the need for us as a community to maintain clean and sanitary environments at home, school, workplace, or…
December 27, 2021
-
Alliance Environmental
The HOA & Manager’s Guide to Mold in Apartment Complexes
Winter is here and that means one thing when it comes to mold: it’s time for it to grow and spread. Since mold prefers areas with high humidity and moisture, winter can pose an issue for apartment and condo complexes in particular as it is harder for these spaces to regulate the condensation that happens…
December 20, 2021
-
Alliance Environmental
Dangers of Lead in Children’s Toys and the Home
Protecting families from health risks is something everybody wants to do, and within many homes, there are still risks of lead poisoning for children and adults alike. Lead has been banned in many household products and children’s toys, but it is still a problem that can affect families. The holiday season is a big time…
December 17, 2021
-
Alliance Environmental
Your Guide to Prepping Facilities for Winter
When we think of winterizing, we often simply think about preparing for the colder temperatures, ensuring that pipes don’t burst and the like. But proper winterization is about more than inspecting pipes. It’s about improving the heating efficiency in your facilities, increasing safety and workflows, and ensuring that the occupants are comfortable and content throughout…
December 13, 2021
-
Alliance Environmental
Understanding Asbestos Risks During Winter Renovations
The holiday and winter seasons are a great time to get together with family and friends, however, it is also a great time to get some home renovations done while off from work. These renovations are often small, but they can still come with risks if working on an older home that could contain asbestos.…
December 2, 2021
-
Alliance Environmental
ALLIANCE NEWS – NEWSLETTER 19
December has dawned upon us, and we have entered the final stretch of what can be summarized as a tumultuous year. The holiday season is here, and as we look back on the past year, we can reflect on how we have had to adapt to pandemic life and living in this new normal way…
November 2, 2021
-
Alliance Environmental
ALLIANCE NEWS – NEWSLETTER 18
We have just commenced with the penultimate month of the year, and we have a lot to be thankful for. November marks National Gratitude month. As we move ahead with our daily lives and routines, we should be reminded of the importance of Thanksgiving and giving back. In chronological order, November 11 is Veterans Day.…
View Category