Lead Paint Confirmed

by Josh on September 21, 2005 · 5 comments

in Journal,Windows

I just can’t stick to my shopping list at the hardware store. I stopped in to get some polyurethane for a stepstool I’m finishing for my son and I picked up a home test for lead paint on impulse.

The test was probably a good impulse because it was cheap and the paint chips in my window sills have me a bit nervous for my family’s health. The test was easy to use: just crush two chemical containers in the handle of a small brush and wipe the brush over the the painted area in question. If lead is present, the chemical on the brush will turn red. It turns out my fears were justified– there is loose lead paint within the reach of my two-year-old.

This photo of the area I tested shows the flaking paint and the pinkish residue from the test indicating the presence of lead:

Lead Paint Test Area

Now I’ve got to research the best ways to get the lead out. Unless others have ideas, I’m planning to vacuum up the paint chips and then strip and repaint the sashes and sills as soon as possible next spring.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristin September 21, 2005 at 11:22 am

Eeeek, I really need to get one of those tests.


StuccoHouse September 21, 2005 at 3:10 pm

I’ve been working on my lead painted windows & trim for the past year on & off (admittedly mostly off). I have a HEPA vacuum that works nicely for picking up the pieces w/o shooting them back into the air. I’ve tried a few methods for stripping the paint. I settled on using a heat gun (w/ respirator) on low setting to remove most of the layers and then using Zip-Strip on the remaining paint (lots of ventilation). It works fast, so you can get the old paint out of the house asap. It’s a pain, but really not as bad as one would think…..

You will need to pick up radon and asbestos tests on your next shopping trip….to experience ALL of the fun.


Greg September 21, 2005 at 3:10 pm

I’ve never tested but I just assume that my whole house is drenched in lead paint. If it is chipping then in can be a hazard, otherwise it is not a hazard. Stripping it is the only way to deal with chipping paint. A heat gun is my favorite method but they don’t contain the paint like chemical strippers do. Just be diligent and careful and you can safely remove the lead paint yourself. To make you feel better you can get you and your family tested for lead exposure before you start, and then tested again after you finish. I have stripped acres of paint and never succumbed to lead poisoning.


Josh September 22, 2005 at 10:05 am

Thanks for these good suggestions! I’m all set with a hepa filter vacuum and I’ll now have to step up my plans to by some stripping tools. Heating the paint is a good method, from what I’ve read, but I’m leaning toward the Silent Paint Remover over a heat gun. Thanks for the tips.


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: