How to Test for Lead Paint



There is an unmistakable charm to living in an older home, but homes over a certain age may contain some hazardous materials. One of those hazards may be lead-based paint.

Many years ago, lead was a popular paint additive due to its durability. When studies eventually proved that it presented serious health risks, especially to children who consumed chips of paint due to the sweetness of the lead, the use of lead-based paint in homes was phased out.

While this means that newer homes should be free of lead paint, homes built prior to 1978 may still have traces of the toxic substance. This is why it is important for owners of older homes to test their paint for traces of lead.

Testing for lead Paint

The first thing you will need is an EPA-approved lead test kit. You can buy these at most hardware stores and online retailers. Many contractors recommend the 3M LeadCheck Swabs, and they are what we will be using for this guide.

Step 1: Wipe down the surface you want to test with a damp rag to remove any dust that may be on the surface. You want the test to register only the paint, not any substances that may interfere with the results.

Step 2: Using a razor blade or a sharp knife, cut a small “X” into the paint. Peel back the paint so that all layers, including the original primer, is revealed.

Step 3: Inside of the tester you will find 2 tubes that resemble markers. These tubes contain liquid that will test for traces of lead. Crush and shake the tubes as marked, to ensure that the chemicals are properly mixed. Now squeeze the tube with the tip facing down, until a small amount of the liquid becomes visible.

Step 4: Now you will rub the tester on the surface for about 30 seconds. If the tester turns red, there are traces of lead in the paint.

If you have found traces of lead-based paint in your home, don’t panic. Just give the team at Bauer Construction a call. We can confirm the presence of lead paint and remove all traces of the toxic substance. Give us a call today at 847-553-5331 for this and all your home repair and renovation needs.

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