Lead Paint Removal Options
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Painting over lead paint
Over painting lead-based paint, which refers to painting over the top of your home’s existing paint, is the cheapest option besides taking no action at all.
This option only applies if the lead-based paint on your property’s surface is in good
condition and has no significant peeling or flaking. For example, suppose you own an unrenovated older home.
In that case, it’s typical to expect some damage to the paint due to wear and tear over time, particularly given the hot weather we frequently experience in Brisbane.
If the surface of your project has only tiny amounts of localised paint failure and paint chalking, it’s possible to use several preparation techniques and special primers. These ‘sealer binders’ work by sticking to your walls, which you can then paint over. However, for the best result, it’s recommended to prime the entire area to add another undercoat layer to help ensure the paint sticks.
Before you attempt any repainting, it’s essential to realise that if there is any loose paint material, this needs to be removed by wet scraping, wet sanding or chemical removal. Completely removing all failing lead-based paint ensures no further flaking or peeling can occur, which can be hazardous for you and your family.
Before overpainting, it’s also necessary to prep surfaces by removing any surface contaminants. We usually remove these by either de-greasing the surface, using sugar soap to clean the surface, or undertaking a full detergent wash. We can remove any surface gloss using a wet sander or by applying a chemical de-glossing solution to the surface.
Although we offer high pressure house washing at Surepaint, it’s important to note that when working on top of asbestos and heavily flaking lead paint that pressure washing can be very dangerous and we do not recommend it for safety reasons.
Given the dangers associated with lead paint and potential lead poisoning in older homes, we either use a wet sander or sometimes, we can also use a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) vacuum filter. A wet sander keeps the surface damp and means no hazardous dust can escape. Using a vacuum sander attached to a HEPA filter, instantly vacuums up the dust, keeping it contained, provided the side of the building is encapsulated effectively.
What is a HEPA vacuum?
A HEPA filter removes over 95% of all dust particles. The impressive design means that a HEPA vacuum can remove dust as little as 0.3 microns in size, reducing the risk of any dust escaping into the environment.
HEPA vacuum sanding is usually only recommended to be carried out inside a building. If it’s outside, the preparation required is too large and we generally recommend using a wet sander for all external walls. Using a HEPA vacuum sander differs from wet sanding as it’s dry sanding, so we’re not using any water and we are also not removing the paint in its entirety. It’s only the damaged and affected paint that needs to be targeted.
The HEPA vacuum extracts 95% of the dust at the source given the vacuum system, but we still need to take precautions. For example, there may be instances where the sander briefly comes off the boards and some of the dust falls.
To help keep everyone safe, when we use the HEPA vacuum sanders, we establish a containment barrier. This involves us masking off all the openings and laying a tarp all around the affected paint areas to make sure we capture any dust that may escape the sander.
To ensure the site is fully enclosed we hang the tarp from the gutter to the ground. This means our team is basically working inside a plastic bag where the sides of the tarp are all folded across and clamped off to the best of our ability to keep the home free from dust particles. Our containment barrier can keep everything within the tarp to be vacuumed up at the end of the day.
Lead Paint Encapsulation
Our Brisbane lead paint encapsulation service refers to applying a specialised primer to the surface of the affected area. This product effectively seals the lead paint behind the primer and helps to protect it against flaking or peeling.
Unlike using regular paint to paint over the top of the lead paint, encapsulation uses different materials than regular paint, which is specially planned to bond to the lead paint to create a barrier. Given this, the products are more expensive than regular paints and we don’t recommend that regular DIY renovators apply these because of safety concerns.
The major benefit of using encapsulation on lead paint is that it typically has a longer life span when used on external surfaces compared to overpainting. This is because the materials in the primer form a protective barrier that lasts longer than regular paint.
However, it is still important to undertake regular maintenance and monitor any paint deterioration in order to reduce any exposure to lead for you and your family. Using a specialised primer entirely depends on the existing paint condition and can only be applied to a suitably prepared surface. This process is not suitable for surfaces subject to wear or friction or substances that are affected by moisture.
When choosing this as your option to prepare for repainting, it’s important to note that the finished surface will not be as smooth as a surface that has been properly sanded. You’ll need to know that you will still see the difference in paint layers on the surface after the surface is encapsulated, though it is definitely a cheaper option than fully removing the lead-based paint if you’re on a budget.
Lead Paint Abatement
Full lead paint abatement, otherwise known as fully removing the lead-based paint from your surface, is the most expensive option of the three as it is more labour intensive. It is, however, the most effective long-term option. You won’t have to worry about future exposure to lead from the paint in your home.
When we remove lead paint, it typically produces a large amount of waste because of the paint scrapings and the many layers we usually have to scrape back to ensure we expunge as much of the lead as we physically can. At Surepaint we guarantee up to 90% removal of the lead paint in your home. If the lead has embedded itself into the timber it can be impossible to remove it entirely.
Before we start a project, as a lead paint removal company in Brisbane we undertake a soil test of your property to determine the level (if any) of lead in the soil around your home. While we have a thorough system in place to collect and dispose of lead from your property after we finish the removal job, we also test the soil again after completing all work to ensure that we have properly cleaned the site.
This method involves applying a chemical substance and includes the following steps:
- Applying various products to test which one will work best for your home. These tests allow us to get an understanding of how long the chemical will need to be placed on the surface in order to remove the paint.
- Laying heavy-duty plastic sheeting around all the areas being treated to contain all waste safely.
- Taping off windows, doors and other gaps to cover surfaces that don’t need to be treated.
- Applying the paint stripping agent to the walls based on the results of the test patch.
- Covering the chemical agent with laminated paper to prevent accidental exposure or premature removal.
- Waiting between 12 to 72 hours for the chemical paint remover to work. We base the time it takes on the earlier test patch results.
- Scrape off and remove all the lead-based paint.
- Clean up and dispose of all the waste
This option involves using a wet sander to sand back the layers of paint to remove all traces of lead paint. We use a disposable layer of fabric that allows water to pass through but traps all dust particles to keep the paint dust contained.We take the following steps to prepare the site for lead paint removal:
- Covering the ground underneath and around the areas to be cleaned with heavy-duty fabric sheeting to contain chips and flakes of paint.
- Taping up all windows and gaps around doors to prevent lead paint waste from entering your home.
- Wet scraping the area with tungsten steel scrapers or LiNBiDE scrapers.
- Using a wet machine to sand back and remove the lead paint. Starting with 40 grit and progressing our way up to 120 grit sandpaper.
- Gathering up the fabric sheeting and all paint chips around the work area.
- Disposing of lead paint and waste in accordance with EPA lead paint removal guidelines.
The Dangers Of Removing Lead Paint Yourself
Over the years, we have heard about and seen many unsafe removal methods used by independent contractors or DIY homeowners. Many of these methods don’t follow proper safety protocols and risk exposing the individual worker and people nearby to lead, which can risk the chances of developing lead poisoning. In addition, many methods are also dangerous to the structural integrity of your property and can end up costing you money.
If a friend or family member suggests any of these methods, please remember that while professional lead paint removal can be expensive, our team are trained professionals who are well aware of the safety risks involved with removing lead paint and who follow strict guidelines to remove all lead safety. Lead paint removal isn’t a typical service offered by renovators, it’s a specialty service. We train our team to work with hazardous substances that can lead to long-term health problems.
The below are some ways we have come across people removing lead paint from their properties that we do not recommend. These produce toxic fumes or dust that can lead to lead poisoning.
Never use the following to remove lead paint from your home:
LP Gas or Blow Torches: these provide lead fumes and toxic gases which are extremely dangerous to you and your loved ones.
Grinders: these can damage weatherboards and produce large amounts of toxic dust. This dust needs to be contained properly for the safety of your family. The dust also needs to be collected and safely disposed of.
Get in touch with us to discuss your project and how we can help to safely remove lead-based paint from your property.
Why use Surepaint™?
Learn about how we accomodate all different types of projects and customers with our unique lead paint removal approach
Our team brings many years of experience working on projects across the Greater Brisbane area. Their experience means they’ve seen it all when it comes to removing lead-based paint and can recommend the best way to effectively remove lead paint from your home.
At Surepaint, we’ve established strict safety protocols that our team follows to ensure that all work undertaken on your project safely removes lead-based paints. Both our removal options include preparing surfaces to reduce the risk of dust escaping into your property and yard.
Our qualified team follows all recommendations outlined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Queensland Government Department of Environment and Heritage Protection when removing lead-based paints for all of our projects.
Keep your family safe
We work closely with our customers to provide a personalised experience that aims to keep you and your family safe. All of the lead paint we remove from your surfaces are taken off-site as part of our thorough clean up process.
While it can be impossible to completely remove all traces of lead-based paints if the paint has seeped into the timber of your home, at Surepaint we guarantee to remove up to 90% of all lead paint on your property to keep you and your loved ones safe.