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Cost of Lead Paint Removal from the Home


Older homes have the greatest chances of containing lead paint, especially structures built pre-1978. According to a HUD survey, about 38 million homes built during this time period contain lead. Many times the lead paint lies under more recent layers of non-lead containing paint. But when the surface wears or degrades, this can cause lead poisoning. Which is of particular threat to children.

Costs for lead based paint removal, including testing, should be accounted for, not only due to everyday exposure but for when renovation, demolishing or contracting work is to be done that may distrupt lead based paint at sites (see the 'EPA Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule'). Which may substantially increase prices being paid for any such work being performed.

Lead Paint Removal Prices


While it is common to quote ranges for average costs per square foot for removing lead paint, it is unlikely that specific projects follow any such square foot rules in the main. For example, door frames, trim and window frames can be very labor intensive to address given the contours of moulding, angles and confined spaces. Working heights will play another role, whether scaffolding has to be set, and there are other factors.

Lead Paint Testing - basic testers are available are hardware stores and big box centers. Lead test kits are available for as little as $7 but, according to the EPA -- The D-Lead Paint test kit is available for $31 and is recognized by the EPA for use on plaster, wood, drywall and ferrous metals. That comes with 6 tests each offering color sample results in 13 minutes. The 3M LeadCheck is another kit recognized by the EPA for testing on wood, plaster, drywall and ferrous metals which gives results in 30 seconds and is available in a 2 swab pack at about $10 or an 8 swab pack at roughly $25 ( like with all supplies/materials/testing equipment - these should be verified for use in the particular state of residence ). For more comprehensive results, reach an approved lead based paint inspector/assessor.

Others methods of lead detection include X Ray Flourescent scanning - more of a professional method. A handheld XRF Analyzer can run $3,900 including software. But there typically are not available under rental terms and there are other methods as well.

Encapsulation - based on the condition of the existing paint, encapsulation may or may not be an option but it does offer some pronounced cost benefits.

Removal - complete removal is normally the costliest of choices. Under certain scenarios, however, it may make sense to replace an aged wood frame window containing lead based paint for $250 to $400 with a more energy efficient/soundproof model instead of paying as much for said paint removal and refinishing, depending on the severity of the assessment. Same situation for doors and especially trim and baseboards although there may be other associated fees like proper disposal that may or may not be built into an estimate.

On the exterior, having wood clapboard siding replaced could be an option to removing lead paint coatings. Such as with an attached HEPA fitted vacuum.

Doing Yourself - although it is not always recommended, some homeowners do perform their own removal. EPA - DIY suggestions gives details on removal that include setting up airlocks, types of respirators, vacuums and more.

HEPA Vacuums - start at around $450 and these can be acquired via rental, though which must meet important standards.

HEPA Sanders - begin near $700 with vacuum and connector hose.

Strippers - putting lead paint strippers to the task can offer the advantage of minimizing dust due to sanding efforts. Prices range from near $80 to $130 per gallon but square foot coverages with vary, form roughly 50 sq ft to 120 sq ft.

Certified Lead Abatement Contractors - excluding testing, which should be done by another party, removal by a certified contractor can mean paying billable wages that begin at a low upfront estimate of $40 per skilled hour, at cost-plus terms, for the easier more straightforward removals and this probably coming from a several person, local operation. But likelier figures on an hourly basis will come in considerably higher, surely for those projects that require supervisors and monitoring personnel. Many homeowners have spent upwards of $9,000 on lead abatement.
Other Factors & Lowering Amounts:
  • Total removal costs can be affected by factors like the amount of paint buildup (mils) existing on the surface. Thicker efforts will require increased efforts.

  • Paint containing lead is not the only source of lead contamination in the home. It can have origins in plumbing and solder joints as well, that can affect drinking water.

  • Some states offer grants and also interest free and/or deferred interest loans to "help get the lead out". Certain tax credits may also be available. See also HUD Lead-Based Paint and Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Grant Programs





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