Abatement Options for Lead Paint on Siding

Construction & Contractors Articles

If you are looking to upgrade or refinish your pre-1978 siding, you should first find out whether the old paint covering your siding is lead based. Lead-based paint leads to serious health complications, including developmental delays in children, so part of the cost of upgrading your siding will have to include abatement. The cost for taking care of lead paint on your siding largely depends on which option you choose to go with. Your first step, however, would be contact a siding contractor who has experience with EPA laws surrounding lead paint and removal standards. After that, these are some of the options you can consider:

1. Sealing.

Instead of removing the lead-based paint, a special coating can be applied that basically seals the old surface off to the surrounding environment and allows that surface to be painted. This option is not as viable with lead paint that is in bad shape. If it is peeling, flaking, or generally unable to be made smooth, the sealing surface may not hold flaking paint onto the original wood, and the finished look of your siding will be uneven.

2. Paint Removal.

Scraping or sanding off the old paint and then refinishing your wooden siding is also an option, but this option can be more costly because of the precautions that need to be taken to avoid contaminating the surrounding soil. Removal is also labor intensive, which can drive up costs. Dry removal is not possible with current regulations. Instead, the paint can be scraped off or scrubbed off with wire brushes that prevent small particles of paint from becoming airborne and settling into the soil of surrounding properties. The paint needs to be vacuumed up as it's scraped to prevent any from settling on the soil. 

You can help offset removal costs by doing the work on your own, if your state regulations allow for it. Check with your city and state environmental agencies to avoid any legal repercussions and to obtain any needed work permits before attempting removal on your own. 

3. Complete Removal.

If you are worried about the cost of removal or the potential health risks of doing the work yourself, another options is to remove the offending siding entirely. This would mean completely replacing your wood siding with new siding and taking your old siding to a hazardous waste facility to be processed. Depending on the square footage of your house and what siding material you choose to replace the old siding, this option could actually be less expensive just because it is not as labor intensive nor as dangerous as lead paint removal. Keep in mind that exterior door frames, window frames, and porches might also need to be replaced if they are original to the house.

4. Encapsulation.

If you want to forget about restoring your old siding, sometimes it is possible to just install new siding over the tainted siding. However, this option is not always viable, and it still leaves lead contamination possible in the future. Installing new siding over existing siding is an attractive option financially, but it mostly postpones the need for lead abatement in the future. If the new siding is damaged, cut into, or needs to be removed, the toxic paint is still there underneath and will still need to be addressed by either you or a future homeowner at a later date. 

If you are concerned about whether or not your home has lead paint on the siding, get it tested before you start your refinishing project. Also, don't hesitate to contact a siding contractor through a website like http://www.lifetime-exteriors.net/ about sealing or removal options and to discuss which would be more cost effective and attractive for your home. 

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17 February 2016

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