If a home inspection reveals that your residence contains lead-based paint you can paint over it as a form of remediation. The process is called encapsulation, but it comes with caveats. Here’s what you need to know.
You can paint over lead, but you can’t use just any paint.
Standard paints and coatings aren’t intended to remediate lead. You need to use a lead encapsulating paint that is specifically formulated to allow you to paint over lead paint and seal in its harmful effects.
You can’t use lead encapsulating paint over peeling lead paint.
In our previous post on lead-based paint we talked about alligatoring, which is when a lead paint that’s deteriorating begins to flake and peel in a pattern that resembles alligator scales.
Don’t make the mistake of painting over lead paint that’s starting to peel thinking you’ll get it to re-adhere to prevent further deterioration. It won’t work. Lead paint that is starting to flake and peel will cause anything painted on top of it to come off. So in cases of deteriorating lead paint, encapsulation is not a viable option. Before you attempt to encapsulate lead paint the existing paint on your walls must be adhering well to the surface, and not flaking away.
Lead paint disclosures for older homes.
If you’re buying a home that was built in 1978 or earlier it’s suspected to have lead-based paint. Real estate agents are required to include a lead-based paint and hazards disclosure form in the purchase and sale agreement of the home, according to HomeLight. The disclosure asks the homeowner whether or not they’re aware of any lead paint in the home. If their answer is yes, they’ll need to explain how—whether they were told by the previous owner, or if they had a lead paint test performed. If they don’t know if lead is present, that’s OK. As a buyer, you can have a test performed, or waive your right to do so.
If you want to know if your own home has lead paint before you put it on the market your best option is to get a professional lead paint inspection.
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