If you’re looking to buy or sell an older house, it’s possible that you’ll be dealing with a home with lead paint. After all, most houses built before the 1960s tend to have some lead paint in them. This can sound like a scary situation, but luckily, there are plenty of solutions for dealing with lead paint. So, as long as you’re careful and follow the necessary steps for dealing with lead paint, then buying or selling an older home should be a breeze.
Potential Risk for a Home with Lead Paint
The reason lead paint is no longer used in homes today is simply because structures are safer without it. Back in the day, lead was used in paint to help add pigment to it. It also made the paint more durable and caused it to dry faster. Yet, despite all those benefits, lead paint is considered a toxic substance that can negatively affect humans, but only if the paint is flaking or peeling.
Up until the 1960s, lead was frequently used to paint homes in Canada. Once the potential hazards of it became known, it was less common and only used in small amounts. Then, in 1976, new government regulations restricted the lead paint amounts to only 0.5% of the paint’s weight. However, by 1991, manufacturers decided that it was better to stop using lead paint altogether.
Young children, specifically 6 years or younger, are the most at risk in older houses. After all, the lead is only harmful if the paint is peeling and it gets breathed in. Kids are likely to get their mouths on things they shouldn’t, which makes them more likely to consume the toxins. So, that is the main reason to be cautious around lead paint. Luckily, the dangers of lead paint generally aren’t severe though, especially when handled properly.
Buying or selling a home with lead paint isn’t against regulations unless the seller is aware of the lead paint or has had it tested. Then, they must disclose that information in advance.
Steps to Take for Selling a Home with Lead Paint
If you’re planning to sell an older home, it’s important not to stress about it. Luckily, selling a home with lead paint is not much different than selling any other home. You just have to take a few extra steps to ensure that everyone stays safe. So, here are some tips on selling your older home.
Tip #1 – If You’re Aware of Lead Paint In Your Home You Must Disclose that Information
If they know about it, the seller must disclose the fact that there’s lead paint on the property. However, it is common that landlords and sellers don’t know this information. If that is the case, then they don’t need to bring it up at all. If it is brought up, then they can just say they are not aware of any.
If the seller has done testing, here is some varied information the seller can supply to a buyer:
- An inspection report that explains where lead is present in the home
- A risk assessment report
- A letter of interim control
- A document that shows that the house is lead-free
Tip #2 – Testing for Lead Paint is Not Essential
Even though a seller must disclose any information they have about lead paint, they aren’t required to run any tests. However, testing can have its benefits. A home that’s certified lead-free is often much easier to sell than a home that isn’t guaranteed to be lead-free. Either way, it’s entirely up to the seller.
Tip #3 – Give the Buyer At Least 10 Days for Lead Paint Testing
If you don’t test your house for lead paint, then you have to at least allow the buyer some time to test it if they request to do so. You need to give them at least a 10-day period to conduct their own tests on the home if they wish. You might need to negotiate a smaller time period in the event that the house’s closing date falls before 10 days.
Steps to Take for Buying a Home with Lead Paint
As a buyer, it’s easy to become wary of homes with lead paint. However, there were a lot of houses built before the 1960s, and many older homes have a special charm to them. So, don’t let lead paint steer you away from buying your dream home. In most cases, you’ll have very few worries when it comes to dealing with lead paint. You just need to make sure you know what to expect. Here are some tips to help you prepare.
Tip #1 – You’re Not Required to Test for Lead Paint
If you’re purchasing a home, you’re not required to test for lead paint. The benefit of testing is that you can ensure that your home is as safe as possible. Yet, if a buyer is tight on money, learning that their home has lead paint could lead to extra costs. After all, some lead paint removal options can be quite pricey, but in many cases, they might not even be needed. So, it seems that many buyers voluntarily choose to not test their new home.
However, if you buy a home with lead paint and you have a child under six in your care, it’s required that you take care of the lead paint. Even if it doesn’t seem like a concern to you, it could be to a curious toddler.
Tip #2 – There are Many Ways to Deal with Lead Paint
Thankfully, there are many options you can choose if you need to get rid of lead paint. Here are the four most popular choices:
- Repair – In some cases, a fresh coat of lead-free paint is all you need. If the old surface is in good shape besides a few scrapes and peeling paint, then you might be able to simply touch up those areas. Washing the walls can help the old paint adhere to the new paint better. If the damaged surface is low enough for children to chew on though, then you should go with a different process.
- Cover – Completely covering is a better option if there are damaged surfaces within reach of children. In this scenario, you should use a durable material to cover up the lead paint, such as vinyl wallpaper, drywall, or paneling. Repairing and covering are not permanent solutions because they might need to be fixed again in the future, but they’re often easy and affordable options for the time being.
- Replace – Some aspects of the house might need to be replaced when you move in, such as doors, windows, baseboards, and other trim. These can be removed, replaced, and painted with lead-free paint. Yet, you have to be cautious with the surrounding paint when you remove these objects. It’s also important to thoroughly clean up the space after you replace damaged areas.
- Remove – In extreme cases, removing the lead paint is the most permanent action to take. However, it can also be dangerous to those who do it, which is why it’s recommended that only professionals remove lead paint. This is the most expensive option, so ideally, it should only be completed if the other options won’t work for your home.
Tip #3 – Choose Someone Qualified for Interim Control
Interim control refers to any steps taken to reduce the potential exposure of lead paint. In some cases, you might be able to do minor repairs yourself, but many homeowners turn to a professional. In order to complete interim control on your home, you’ll need to hire a licensed risk assessor. They will identify the areas that need to be fixed in the structure.
Dealing with lead paint is a big job, especially if you’re planning to remove the lead. It’s a good idea to talk to several contractors before deciding who to hire. You should feel comfortable letting this person modify your home and make it safer, so don’t hesitate to ask them plenty of questions beforehand.
Once all the repairs are completed, the licensed risk assessor will return to examine the home again. The risk assessor must approve all the changes, and then they’ll give you a Letter of Interim Control. That document is good for one year and can be renewed for a second year. After that, your home may need some more interim control done to it.
Tip #4 – Protect You and Your Family During Interim Control
Safety is key for any work you do on your home. If you hire someone to deal with the lead paint for you, then it’s best if you and your family stay out of the home at that time. This is especially important for children and pregnant women because being exposed to the dust and fumes is more dangerous for them. So, simply staying out of the way when the work is being done is the best way to go about it.
If you’re doing any of the work on your own, make sure you protect yourself and your surroundings too. Wear protective clothing, including goggles and gloves. You should also remove furniture from your work area and cover any objects that you are unable to move. Working on minor repairs shouldn’t be difficult, but it’s always better to be cautious just in case.
Standard Pricing for Dealing with Lead Paint
Dealing with lead paint is usually not cheap, but the price greatly varies depending on what steps you take. It could cost as low as $100 for the project, but it could also cost as much as $20,000 in extreme cases. In Canada, the average cost to remove lead paint in a single family home is $7,500. Lead paint removal is usually the most expensive option, but it’s also a good choice for long-term. Removing lead paint usually costs between $8 and $17 per square foot.
However, other options like covering and repairing are often smaller projects that are more affordable. It’s only about $4 per square foot to cover lead paint in a home. So, many people lean toward that option instead. In later years, it might need to be touched up again, but in many cases, it’s worth it.
Dealing with a home with lead paint is just the start of improving older houses. Oftentimes, you’ll need new paint jobs on top of the lead paint removal processes. Brad McDonnell Painting and Decorating offers painting services that can help your older home look good as new. Contact us today to help your house’s beauty shine through!