Lead Based Paint What a Buyer Should Know

By: Eric Badgely

Anytime a person buys an older home, it is only logical to assume that some lead-based paint is on the premises. Typically, this is not much of a concern unless the paint is flaking off or if a major renovation is planned.

If purchasing a home built before 1982, a buyer might expect it to contain some lead in the paint that was used over the years. The manufacture of lead-based paint was discontinued in 1978; however existing product was used in homes through 1982, when supplies were depleted.

The general guideline is to expect at least a strong probability of lead-based paints in older homes. This information applies to exterior and interior painted surfaces. Inside the home, lead-based paint was more common for trim than on the walls.

Lead-based paint is not considered to be a problem as long as the substance does not become airborne or easy to access (no flaking off -- so a child could ingest pieces). Maintaining all siding, exterior trim, interior trim, walls and woodwork in a well-painted and covered state minimizes possible exposure to lead. If a buyer has a special concern about lead based paints, easy and affordable lab tests are available to positively identify these products. When renovating or remodeling, a number of safety precautions should be followed if lead-based paint is present. An online search for 'lead-based paint' will quickly provide the consumer with a full range of safety tips as compiled by numerous government agencies and other industry professionals.

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