Especially if you have an older home, it’s a good idea to get a lead inspection before you take on a remodeling project. Maybe you’re planning a large-scale, whole-home remodel that involves knocking down walls. Maybe you’re just repainting a bathroom and changing out some hardware. Either way, there’s a good chance the paint in the area will be disturbed in the process.
If your paint contains lead, which is likely in an older home, and it chips, cracks, or deteriorates during a home remodel, you could expose yourself and your family to lead poisoning. You could also face potential legal risks and issues with selling your home unless you address the issue.
Common Sources of Leads in Homes
4 Reasons to Get a Lead Inspection
It’s always better to know what you’re dealing with before you start remodeling. Here are 4 reasons to protect yourself by getting a lead inspection first.
1. To Protect Your Home and Property Value
Homes built before the 80s are more likely to have lead-based paint. That’s because lead paint was banned for consumer use in the United States in 1978 due to health concerns. It was widely used prior to the ban, so lead paint is still present in millions of homes across the country. Fortunately, lead paint that hasn’t chipped, cracked, peeled, or deteriorated generally doesn’t pose a threat. If lead paint is disturbed, however, which is practically unavoidable during a home remodel, it can create lead dust and become a health hazard.
If lead paint is discovered in the process of remodeling your home and you don’t pursue remediation, it could impact your home’s resale value. In fact, economic studies have shown that there are significant financial benefits associated with testing and addressing lead issues in your home when it comes to selling.
2. To Ensure Your Family’s Health
Lead paint is banned in the United States for good reason. Exposure to lead particles and dust, which are often released during remodeling activities, can lead to serious health problems, including:
- Damage to the brain, liver, and kidneys
- Behavioral and learning problems
- Slowed growth in children
- High blood pressure
- Nausea and abdominal pain
- Nerve damage
- Hearing problems
- Fertility problems in both men and women
If you live in an older home and are planning a remodeling project, it’s essential that you have your home tested to identify lead paint, if it exists, in order to protect you, your family, and any construction workers that will be working inside the home from inhaling toxic lead particles.
3. To Avoid Liability Issues
Because of the dangers of lead exposure, there are strict laws about remodeling homes that contain lead paint, and you could be held liable if someone suffers lead poisoning as a result of your home remodel if you did not do your due diligence.
If you suspect that your home may contain lead paint or other sources of lead, it’s essential that you identify the issue prior to hiring a contractor and welcoming them into your home to begin the project. Testing your home for lead paint, obtaining the right permits, and hiring a contractor who’s certified by the EPA to safely remove lead-containing paint are simple steps to take that protect you against legal risk.
4. To Give Yourself Peace of Mind
When it comes down to it, having your home inspected and tested for lead before you begin a home remodel is much cheaper and easier to deal with than facing the risks associated with not testing. Sometimes, addressing the issue is as simple as painting over the existing paint. In other situations, you may need to call in a professional. Either way, identifying the issue saves you the stress and turmoil of not identifying it.
Remodeling your home is stressful enough on it’s own. Doing your due diligence to ensure you maintain your health in addition to your family’s well being and that of any workers you welcome into your home is well worth the hassle. DIY lead-paint test kits are available at hardware stores, which is a great first step to take, and having your sample professionally tested is quick and easy.
Have Your Home Professionally Tested For Lead
Before you remodel your home, take steps to protect your health, safety, and home and ensure you’re not taking on unnecessary legal risk. Getting a lead inspection and testing your home for lead ensures the health and safety of you, your family, and any workers. JSE Labs provides convenient professional lead testing and accurate, same-day results.
Lisa started in the industrial hygiene and environmental industry in 1992 as an asbestos microscopist and began performing building inspections for asbestos, lead paint, and other hazards in 1994.
“This career has been an amazing experience, traveling for work to perform inspections both locally and abroad to locations such as Hawaii and Germany. My real love however is being in the laboratory and assisting our wonderful clients.”