Handyman basing quote on lead paint concerns

23 Replies

Hey there BP experts! 

I closed on my first rental prop (4-unit student housing) in October and I'm totally new to working with contractors. 

The property is old, built in 1911. It has some rodent issues and I want to get the unfinished basement sealed off. There are tons of holes in the siding that contacts the ground. I got a quote from a handyman to do this and he is saying that because of the age of the property, he will need to take special care to follow EPA guidelines for lead paint. I have no evidence (nor does he, as far as I know) that there actually is lead paint. 

With that being said, he quoted to seal off the basement area to rodent entry & to repair the siding as needed (without painting) it would be their cost of materials +20% markup and a labor rate of $130.00 per man-hour.

Does this sound reasonable? I am in the Willamette Valley in Oregon (Albany/Corvallis area). 

Thanks for any help you can provide! 


I wouldn't sign a man-hour contract.  No better way to motivate him to bring in a crowd and take forever on a project.

Hey there Jake, My two cents.....

First of all, let me say that I am a trained, apprenticed Journeyman Carpenter of over 35 years.
This means UNION where I come from. 


I know, what is a UNION guy doing in this kind of work....

Well, personally, I will use Union trades when my bottom line is low enough, and when time and talent are not available. No, this is not a political message...

Anyway, I have been through many lead abatement programs. The idea is to have more Union guys trained than the non-union, gaining in the market share. 

However, unless I am working on a substantial commercial development, the lead thing is not much of an issue, unless the area we are working in has young children using it. The same is with Asbestos. I know what the rules are, and I make myself and my work safe for me, before anyone else. 

Lead is heavy. It's not something that floats around the room like asbestos. Both can be sealed, or encapsulated. If you speak to a local Union carpenter business representative, he may be able to set you up with some free training. Tell him you are thinking of using some Union carpenters when you can. If you have a Union hater bone in you, then it's your fault.
I am in northern Illinois, and I would help you out! Safety first, for YOU, and for those who will use the property you restore.

OK, done with the first part.

Unless there is lead documentation somewhere, that mandates you abate it per the written standards, for the most part, you need just eliminate the pealing, and paint or seal over it! Lead is in your high gloss colors and reds mostly. Oil based paint and sealants are what I use.
I would not advise documenting there is lead paint, unless you have tested it and that test was mandated by the local inspectors. The age of the building says it all. BUT, once there is record of Lead, you must document what you did to abate it, and perhaps document where you found it.

I am not a lawyer. This is what I do. Good luck!

Another thing to think of.... Lead poisoning is reversible. Asbestos contamination for extended periods has been proven to be very bad, health-wise. However, I used to saw Lead siding with a skill saw when I was a kid, and my dad and I have no issues that others have had. It's probably like  the habitual chain smoker of 80 years is more healthy than the guy next to him who just smoked filter cigarettes for just a few years, and died from lung cancer.

Do good, every time you can. 

As far as the EPA (BIG BROTHER) is concerned EVERY house constructed prior to 1978 has lead paint issues. The Reason: Every gallon of oil based paint sold prior to 1978 had lead in it. Lead was also added on the job site as well.

You had better be handing out the EPA mandated brochure to EVERY resident and having them sign the form as required by law. Any omission on your part is an admission of guilt.

The term you should get used to hearing is "Abatement". Lead, mold and asbestos abatement are all governed by somebody. Usually the EPA. 

There are companies that check for lead based paint and other companies that perform lead based paint abatement. Neither is cheap.

The other issue that you should be concerned about in a house that old is mold. 

Check with the county government in your area. The sometimes have an office called the "Intergovernmental Grants Dept" or some such thing. Depending on funding there may be lead abatement grants for properties that rent to low income families. They fund the work and place a disappearing mortgage on the real estate. You agree to rent to low income families and they forgive the loan at 1o or 20 percent per year. We have had 3 houses receive up to $15,000 worth of lead abatement work and all we had to do was rent low income for 5 years after completion of the abatement

Just use encapsulating paint. Kilz, Bullseye, whichever, and then do the work. 

Maybe you can be more specific in how you intend on "sealing off the basement"... are you sealing it with plywood or a door? 

The  handyman wants 130$ an hour lol are you serious ? that’s completely insane . My handyman would literally drink lead based paint from a tall glass if I offered him 130$ . Unless you are forced by the government officials by gun point t there’s no way on earth I’d be paying for such outrageous things or prices . Lead and asbestos are no big deal .they actually are good in some regards . Look  Those college students you’ll be renting to will be drinking and smoking things in your units much worse than that so you needn’t spend a bunch of cash on remediation  . 

I second @George Skidis , I purchased a home built in 1926, lead in the paint and in the pipes.  As for $130/hr is a price I've never heard.  I've come across $25 to $45/hr, however I'm not a fan of hiring someone who gets paid by the hour.  How does this person Clock-in or Clock-out?  How do you know the person actually showed up and stayed and did the work?  Better to get a quote for the job completed with materials rather than by the hour.

Sounds like you talked to a professional company that follows the rules for dealing with lead based paint .  I cant say if the labor rate is high or low  for Oregon , but in Maryland it would be in that same range .  The rules and regs as far as working with lead based paint are extensive . I would get other estimates and see if they are in the same range .

@Jake Sablosky first off, if you're in Oregon you cannot hire a handyman to do that work, they need to he a licensed contractor, and you may need to a licensed developer. Oregon has VERY strict licensing laws and big fines, ask

@Jay Hinrichs .

There are also disclosures regarding lead based paint that need to be provided at sale.

Finally, if there is lead based paint, only contractors certified to deal with it can do it, again big fines for not using correct contractors.

Originally posted by @Karen Margrave :

@Jake Sablosky first off, if you're in Oregon you cannot hire a handyman to do that work, they need to he a licensed contractor, and you may need to a licensed developer. Oregon has VERY strict licensing laws and big fines, ask

@Jay Hinrichs.

There are also disclosures regarding lead based paint that need to be provided at sale.

Finally, if there is lead based paint, only contractors certified to deal with it can do it, again big fines for not using correct contractors. 

ya to be safe he could just get a lead based paint certified person to come out and give him a once over of what he really has so he can develop a scope of work.. And yes Oregon is nutso on licenses

 

@Jake Sablosky

What your contractor is talking about is the EPA RRP requirements. They came into effect 6 or 7 years ago and basically state any contractor that is disturbing any painted surfaces of a home built before 1978 must either prove the paint is lead free (by having the paint tested) or must take preventative measures for mitigating the spread of lead based paint dust. The requirements are a pain in the butt and over the top but that doesn't change the fact that it is required protocol for this house.

The fact that this contractor is aware of the regulations means he's more likely to be legit than your typical guy in a truck handyman

Thanks for all your responses. This info is super helpful! I am thinking now maybe his rate is not so far off the mark but that it might be a better idea to get an estimate instead of an open-ended per/hour rate. 

Also, the award goes to @Dennis M. for the first comment that has made me spit my drink out laughing so hard for your lead paint in a tall glass comment. 

Originally posted by @Jake Sablosky :

Thanks for all your responses. This info is super helpful! I am thinking now maybe his rate is not so far off the mark but that it might be a better idea to get an estimate instead of an open-ended per/hour rate. 

Also, the award goes to @Dennis M. for the first comment that has made me spit my drink out laughing so hard for your lead paint in a tall glass comment. 

Honestly he actually would . That’s not even a joke . When I pay him up front I tell him straight up please don’t spend all this cash on a bag of weed because tomorrow some  of that money needs to buy supplies at Home Depot ! The  Guy does a good job for me though 

 

I’m RRP certified (as I’m sure many others here are). It was worth the time and cost for the class for me because I do a lot of my own work and I want to be safe for both myself, my family, and my tenants.

There is most likely lead paint in your project, but to do it right and per RRP procedures, it might add 2-3 hours of work to the project. Instead of just throwing down a drop cloth, you need to use plastic. Inside, there’s a lot of plastic, sealing things off and making cleanup easier - but it’s not rocket science. It shouldn’t cost significantly more.

Again - there’s some more prep, more cleanup... but the work is the same. You’re still doing the same paint/carpentry as usual.

I don’t see how increasing the hourly rate does anything. If the project would take 20 hours, now it takes 23.

I’m feeling that you might be being take an advantage of.

@Jake Lisac to add to your statement, any contractor regardless of their trade who is working on a home built prior to 1978 needs to be lead abatement certified; even the tile guy who is coming in at the end of the project to install tile

@Jake Sablosky you can get lead testing kits at any hardware store that will give you a good idea of what you are dealing with. They are basically swab like testers that preform a chemical reaction when they contact lead and turn pink

@Jake Sablosky 130/hr for a handyman, meeh. 130/hr for a professional company, you’re in the ballpark for Oregon. Im licensed for EPA renovation, im NOT A UNION contractor, there are certain things i can do to “renovate”, however, if there is positive lead, i can’t abate. Asbestos is a diff issue, more severe, so someone saying lead and asbestos is not a big deal concerns me. Check his license at the EPA website, if he’s not there, he can’t work on your property, assuming you have positive lead, which im 90% sure it has. Pre-1978, not ALL paints have lead, MOST paints do.

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