Lead paint / Asbestos concerns

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Hi I have found a property that may be a good deal. However it was built in 1946 and I am concerned about lead paint and asbestos. Most of my properties are less than 10 years old. Is this something I should be concerned about? Should I have a specific type of inspection? I would be renting it out. Thank you 

In our area of NEPA (Scranton/Wilkes Barre) the majority of property was built between 1910--1940.  We are familiar with both lead paint and asbestos issues.

Here's a bit of info to keep in mind:  once you test for lead paint (probably asbestos in some cases) you will need to reveal your findings to ALL occupants, tenants, and buyers.  You may also be opening up yourself to very costly remediation.

As long as you don't disturb lead paint by chipping, sanding, cutting into it, and as long as it has a good coat of modern non-lead paint, you should be ok.  Asbestos:  don't touch it.  If left undisturbed it will not be friable or disburse into the air.  If the outside cloth covering is torn or in bad shape, consider encapsulation which is special tape wrapped around the pipe.  

Guys with space suits and respirators are expensive--if you are determined to remove any and all lead or asbestos, figure that expense into your pro forma.

Disclosure:  I am not a certified lead paint remediator, nor an asbestos abator.  Just basing my comments on the last 40 years of my own personal/professional experience.


I had to deal with asbestos recently. Yes, you should be concerned.

asbestos in the attic, hvac ducts and boots, in the floor. If anything is deteriorating, there's a potential for asbestos contamination.

Same with lead paint. If the paint is chipping away, you got potential lead contamination.

Any asbestos certified inspector can do tests for you.

Look at the lead laws for your area and determine what you need to do to make it lead compliant. It really depends on the area.  Some areas you just have  to have no peeling chipping paint (interior or exterior), no painted friction surfaces(stairs windows).  Some areas you need to do more. I would assume since it is built in 1946 you have some lead but is it wood sided or vinyl?  what condition is it in. Yes you can test for lead but the age makes me think you should just assume it is there unless you are prepared to do the a full remediation (taking it to the studs), because once you test you can't say lead is unknown. Follow any testing your area requires but don't do it during the home inspection unless it is a deal breaker for you. 

Asbestos,  your home inspector should tell you if it looks like it is there. You can do testing on things you suspect are asbestos. Look online,  but what to look for is 8 x8 or 9 x 9 floor tiles (fine if undisturbed) some black floor adhesives, some of the white covering on heat pipes, vermiculite insulation, popcorn ceilings, some non-wood siding. most is fine if not disturbed.

I live in the Northeast where most housing stock is old, you just deal with it. Now if  you were on the west coast that might be different.

Thank you for the information. I think I will pass for now. The property was aluminum siding and in Mississippi. It would have been my first out of state purchase. Probably more than I want to handle at this time.