Anyone own pre-1978 property?

42 Replies

When I bought my property 6.5 years ago, I was a total newbie and pretty much did everything wrong.  Bought when the market was still high (and interest was at 7.5%) and then shortly after, the bubble burst and my property way under water.  Long story short, I tried to do some renovations myself or hired handymen to do the work because my finances were very slim.  My question relates to lead based paint because I am reading about it and I didn't know that if the property was pre-1978, you're not even supposed to paint the property yourself unless you're EPA certified.  Does anyone out there have info that can shed more light on this topic?  I'm curious because many of the landlords in my community do alot of painting and renovation projects in their buidlings and I'm sure none are EPA certified. 

@Karen S.  You are referring to the EPA RRP rule.  You can easily look up the regulation; there is a pamphlet available. 

You didn't say how old your house is.  The chances of it having lead paint increase with the age of the year built. In a nutshell, you are allowed to work on your own property (homeowners are exempt) but you may not hire someone to do work (that disturbs more than a certain amount) unless they are certified  

However, if it is a rental, the homeowner exemption does not apply.  Your best bet  would be to have it tested, especially if the tenants have children under the age of 6.  

The regulations talk about "disturbing" more than X number of square feet of paint.  I'm no attorney or English language expert, but one generally does not "disturb" the underlying paint just by painting over it.  I'm no physician either, but you don't get sick from lead-based paint unless you breath it (like breathing in the dust from paint that has been "disturbed") or eat it.

My personal residence was built in 1923. The lead paint thing never really scared me.  Scrape vs. sand if necessary.  

Around here not too many people follow the EPAs guidelines for painting.  It's odd...people just ignore it. 

@Karen S.  

You can get a LBP (Lead Based Paint) test kit from Home Depot or Lowes. If you are really concerned about it or just want to know the 'real' facts, take the training class. That's what I did. NC RRP #20550

@Bryan L., Take the EPA class on lead paint, especially if you're "coaching" REI, you need to know this stuff. Here's a few tips...

1) Lead paint exposure can kill you. Some painters will use a heat gun to loosen old paint or wallpaper. If you heat lead paint over 1100 degrees with a heat gun, the vapors can cause your brain to swell. People might think, "I'm just heating the wallpaper glue, I'll be fine!" but the paint behind the paper might be lead based and they won't be fine. Wanna play Russian Roulette anyone? I don't.

2) It's illegal in a lot of states to use a mechanical sander or grinder on lead paint. A lot of floors were painted with the stuff because it's so durable. Wanna get that hardwood back? You need to know the laws. 

3) Pressure washing your house that has lead paint on it? Illegal in some states without containment for the water and paint chips. (Yes, the water needs to be contained.) Same with sandblasting. 

4) Try to de-lead your house yourself? Signs of illegal deleading get your house flagged in MA and you can never get a lead certificate on that property after. I assume other states are similar.

I was talking to a painter last week who had been fined $18,000 because of a lead issue. This isn't a joke. The fines are real and can destroy your bottom line. I can get fined $32,500 for not having my HEPA vacuum on the job site. Just for it not being there! A regular shop vac isn't acceptable. It needs to be a special EPA certified HEPA vac. You can't toss a HEPA filter in your existing vac and think you're close enough. It's not legal. 


Originally posted by @Karen S. :

My question relates to lead based paint because I am reading about it and I didn't know that if the property was pre-1978, you're not even supposed to paint the property yourself unless you're EPA certified.

I'd check those facts, as other posters have said the scraping/sanding is the issue. 

Karen...Are you discussing simply painting here?


Gail

@Karen S.  for interior work you can (in my area) "encapsulate" the lead paint with oil based primer.

For the exterior you will need a certified lead based painter who will follow the rules. The penalties for hiring uncertified painters is huge.

This has become a racket for painters with the prices tripling because of the extra regulations. I was getting bids for 8k. If you shop you can find a certified painter that will be more reasonable

@Jeff S.   It's not an oil based primer that encapsulates the paint. It's an encapsulating paint, such as Lead Block and it can only be used if the existing paint is adhering well enough to the wall. You need to do an "X" test with duct tape before you can use it. The results need to be recorded on a specific form. It also needs to be put on to a specific thickness, with a gauge. 

It's not a racket, the additional regulations add a ton of labor and expenses to the job. There are regs that determine how thick the plastic on the floor has to be and even how thick the trash bags have to be. Those costs get passed to the end consumer. 

Karen, I didn't read everything and apologize if this was already said (my dogs need to go out so typing fast), but just wanted to repeat one thing and add one thing.  1)  If it's your house, at least where I am, you can do what you want. 2)  If you want to rent out, you can LEARN how to do lead abatement yourself.   It's not a tough hurdle.   I helped a friend with that after he got whatever education he needed -- basically a course offered by a county agency.   Don't be scared out of doing it yourself.    -Kate

All of our buildings are pre-1978... Granted, I do not operate in an overly-regulated state like CA or MA, but the risk of lead exposure is extremely low.

We have a LBP and Radon disclosure tacked on to each lease. We don't have paint chips laying around and we usually advise our tenants to not eat paint. Also I have not been able to find credible evidence of anyone ever having ill effects from radon gas in their residence.

People will say a lot of scary stuff about it, but sometimes it's ridiculous. Few of our ancestors died of lead exposure, and they all had it in their houses. If your painter is using a heat gun to strip wallpaper and heats the paint to 1100 degrees... your building will burn down before his brain can swell. (Paper ignites around 450 degrees)

IMHO, the real risks involved with lead paint are legal, not medical. On that, you need to educate yourself on your local and state laws, not on a forum full of (often helpful) hear-say. Then you weigh the risks... and probably paint over it.

Originally posted by @Chris Volkers :

All of our buildings are pre-1978... Granted, I do not operate in an overly-regulated state like CA or MA, but the risk of lead exposure is extremely low.

We have a LBP and Radon disclosure tacked on to each lease. We don't have paint chips laying around and we usually advise our tenants to not eat paint. Also I have not been able to find credible evidence of anyone ever having ill effects from radon gas in their residence.

People will say a lot of scary stuff about it, but sometimes it's ridiculous. Few of our ancestors died of lead exposure, and they all had it in their houses. If your painter is using a heat gun to strip wallpaper and heats the paint to 1100 degrees... your building will burn down before his brain can swell. (Paper ignites around 450 degrees)

IMHO, the real risks involved with lead paint are legal, not medical. On that, you need to educate yourself on your local and state laws, not on a forum full of (often helpful) hear-say. Then you weigh the risks... and probably paint over it.

Absolutely Chris, don't worry about it. The CDC says that in Indiana, only about 25,000 kids have lead poisoning. But don't worry, there are 522,000 kids in the state, so you have plenty of healthy ones. 

It's not the paint chips that are the problem. It's the dust. If a movable surface (door jamb, window, etc) has lead paint on it, it releases dust when the parts move. That dust then ends up on a kids hand as she crawls or plays on the floor, or waits at the window watching for daddy to come home from work. Let's say this kid has a snack while waiting for Daddy and uses the windowsill as a table. I'm sure it happens a lot. I know my kids used to eat on the windowsill and watch the birds all the time. 

But, hey, don't worry about it, it's not your kid.

Originally posted by @Chris Volkers :

All of our buildings are pre-1978... Granted, I do not operate in an overly-regulated state like CA or MA, but the risk of lead exposure is extremely low.

We have a LBP and Radon disclosure tacked on to each lease. We don't have paint chips laying around and we usually advise our tenants to not eat paint. Also I have not been able to find credible evidence of anyone ever having ill effects from radon gas in their residence.

People will say a lot of scary stuff about it, but sometimes it's ridiculous. Few of our ancestors died of lead exposure, and they all had it in their houses. If your painter is using a heat gun to strip wallpaper and heats the paint to 1100 degrees... your building will burn down before his brain can swell. (Paper ignites around 450 degrees)

IMHO, the real risks involved with lead paint are legal, not medical. On that, you need to educate yourself on your local and state laws, not on a forum full of (often helpful) hear-say. Then you weigh the risks... and probably paint over it.

I wan't going to comment on the Radon, I have a Lead License, not a Radon one so I haven't been educated in Radon, but a simple Google search of "radon risks" brought me to the  EPA website where I read this...

'The United Nation's World Health Organization (WHO) says that radon is a worldwide health risk in homes. Dr. Maria Neira of WHO said that "Most radon-induced lung cancers occur from low and medium dose exposures in people's homes. Radon is the second most important cause of lung cancer after smoking in many countries."' (emphasis added)

The World Health Organization and The Environmental Protection Agency aren't "credible" in your humble opinion? Or you just didn't really educate yourself before posting that reply?

It goes on to say "Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to EPA estimates. Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked. On January 13, 2005, Dr. Richard H. Carmona, the U.S. Surgeon General, issued a national health advisory on radon." (emphasis added)

So the US Surgeon General isn't a credible source of information either, huh? 

People come on here asking for professional opinions. Granted, most of us are not lawyers or doctors, but a lot of us have licenses to do various aspects of construction. We have taken classes to get our licenses and have to take "continuing education" classes yearly (or ever couple years depending on the license) so that we stay educated in our respective areas in order to keep our licenses. We come on here for various reasons, to learn new things, to help people, to get new business, because there's nothing on TV worth watching, etc. 

Is what we say heresay? (noun information received from other people that one cannot adequately substantiate; rumor.)  No. It's not. Everything is verifiable if the person takes the time to verify. Just like I verified that you, Chris, were falsely claiming that lead paint and radon are merely legal and not medical issues. (Since you don't have M.D. after your name, I didn't really think it would be hard to verify.) 

Over 1,000,000 kids in the US have lead poisoning (25,000 of which are in your state) and 21,000 cases of lung cancer are caused by Radon exposure annually. Seems medical to me.

Originally posted by @Derreck Wells:

Absolutely Chris, don't worry about it. The CDC says that in Indiana, only about 25,000 kids have lead poisoning. But don't worry, there are 522,000 kids in the state, so you have plenty of healthy ones. 

Derreck, do you really believe that (according to your numbers) nearly 5% of the children in Indiana suffer from lead poisoning? 

That is about as outrageous as heating a wall up to 1100 degrees to strip wallpaper. 

If you think government agencies are credible then you and I are not going to find any middle ground here. We've both tried to be helpful to Karen by sharing our views. I apologize if you feel I have made light of your livelihood or personally insulted you. I don't wish to hijack Karen's thread any further. I wish you the best.

HEY MAN!!  I am a licensed contractor in MN.  the regulation is this; if there is lead based paint it just needs to be sealed, I am assuming the regulation is the same where ever.   so this means, if there is lead based paint, it just needs to be painted over with oil based paint, this is the best.  as I read earlier, food for thought, ha ha.  I hope this helps.  but you can google it also.  :)

Take care

Todd

I am with @Chris Volkers  on this. My own home was built in 1974, most of my rentals too. As long as the paint is not chipping/peeling, you have nothing to worry about - just paint over it. I have some Section 8 tenants, and annual inspections - again, as long as there is no chipping/peeling paint, I have no problem passing the inspections.

@Karen S.  Reading into your post..... it sounds like the environment you are in is more toxic than the property.

Filter all the noise the people around you are delivering you and what you are reading.  When I read and associate with people that are pessimistic, I become it.  

Frank

Frank Romine, Real Estate Agent in CA (#01957844)

I am a landlord in MA and am certified to perform RRP work and Deleading. I have deleaded 2 units in 2014 and received full letters of compliance.

Now that this is said, it really depends on the work you are doing. The RRP rule only matters if you are breaking walls or opening them up. If you are just painting and putting up new cabinets then you are in compliance with the RRP rule. PM me for more info.

Lead based paint is a pretty scary thing when you are takling about renting to families with young kids.  In the Cleveland area doctors check the lead in kids bloods every year, unlike other areas-ever 2 or 3 years because of the age of the housing stock. Most of the posts on here are pretty thorough. Just be sure to include disclosures in your lease agreements.

And you're right on that @Rumen Mladenov  , you can leave it in place as long as it's intact and not an outside corner that a kid can get his mouth on, or a movable surface.

@Chris Volkers  People use heat guns to strip wallpaper all the time (see link below). I'm not saying it's intelligent, but obviously, all people aren't intelligent. They like to make things up and not believe the evidence in front of them. What are you gonna do? People get set in their ways.

 https://www.google.com/search?client=opera&q=heat+gun+to+strip+paint&sourceid=opera&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8#q=heat+gun+to+strip+wallpaper

Originally posted by @Derreck Wells:

And you're right on that @Rumen Mladenov  , you can leave it in place as long as it's intact and not an outside corner that a kid can get his mouth on, or a movable surface.

@Chris Volkers  People use heat guns to strip wallpaper all the time (see link below). I'm not saying it's intelligent, but obviously, all people aren't intelligent. They like to make things up and not believe the evidence in front of them. What are you gonna do? People get set in their ways.

 https://www.google.com/search?client=opera&q=heat+gun+to+strip+paint&sourceid=opera&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8#q=heat+gun+to+strip+wallpaper

Chris wasn't questioning the use of heat guns, simply the potential for someone to use one to heat paint up to 1100°. As he said, paper ignites at 452° so nobody using a heat gun on wallpaper is going to heat the paint behind it to 1100°.

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