Lead Renovation, Repair & Paint

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule governing the work of professional remodelers in homes where there is lead-based paint took effect April 22, 2010. Various regional offices of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have begun inspections and enforcement actions on the Lead: Renovation, Repair, and Painting rule. On this page there is useful information from the EPA and NAHB on how to properly carry out renovations and other links to educate yourself on the regulations of lead based paints.

EPA makes most recent Renovate Right pamphlet available
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is advising home owners to test their homes for lead paint dust after getting any remodeling or renovation work done – and now requiring remodelers to inform home owners of that option through its newly revised Renovate Right pamphlet. The current edition, dated September 2011, is available for download from the EPA. Click here to read more.

Remodelers working in pre-1978 homes must follow the rule or risk fines and litigation for regulation violations.
The rule addresses remodeling and renovation projects disturbing more than six square feet of potentially contaminated painted surfaces for all residential and multifamily structures built prior to 1978. It requires a cleaning inspection after the work is completed and grants the remodeler flexibility in determining the size of the work area, which can reduce the size of the area subject to containment. The EPA rule also lists prohibited work practices including open-torch burning and using high-heat guns and high-speed equipment such as grinders and sanders unless equipped with a HEPA filter. Additionally, the rule establishes required lead-safe work practices, including posting warning signs for occupants and visitors; using disposable plastic drop cloths; cleaning the work area with HEPA vacuuming and wet washing; and individual certification through a training course. The full rule and brochures for consumers and renovators can be downloaded off of the Environmental Protection Agency’s web site.

A 2006 NAHB study on lead-safe work practices showed that a home was better off after a remodel than before, as long as the work was performed by trained remodelers who clean the work area with HEPA-equipped vacuums, wet washing and disposable drop cloths.

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Be aware and be ready. Start by looking over these resources from the NAHB: