Author Topic: Lead Paint  (Read 671 times)

Steeze

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Lead Paint
« on: July 17, 2020, 11:30:02 AM »
My personal residence is an early 1900s historical coop in NYC. The lead paint on the window frames, door frames, and baseboards was covered with a thick white sealer 2-3 owners ago. The paint is now cracking and chipping around some windows and baseboards.

I would like to get this taken care of as my wife and I are trying for a baby - what am I dealing with? Normally I would just throw on a respirator and scrape all the loose stuff and repaint with lead sealing paint. She could stay at my parents for a couple weeks while I did the work at nights / weekend.

Is it worth it / necessary to hire professionals for this? If so - what are ball park costs in your experience. Place is about 800sf with 200 LF of baseboards, 7 windows, and 11 doorways. Paint is in bad condition on 4 of the windows and about 25 LF of baseboards. Everything else is pretty solid.


starbuck

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Re: Lead Paint
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2020, 11:43:26 AM »
We've done a lot of lead paint remediation ourselves. Success of techniques vary depending on the layers of paint, but currently our favorite method is using a high-powered steamer to steam the paint and scrape it off manually. The best part of this is the wood is ready to paint once it's dry, no need to try and neutralize it from any chemicals that were used. It is imperative to section off the area you're working on to ensure everything stays contained. Something like zip poles could work if you can't plastic off an entire room or enough floor space. You'll also need all the correct safety equipment, like a respirator. We have a 2400 sq ft house we're working on (and we've already got kids) and while it can be time intensive, it's definitely doable at the DIY level.

Abe

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Re: Lead Paint
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2020, 10:37:35 PM »
Check with your coop board: DIY lead paint removal may not be allowed by them. Also check with local laws.

SailingOnASmallSailboat

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Re: Lead Paint
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2020, 12:31:32 PM »
I'd also make sure that if you remediate yourself that this is acceptable legal-wise down the road if you sell.

Sibley

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Re: Lead Paint
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2020, 02:05:12 PM »
Aside from the legalities...

Lead is really only an issue if ingested. Don't use a heat gun, because it can vaporize the lead (breath it in). Infrared might be ok, I haven't used it. Don't sand it. Scraping with good control over paint chips, followed by really good clean up can have pretty good results. Chemical stripper is also an option. I hadn't heard of the steam method, but it wouldn't be hot enough to vaporize the lead.

The key really is to contain it, then remove it. HEPA filters, wet wiping, etc.

However, bigger picture. The entire property may be chock full of lead.  From old paint chips that have gotten into the dirt, to the lead in all sorts of finishes... If there's old finishes that are still in good condition, it's because there's probably lead involved. Lead preserves. Just be aware. And if you do have a kid, don't let them lick the house.

affordablehousing

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Re: Lead Paint
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2020, 01:10:32 AM »
I would just rip it all out and re-trim everything. From friends' estimates they got for wood stripping and abatement I'd guess an abatement company would charge around $30K. I would think, for that money, you could get some gorgeous profile base and window and door casing and put it in. I would steam a small area and see if the patina is really worth it, or if new might be better.

If your place is nice, you shouldn't let the paint build up, it always looks messy, and you want it all to match. If it's a neat historic profile, take some sections and see if a lumberyard has a profile that's similar they can mill for you.

J Boogie

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Re: Lead Paint
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2020, 09:48:36 AM »
My personal residence is an early 1900s historical coop in NYC. The lead paint on the window frames, door frames, and baseboards was covered with a thick white sealer 2-3 owners ago. The paint is now cracking and chipping around some windows and baseboards.

I would like to get this taken care of as my wife and I are trying for a baby - what am I dealing with? Normally I would just throw on a respirator and scrape all the loose stuff and repaint with lead sealing paint. She could stay at my parents for a couple weeks while I did the work at nights / weekend.

Is it worth it / necessary to hire professionals for this? If so - what are ball park costs in your experience. Place is about 800sf with 200 LF of baseboards, 7 windows, and 11 doorways. Paint is in bad condition on 4 of the windows and about 25 LF of baseboards. Everything else is pretty solid.

I'd vote against excessive scraping. Here's what I'd do.

Remove any chips on baseboard and casing trim, lightly hand sand with 180 grit or higher (with a HEPA vacuum running during sanding or cleaning up right after), and re-paint. I'd recommend using Ecobond lead defender.

The windows and doors will be a more difficult situation to address. They are subject to friction and impact as they are opened and closed, especially as the wood expands during the humid months. The friction and impact will continuously free new dust and chips. I replaced all my windows with locally made wood sash kits. I know Marvin makes a tilt pac sash kit that is well reviewed. It will cost a similar price as having the windows professionally scraped and repainted. I ecobonded the one problem door and the surrounding trim, and I occasionally have to vacuum up paint chips as my toddler sometimes slams it during tantrums. Lead paint is very much part of his vocabulary now lol. I once asked him if knew what our house was made of, thinking he would say wood, but his reply was Lead Paint.

I will admit about Ecobond that it is pretty thick stuff that will further mute any remaining crispness of your moulding profiles. I'm a big fan of historical profiles but most of my profiles are already glopped and shmooed so I'm not gonna trip about another thick coat.


Steeze

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Re: Lead Paint
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2020, 05:31:52 PM »
Thanks - luckily all the windows were replaced at some point - so they are all aluminum with aluminum sash. Its just the trim and sills that need help, all the moving parts are replacement.

Wish ripping out all the trim and baseboards to replace was in the cards, but it would be a huge cost. Want to DIY as much as possible and I do not have the tools or anywhere to store tools or materials (NYC Problems). With the way things are going right now I am hesitant to spend any large amounts of money on this coop, prices are already falling in the neighborhood, and I have very little appreciation for margin.

A friend of mine who is a painter is going to come down and help me with the project - figure if I am going to pay someone I might as well keep it in the family. Wife will go upstate to my parents, he will come down for a week and fly the couch - we will knock it out over a week (hopefully). He is slow, meticulous, and paid by the hour :)

So far the plan is to move everything to the center of the rooms and cover with plastic sheeting, tape it down. Then close off the four rooms using plastic sheeting to make separate work areas. The exterior walls and windows are in the worst shape, so we will use a zipwall to separate a 5' wide work area along the exterior wall in each room. We will work 1 room at a time, completing the prep.

Prep will be first scraping the large loose areas of paint that are coming off in big chunks, then wet sanding (by hand) as needed to remove any exposed lead paint. Use a HEPA filter vacuum to clean as we go. My friend also has a palm sander that hooks up to his HEPA vacuum if needed (that is his preferred method), though I am not sure if this will create a ton of dust.

We will use wood filler or MH Ready Patch for areas we remove by scraping to level, and wood hardener for any soft wood. Then we will apply Ecobond as a primer and top coat.

Although there are 11 doorways, there are actually only 5 doors, 2 of which are closets. So the doorways do not see too much wear these days. The base boards are also in decent shape with the exception of the exterior wall. For all of the remaining areas I think we will skip the scraping, just wet sand and repaint with Ecobond.

I have been searching for a solution for the 25 LF of baseboards that are in poor condition - I cannot find a match in any catalogs. My plan at this point is to scrape, sand, and use wood hardener before repainting with Ecobond. I will probably replace the 1/4 rounds at the bottom though. Not sure how to get someone to cut a custom profile, or how much it would cost. Hopefully the wood hardener will do the trick.

Once it is all done we will roll up the plastic, tape it up in trash bags, and give this place a thorough dusting. My mom cleans houses for a living, I will probably try to pay her to come down and clean it corner to corner. She is wayyyyyy more thorough when it comes to cleaning than I (or my wife) are capable of.

The crispness of the details are pretty much gone at this point. Who ever sealed this stuff up originally did so with a very thick product. I am not worried about that so much - I noticed it when I was considering buying this place, but didn't mind. This place is 100+ years old, and all the thick paint just goes along with it. This place is like a time capsule. Just need it to be a time capsule with less paint chips!

Smart teaching your kid about lead paint - hopefully that is enough to keep him away from it. Do you get him tested periodically? Not sure how much I need to be worried about this - do kids just love to eat paint or what?


starbuck

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Re: Lead Paint
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2020, 07:11:52 PM »
Smart teaching your kid about lead paint - hopefully that is enough to keep him away from it. Do you get him tested periodically? Not sure how much I need to be worried about this - do kids just love to eat paint or what?

I think the minimum requirement is testing twice before age 5. The most important time for testing is crawling-age 2, because their hands are on the ground a lot, and they are in the 'stick everything in their mouths' phase of life, which they start to emerge from around 2 years old. (I mean, not always, because my 4 year old is constantly putting his fingers in his mouth.)

But that's only the minimum, and you can always get a kid tested more if their environment has certain risk factors, like active renovations in an older property.

In our house, we talk a lot about 'dirty paint' and all doors and windows are off-limits for kid hands. (Well, there's only one unstripped door that still needs to be removed.) The dirt around the exterior of the house is also off limits for digging!

Dollar Slice

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Re: Lead Paint
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2020, 11:39:44 PM »
Not sure how much I need to be worried about this - do kids just love to eat paint or what?

Part of the reason lead paint is a big problem for small children is that some lead compounds actually taste sweet on the tongue, and one of those compounds is found in the sort of paint you get in a lot of old buildings (lead acetate). So in their endless quest to put everything in your apartment in their mouth, lead paint is probably the only thing they'll find that actually tastes good. So they continue eating it.

The other reason lead paint is a problem for small children is that it gradually wears away into dust that settles on the floor, and babies who are crawling around and putting everything (including their hands, which were all over the floor) into their mouths will pick up that lead-contaminated dust and ingest it without anyone realizing it. It's not just visible paint chips you have to worry about.

Steeze

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Re: Lead Paint
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2020, 05:17:32 PM »
I spent $200 and got a Vacmaster Pro Lead Safe wet/dry hepa vacuum - just arrived today. I spent 5-6 hours vacuuming every inch of my 800sf apartment, floors, walls, baseboards, windows, picture rails. I already feel better.

Cleaner than when I bought the place probably. Now just to keep it this way...

marble_faun

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Re: Lead Paint
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2020, 06:29:33 PM »
It's good that you are dealing with this!

Lead poisoning is also a concern of mine.  We have a baby and live in a rental with lots of old, chipping paint.

We will be moving to our own house very soon (whew!), but what I did as a temporary fix was to put painters' tape over all the worst areas of chipping paint.  We leave the door near where the baby sleeps open all the time to avoid paint-chipping friction.  I avoid stirring up any dust around the windows or baseboard trim and clean them with wet paper towels, only after the baby has gone to sleep for the night.  We clean the baby's hands after every play session on the floor and keep toys covered to prevent them from getting dusty.

The lead levels in the water are also very high here, so we drink only water from a local spring.

Just recently we had the baby tested for lead to be on the safe side.  Thankfully the test came back completely negative (below the threshold for even reporting).  HUGE relief!