If you've just discovered that you've got lead paint in your home, you don't need to freeze in terror. However, you do need to act quickly to abate the problem, especially if you have young children. Lead paint poses a serious health risk for young children, primarily because they tend to touch things and then put their fingers in their mouths. Some young children will even put flakes of paint in their mouths, which is extremely harmful when it comes to lead paint. If the lead paint is primarily contained within the areas of cabinets, baseboards, and window frames, you should be able to take care of the abatement by yourself, if you follow specific safety guidelines. Here are some steps you should follow when removing lead paint:
Wear Protective Clothing
Before you start removing the lead paint, you'll need to put your protective clothing on. The protective clothing will prevent you from breathing in the paint particles, and keep the paint flakes off your hands. You'll need a half-mask respirator, that's available at most home improvement centers, and work gloves. Be sure to invest in durable, rubber work gloves, and not the type that is disposable. It's also important that you wear safety goggles to prevent paint chips from getting in your eyes, and causing serious injuries. If you have small children, it's a good idea to have them stay with friends or family while you're taking care of the cleanup.
Protect the Work Area
When it comes to removing lead paint, it's important to remember that the paint flakes can end up anywhere in the area. With that in mind, you'll need to protect the work area as much as possible. Place heavy-duty plastic sheeting on the ground, and secure it to the walls using tape. Once you start working on the baseboards, you'll need to remove the tape. Placing plastic sheeting on the ground will ensure easy cleanup. Once you're done, simply roll the plastic sheeting up, and place it in a heavy-duty trash bag. Be sure to contact your local fire department to find out where to nearest hazardous materials drop-off location is in your area. You don't want to put the lead paint flakes in your curbside trash cans.
Keep Things Moist
Once you begin removing the lead paint, you'll want to keep the area moist. Use a spray bottle to apply water to the area and allow it to soak in for a few minutes. Keeping the area moist as you scrape will help remove the paint easier, and will prevent dust. It's important to remember that you should never use a heat gun to remove lead paint. The heat can turn lead paint into vapor, which will increase your risk of inhalation.
If you've got lead paint on your cabinets or window frames, use the techniques to remove it safely. If you've got lead paint covering larger areas of your home, contact a lead paint abatement specialist. They'll remove it safely, and thoroughly.
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