Guest Post by Wade Myer – Wade grew up under the watchful eye his father, a contractor, who taught him the tools of the trade. Even though he can swing a hammer with the best of them, he’s always been drawn to the written word where he can frame sentences rather than walls. Currently he writes on behalf of Steiner Homes LTD. who builds Crown Point custom homes.
Old homes are a treasure. They are, in a sense, a living history. As concrete connections to the past, there is a tendency to romanticize the home. It becomes a sacred place that cannot be modified without good reason or an equally as historic alternative. There are some aspects of old homes that should be changed to fit with the more modern times. Lead paints, popularly used in old homes should be traded for safer, modern paints.
Lead paint was banned in 1978. Before that time, many homes in the United States used Lead Based paint to decorate, so if you are in possession of an historic home, there is a high chance it has lead based paint.
Why is Lead Based Paint a Problem?
Lead paint can enter the body through food, water, and air. Once in the body, it can cause comas and death at a high level of exposure, and problems with brain development, blood cells, and kidneys in a lower concentration and exposure period.
If you have children, it is imperative that you take the threat of lead based paint seriously. Children eat anything that they can get into their mouth, so the likelihood that they will eat the lead based paint is relatively high. Children’s growing bodies make them more susceptible to lead poisoning, and prolonged exposure can have negative impacts on physical and mental development.
Due to the severe risks of lead poisoning, it is important to discover if your home currently has lead paint and if your family’s current lead exposure is high. In order to protect your family, high lead exposure should be followed by immediate remediation. You can find DIY lead test kits here.
What If I Have Lead Based Paint In My Home, But No Lead Exposure?
The danger of lead paint can lie dormant for years before becoming a problem.
If the lead paint is still in pristine condition, you have two options:
- Hold off until the lead paint does become a problem.
- Begin remediation plans immediately to deal with the lead before it becomes a major concern.
It isn’t until the house begins to get worn, that lead shavings pollute the home. Both are certainly valid choices, but to me, the first option is too much like a child’s belief that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you. An ignored problem will not dissipate. And this ignored problem could result in quick slop job renovations that ignore historical accuracy due to the need to be able to live in the home safely.
Founder & Senior Editor
I love old houses, working with my hands, and teaching others the excitment of doing it yourself! Everything is teachable if you only give it the chance.