Historical buildings and homes are part of our cultural heritage, and it’s important to preserve them so future generations can enjoy them. But there are certain codes and regulations that must be followed when doing so. Additionally, older homes and buildings are more likely to have used lead-based paint, which means anyone working on the site (or even coming into contact with it) is at higher risk for lead poisoning.
Here are a few things to know about lead-based paint and working with older homes and historical buildings.
Which Homes or Buildings Might Be Affected by Lead-Based Paint
If your home or historical building was built before 1978, then there’s a good chance the paint used is lead-based, according to the EPA. The federal government banned the use of lead-based paint in 1978 but some states banned it earlier, so your home could still be safe. However, the older your home or building is, the more likely it is to have lead-based paint – up to an 87% chance if it was built before 1940. And even if the current coat of paint isn’t lead-based, it could be covering up an earlier layer that is.
As surfaces deteriorate, you’ll likely see peeling or chipping paint. While this is unsightly in any situation, it’s a hazard if the paint is lead-based. And if it occurs in a place where children live or might visit, the risk is even higher, as children are more likely to touch walls or put paint chips in their mouths. If the walls or ceilings in your home or historical building are in this condition, it’s definitely time to paint or refinish them!
What Are the Risks of Working with Lead-Based Paint
When painting a home or historical building that has lead-based paint, just the act of working on the surfaces can kick up dust with lead in it. And rarely will you just paint over a surface; you really should prepare the surface first, which means coming into even more contact with the toxic substance.
Being in contact with large enough amounts of lead could lead to lead poisoning. The effects of lead poisoning vary, but can include high blood pressure, pain, difficulty with memory and concentration, and can even be fatal in large enough doses. It is especially important to keep children away from any potential sources of lead as it can impair their development.
Who Should Work with Lead-Based Paint
Any renovations involving lead-based paint are really not DIY projects. The EPA recommends working with a lead-safe certified renovation contractor. Companies must apply for recertification every 5 years in order to keep current.
Fritsch Custom Finishes is proudly certified as a lead-safe renovation contractor. Located in Springfield, Illinois, we serve Springfield and the surrounding areas, as well as Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, and Texas.
At Fritsch, we have decades of experience in painting and custom finishes, and we have worked on numerous projects with lead-based paint. You can count on us to refinish your surface safely and professionally, leaving you with peace of mind. We’ve worked with residential clients on homes of all ages, and have also worked on historical buildings , such as Edwards Place in Springfield and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Dana Thomas house.
Contact us at (217) 546-6784 or email us at info@FritschCustomFinishes.com if you’re looking to paint or refinish surfaces in a historic building or home older than 1978, and we’d be happy to help!