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Homes with Lead Paint

Updated on May 2, 2016
Kenna McHugh profile image

I have done extensive research in toxic housing and construction. I value my ability to share the information with others to save lives.

Homes Built Before 1970

Lead paint is not an issue in newer homes. However, if your house was built before 1970, the chances are pretty good that the paint contains lead. Now, don’t freak out and think all is doomed. Or that, you need to fork over $10,000 dollars for an HAZMAT crew.

First of all, you need to know that my house was built in 1954 and is in desperate need of painting. I asked two professional painters to take a look at my house and let me know how much it would cost to paint the house. The first one told me my house needed to be tested for lead in the paint. He had a company he used, and the cost was around $175. The next painter was even worse. He scared me to death with easily a $10,000 clean-up bill before my house will ever see new paint. After the last painter left, my husband and I looked at each other and started arguing about money problems. Whose fault it is that we’re not millionaires. We were acting crazy.

Lead Testing Kit

So, I took a deep breath, “I am going to research this issue with lead paint. There has to be an alternative.”

First, we needed to find out if your home actually does have lead in its paint. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, so I did my research and discovered a lead testing kit at Home Depot for only $10.00. The kit is called 3M Instant Lead Check Test and comes in 2 swabs or 8 swabs packages. It is really easy to use. If you are not sure how to use it when you bring it home, Home Depot has a video at their website on how to use the kit produced by the manufacturer of this test kit.

I bought the two swabs kit for $10.00 because that is the only size Home Depot had available. Besides, I figured if one or two areas are hot, I don’t have to bother testing other areas. I figure, in the long run I am saving money. But, if neither area comes up hot, then I will need to decide if I should test other areas.

How to Use a Testing Kit

What Do You Think

Do you feel confident in using over the counter lead testing kits?

See results

Lo and behold the two spots I tested, which was the most obvious and chipped paint around the exterior, the test came up negative, no lead. I am so happy, but I am going to get another test kit and check two other areas around the exterior of the house. If they prove negative like the first two spots, I know we are relatively safe to prep and paint our home.

I went to our neighborhood hardware store, Hollywood Hardware, and purchased a different lead testing kit, First Alert, because the store is closer to my home I thought it would be a good idea to try a different test to make sure my house is lead free. The kit offers 4 tests at $13.00, not bad compared to the 3M test kit.

No Lead

I tested two separate areas and no lead. I really don’t feel like I need to test any other exterior areas. It is really hard for me to believe that there is no lead paint on the exterior part of my home. One of the prior owners must have had the lead paint cleaned up.


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    • Kenna McHugh profile image

      Kenna McHugh 16 months ago from Northern California

      Ecobond, Thank you for posting. Yes. That is true. But, first, one needs to test the home for the lead before even thinking about such a huge task.

    • profile image

      Ecobond 16 months ago

      Lead paint can now safely be sealed, treated, and or rendered non hazardous for disposal.

    • Linda Robinson60 profile image

      Linda Robinson 16 months ago from Cicero, New York

      You bet. I enjoy all your amazing hubs and skilled style of writing. :) Take care. Talk with you again.

    • Kenna McHugh profile image

      Kenna McHugh 16 months ago from Northern California

      Linda, thank you for visiting and reading my hub. It is a concern all homeowners face with whether it's the house or other items with lead. The testing kits can be used on any surface.

    • Linda Robinson60 profile image

      Linda Robinson 16 months ago from Cicero, New York

      Good Morning Kenna This is a tremendous informative well detailed hub. And this is such a huge problem today. A very helpful hub and a must read for everyone that might move into a home with lead paint. You covered so much detail so thoroughly. Great writing, awesome hub.