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A Little Remediation

Problem: When ACORN did lead-paint remediation on our house, they missed one small area around our front door. The lead-based paint that remains there is a little bit flaky and very dry, so that lead paint dust on the threshold has become a problem.

Solution: I’ve been reading up on remediation techniques, and I think I can manage this job myself. It’s a small job. I measured this morning, and found the space in question is four inches deep. The total area is about 800 square inches, or five and half square feet.

I’ll take a day off work. Once the girl has been safely bundled off to daycare, I’ll crank up some tunes and prepare the site. I will put plastic sheeting down to catch and chips or dust dislodged during the process, using duct tape to hold it in place. I’ve got an old respirator but can’t find the proper replacement cartridge, so I might buy a new one. I can wear plastic bags over my shoes which should make cleanup easy — it’s important to avoid tracking lead dust around.

Then I’ll be ready to do some wet scraping. This is just to remove any loose flakes. There don’t appear to be too many areas that are actually flaking, so I don’t anticipate this will take long or dislodge much. I’ve never done wet scraping before but it seems pretty easy: spray the area with a mister and scrape with a scraper. A light treatment with a wet sanding sponge might be good to de-gloss the whole surface.

That’s it for the messy part. I can clean up then and let the surface dry for a few hours. Then I’ll put down a little more sheeting just to catch drips, and apply a coat of primer. A couple coats of paint on top of that and the job will be done. The lead will still be there, but sealed away where it can’t get into our bodies. This is essentially the same technique ACORN used on the outside of our entire house.

Or maybe I should use a stripper like Peel Away?

Published inOur House


  1. amy amy

    Bart, I just left a related comment on your previous post at the very time this post came up! Weird.

    As for peel-away, it is the dynamo of strippers but has so many health precautions you are trading one hazard for another.

    I am using stripeez, wax paper, and ventilation.

    I say dry sand and encapsulate.

  2. Amy, I assume you meant “wet sand” not “dry sand.” Everything I’ve read says dry sanding is one of the worst things you can do with lead-based paint. The dust will get everywhere.

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