The 2010 EPA Lead Paint Rule And How It Affects Your Remodeling Project
Many homeowners are not aware that new EPA guidelines about how to handle lead paint in older homes went into effect in April 2010, necessitating substantial changes in the cost and process of remodeling homes built before 1978. With that in mind, Tom Higgins, the owner of Littleton, Colorado-based Superior Products Home Improvements, an award-winning remodeling contractor and an EPA-approved Certified Renovator, has prepared an overview of what the new EPA regulations will mean for people embarking on home remodeling projects.
Lead paint was banned from use in consumer products in 1978. Lead paint often was used in houses and multi-family dwellings built prior to 1978. Lead had been added to paint for many decades because it improved the performance of the paint in terms of drying times, durability, etc. However, if lead is inhaled or ingested (usually in the form of lead paint dust), it can be harmful to adults and especially to young children.
To reduce the potential problem of lead paint hazards in older houses, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that contractors inform their customers about lead paint. According to this new rule, contractors are required to provide their customers with a special pamphlet titled: “Renovate Right: Lead Hazard Information For Families, Child Care Providers and Schools.” Unless your home was uilt after 1977, you are probably entitled to a copy of this pamphlet from your contractor before any remodeling work begins on the house.
As of April 22, 2010, if a planned remodeling is being done to a house or multi-family dwelling that was built before 1978, and the work involves or impacts painted surfaces, then the contractor is required to test one or more paint samples from the work area to see if there’s any lead paint. These tests can only be performed by an EPA-approved Certified Renovator. More information about the EPA’s recent Lead Paint Rule is available at: http://www.epa.gov/lead/
>>DID YOU KNOW: Superior Products Home Improvements’ Owner Tom Higgins has gone through this special lead-safe training. Contact us at (303) 347-2555, or via the Red Box on the right side of the page to schedule a free, in-home consultation.
What Happens If My Home Has Lead Paint?
If lead paint is found in the work area, then the contractor is required to use special, “lead-safe work practices” in performing the planned remodeling project. This includes using specialized clothing, equipment, procedures, and clearance testing to perform and complete the work. The purpose of these procedures is to reduce or eliminate the risk of releasing lead paint dust resulting from the remodeling work. Only contractors that have registered with the EPA are allowed to do this, and only Certified Renovators and specially trained remodeling crews can perform lead-safe remodeling.
How Does “Lead-Safe” Remodeling Work Affect A Project’s Budget?
Testing for lead and the use of lead-safe work practices will increase the amount of time and expense incurred by the contractor in performing the planned remodeling project. A contractor also may need to add a special “Lead-safe Work Practices Fee” to a remodeling project, based on the size, scope, and type of work involved. Fees for lead-safe remodeling practices range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, in addition to the basic project cost. Completion time tables also may have to be extended.
Do I Get Proof That Lead-safe Practices Were Performed?
If lead-safe work practices are used on a planned remodeling project, you should receive a certificate signed by the Certified Renovator confirming that lead-safe work practices were properly performed.
How Do I Know A Contractor Is Trained In Lead-safe Remodeling?
This one is easy. Simply request a liability insurance certificate from the contractor validating that they are insured to do lead paint testing and renovation work.
In summary, homes built before 1977 have a good chance of having lead paint somewhere in the house. Any remodeling that disturbs that lead painted surface can release lead dust into the air, which is particularly harmful to children. When remodeling a home built before 1977, the safest course of action is to hire a contractor that is an EPA Lead Paint Certified Renovator. Make sure you request written proof that the contractor you’re considering truly is certified to handle lead paint issues. Also, be sure to tell the contractor you’re considering that your home was built before 1977. If they don’t provide the lead-safe informational pamphlet, and don’t plan to follow lead-safe remodeling work practices, safeguard yourself, your children, and your pets from lead hazards by getting another contractor. Or simply call Superior Products Home Improvements at (303) 347-2555, and we’ll properly handle lead paint issues, and keep you, your family & your pets safe from the dangers of lead.