Home Biotesting

How to Tell if Paint is Lead

Understanding how to tell if paint is lead is an essential part of keeping a safe and healthy home or business environment. The dangers that are known to come from lead-based paints, particularly in older homes and properties, simply can’t be overstated. So, with that in mind, let’s dig into how you can identify and manage the risks that come with lead-based paint. 

What is Lead Paint?

First things first, we need to understand what lead paint is. Lead paint is a type of coating that contains substantial amounts of lead. It was most commonly used in commercial and residential buildings up until the late 1970s when the harmful effects of the coatings were finally recognized. As a result, understanding how to tell if the paint is lead-based is crucial, particularly if you live or work in an older building.

Visible Signs That Paint is Lead

First, one of the signs that you can look for that may indicate that paint is lead-based, is the unique aging pattern it shows. Lead paint tends to crack in a very distinct pattern known as “alligator skin”, which is a series of interconnected, uneven cracks which result in a scaly look.

Another visible sign can be chalking, where the paint becomes powdery. This occurs as a result of the lead carbonate in the paint reacting with sunlight and moisture, breaking down over time to form a chalky residue. This dust or residue can be very dangerous when inhaled or ingested. 

It’s critical to note that relying on visual clues alone is not a reliable way to determine the presence of lead. Lead paint can be layered beneath non-leaded paint, which can conceal all potential clues. Additionally, not all lead-based paint will display these signs. 

Use of a Lead Paint Test Kit

Another way to determine if the paint is lead-based is to use a DIY lead paint test kit, which is available from most hardware stores and is fairly easy to use. They have reagents that will combine with lead residue to produce a visible color change. One of the limitations with these kits, however, is that just like a visual inspection, if the lead paint isn’t exposed, there’s little chance to detect it.

Professional Testing

Professional testing is the most accurate and thorough way to determine if lead paint is present. Professional lead testing from a company like Home Biotesting uses state-of-the-art technology to identify the presence of lead, giving you a comprehensive breakdown of the results. This gives you the ultimate peace of mind concerning lead paint.

The Risks of DIY Lead Paint Removal

If lead is confirmed, you may be tempted to try and remove the paint yourself. However, DIY lead paint removal can be dangerous, and it’s also illegal. Lead paint is hazardous and needs to be removed by a licensed lead paint abatement company. The removed paint must then be disposed of per appropriate regulations, at a facility meant for hazardous waste.

Don’t Take Chances With Your Health – Partner With Home Biotesting

Figuring out how to tell if the paint is lead or lead-based is a critical skill and is incredibly important in keeping a safe environment, especially in older properties. Even though DIY tests and physical observations can give insight, professional testing services provide the most detailed and reliable results. 
Don’t gamble when it comes to the health of yourself or your loved ones. Contact Home Biotesting today to get the most detailed, accurate, and professional environmental testing services. Trust us to handle all of your lead paint testing and abatement needs. Reach out to get started.