Lead-Based Paint and Home Inspections

There are lots of things to consider when purchasing a home. One thing you may not think of is how the age of your home can impact its overall safety. If you have a home that was built before 1978, there is a chance it contains lead-based paint, which can lead to health concerns. While it stopped being sold to consumers that year, there could be traces of the paint still in your home. The good news is that while not all inspectors can check for this paint, there are some that can check to see if there is some left. Here is what to know about lead-based paint.

What Makes Lead-Based Paint Dangerous?

Even in lower amounts, lead can be the cause of multiple health problems. This is especially true of younger children. Symptoms of lead poisoning for younger people can include irritability, abdominal pain, and developmental difficulty. Other symptoms can appear in older adults as well. While lead paint was banned for use in 1978, it doesn’t mean that older homes don’t have it. An EPA study showed that 24% of homes built from 1960 to 1978 have lead paint in them.

How It’s Tested For

Lead-based paint can’t be identified purely by sight. However, there is a sign that can indicate that it exists. As lead paint deteriorates, it develops a pattern known as alligatoring, or looking like scales. This can be looked at on both the inside and outside of the home. This can give you an idea that lead paint is in your home, but an inspector can provide a true test. In instances where lead is suspected, an inspector uses an X-ray to go inside the paint layers through to the base wood of the wall.

Why You Should Test

If you think there is lead paint in your home, having a test done offers peace of mind. There are numerous reasons to have your home tested. The biggest is if you have family members that are most likely to be affected, such as young children. By having a test complete, you can schedule an abatement if enough of the paint is prevalent. In addition, if you plan on making renovations to your home, an inspection is helpful. Construction and repairs can disturb lead paint and cause dust that could include lead elements.

Testing your home for lead-based paint offers a number of advantages. While the number of homes that have it continues to drop, it is still beneficial for people looking to purchase an older home.

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