Despite the best efforts of the EPA and other professional organizations, there are still a number of homes and buildings that were constructed prior to 1978 that may have lead-based paint in them. Lead is a dangerous substance and needs to be removed carefully by licensed, trained lead abatement professionals, which can make this a fairly costly project in most cases. Some states will allow the homeowner to do their own work, but that isn’t always the safest option even if it is permitted.
Lead paint removal costs will vary significantly, based primarily on the square footage of the affected space. There are also multiple removal options that will affect your costs.
Lead paint removal: by removal type, calculated for removal in a 1,500 sq.ft. home.
|Item||How It Works||Unit Cost||Cost|
|Encapsulation||A paint-like coating is used over the top of all lead surfaces to create a watertight seal.||$1.50-$1.75||$2,250-$2,625|
|Enclosure||A new surface is placed over the existing one, sealing in lead-containing surfaces||$10||$15,000|
|Removal||Wet sanding, wire brushes, stripping, and scraping to remove lead-based paints entirely||$8-$15||$12,000-$22,500|
Other considerations and costs
- Total removal and replacement of lead-based paint and contaminated surfaces is always the best option for lead abatement, but it is also the most expensive option.
- With encapsulation, windows and doors may experience rubbing of the paint with use, so recoating or another lead abatement method may be needed in the future. With windows and doors, replacement might be your best option for long-term savings and protection.
- The storage and disposal of hazardous waste are included in this cost estimate. Make sure that your abatement professional either includes or lists separately the cost of removal so that you’re not surprised by any hidden charges.
- If you have a large project involving multiple rooms or a whole-home abatement, you may have to stay with family or in a hotel during the work period. If there are living expenses related to lead paint removal, those will be in addition to these estimated project costs.
- The EPA has restrictions and guidelines on how lead paint can and cannot be removed and disposed of. When hiring contractors, make sure that they are EPA-certified and follow all best practices for lead removal for their safety and protection, as well as for the safety of your family.
- Some DIY websites suggest the affordable “solution” of lowering exposure instead of eliminating or removing the lead risk. This involves things like cleaning ducts, ensuring walls and surfaces are cleaned regularly and keeping children away from lead-contaminated areas. While this might sound effective enough, you really can’t afford to take the risk of leaving lead exposed in your home, in any capacity. At the very least, it needs to be sealed.
- Lead abatement and lead paint removal require special filtration systems and PPE (personal protective equipment, such as masks and clean suits). This is not a DIY project, ever.
- Craftsman Estimator Costbook, complete series year 2019.
- Latest prices found on Home Depot and other vendor Web sites.
- Literature review of DIY and arborist Web sites.