Lead is a toxic metal that was widely used in paint products prior to 1978. About two-thirds of the homes built before 1940 and one-half of the homes built from 1940 to 1960 contain heavily-leaded paint. Even homes built after 1960 contain heavily-leaded paint.
It was commonly applied to both interior and exterior surfaces, such as woodwork, doors and windows.
In 1978 the U.S. government banned the use of lead-based paint.
Undisturbed lead paint does not pose a health hazard per se, but if it is deteriorating or it is disturbed during renovations, then yes, it can be harmful. Precautions must be taken so that you do not breathe in lead dust.
Renovations, such as installing replacement windows, require lead safe practices for installation.
As of April 22, 2010, federal law requires that contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb more than six square feet of paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and trained to follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.
First, we test for the presence of lead. There is a certified EPA lead-safe lead test kit that we use to take a sampling of the paint from each area that we're going to work in.
If the test comes up positive for lead levels, then we incorporate lead-safe work practices into the job to prevent any airborne lead particles from getting into the air. Mr. Rogers Windows has been certified to carry out lead-safe work. It's called lead-safe renovator certification. This means that we went through the necessary training as an organization, and individually. Yes, individual certification is required as well, so an EPA-certified contractor has his/her own lead-safe work practice renovator card.
If we find lead paint, we must isolate the area in order to work there. We post signage and cordon off the property as well as the area to be worked on. That’s because we will be working inside and outside during a window installation. Our team will be wearing lead-safe work practice certified suits.
We have devised a way to seal off the window from the rest of the environment and isolate it, by either building a small plastic “zip wall” around it or actually putting plastic right over the inside of the window and taping it off to the walls. That way we do not have to seal off the entire room during the installation. The worksite is then inspected by a lead-certified inspector.
Once the site has been inspected and approved, we then start to address the window itself. We take the old window out, removing one by one each piece/area of the window that contains lead.
We have to spray each piece we remove with water, using a mister.
After the pieces have been sprayed with water, we take a piece of plastic and we wrap each one. Each piece of the window that may have lead paint on it has to be individually wrapped in plastic.
At last the new windows can be installed as we would normally install them, depending, of course, on the type of window and style you have chosen.
The clean-up process is just as important, because we still need to keep that lead dust contained. All the plastic has to be folded in, and each has to be misted again with water. Only then can the pieces be safely and properly removed from the property.
We use separate tools in lead-safe practice because we cannot take lead-safe work practice tools to another house/project where there is no lead. So the tools we have used must be cleaned in a lead-safe abatement area.
As you can see, each step is carefully and methodically planned to prevent harmful lead dust from escaping into the atmosphere in and around your home and your family. If you have any questions about this process, please do not hesitate to ask us.